So, I bumped into my ex-wife today and we had coffee.
Yes, that’s actually what happened today. I dropped by a coffee shop in my old neighborhood and she happened to be there, too.
So, you may be wondering what happens when you encounter an ex-wife who had been incredibly hostile, combative, and adversarial? I have to say that my encounter today turned out totally different than I could have ever expected.
I walked into that coffee shop without knowing she’d be there. Yet there she was, sitting at a table near the place where coffee orders are picked up, so I knew I’d have to encounter her. I placed my order and went over to wait for it; this meant that I was standing about five feet away from her table and she is facing me. So, I just said her name—in the familiar form I had always used.
She looked up. I said, “Hi, how are you.” She said, “fine,” and looked back down at whatever she’d been looking at before. That was it, I guess. I thought there’d be nothing more, but at least I’d been cordial. I turned back around to wait for my coffee.
A few long seconds passed, and she says, “How are you?”
I walked over to her table and told her I was doing great; I read the situation very quickly and realized this was an invitation to talk. So, I sat down and we chatted—for pretty close to a half hour. We talked, we joked, we laughed, we reminisced. She asked about my family and I hers; we filled each other in on details. She told me about some of the work she was doing and I shared mine. It was like I had never missed a day with her and we were just catching up.
She revealed a couple of things to me that were very telling, however. She said that she thought she had recently seen my car nearby, so she thought I still lived in the area. I told her that I no longer had that car (it was unmistakable, but there are also a lot of identical cars on the road) and had recently traded up to something better. I had long suspected that every time she’d see a car like that one, she’d think about me, and this seems to be the case.
She also asked about our dog and told me that she had been thinking about her, “a lot, actually.” I somehow thought this would be the case as well. I shared some recent pictures and videos of the dog with her and her heart was clearly touched. I told her that she was always welcome to see the dog whenever she wanted. She initially demurred, but I assured her it would be okay.
She never once mentioned the other man, nor did she mention anything connected with him—nothing about where she lives, what she might be doing with him, and so on, even though so much of this she makes publicly available. I did not ask, and she did not offer. That is exactly as it should have been.
Some twenty to thirty minutes had passed by this point, and she reminded me that I’d better get on the road so I could get to the office. Again, I read the situation and realized I could just give her a hug on the way out. And I did. And she did not object.
I held her hand and told her not to be a stranger. I told her that I would be there for her if she ever needed anything, and that she just need to call or email. And I told her again how wonderful it had been to see her.
And then I left.
Conventional wisdom would say that things like this can never happen. Conventional wisdom would say that she would hate my guts forever and never want to see me again. Conventional wisdom would say all that and a lot of other things, too.
But conventional wisdom is just plain wrong.
I spent nearly two and a half years fighting for my marriage. My struggles, my triumphs, and my failures are all documented in the posts on this blog. I showered her with unconditional love despite everything that was happening and despite all the rather unpleasant things she felt she needed to do. This is likely a big part of why things turned out the way they did today.
Also critical to this was the fact that she saw a man today who was quite different from the one she wanted to leave behind several years ago. She saw a man who is self-assured, confident, open, relaxed, non-judgmental, caring, and kind. She saw in me an openness and a freedom that she has not known for years, and I think she deeply yearns to have that in her life again.
I do not know right now where any of this will lead. I left the entire experience on a positive note and walked away with gentleness and kindness. That was her last experience of me today, and I think it is a good experience that will stay with her.
So, my dear readers, I have asked you before, if you feel so inclined, to pray for her, and I’m going to ask you to do so again. Please just pray for her that finally her eyes be opened and that she can see her errant path for what it is. Pray that she finally want to abandon that path and walk a new one—a path that lead to wholeness, true happiness, and enduring love. Pray that she decide to walk that path with me and that our reunion can serve as a beacon of hope for those who feel their situations to be hopeless.
Clearly there is hope, but it requires both faith and action. If you’re facing a similar situation in your marriage, please do not give up hope. Please keep the faith, and have the courage to take the right action. You may be amazed at what can happen.