January 6, 2013

I Need a Sign. ~ Jennifer Townsend

When my husband of three years came home one day and announced that he was in love with another woman and “didn’t think he was wired to be married,” I was devastated to say the least.

In that single moment my world, confidence and everything I knew to be normal was shattered.

He’d had brushes with infidelity as early as six weeks after our wedding, and one other time (that I know of) a year or two later with a coworker, but we’d gone to counseling and managed to stay together. We had major communication issues and our marriage was far from perfect, but I was ‘committed to my vows.’

So, I begged him to go back to marriage counseling and he agreed. The counselor thought he might be depressed, prescribed some medication and told us it would be at least six weeks before we knew if it would ‘help’ or not.

In the meantime, we continued counseling, and I waited for him to decide if he wanted to be married to me…

Those six weeks were the hardest and scariest of my life; I couldn’t eat or sleep and felt like a zombie going through the motions at work. It was all I could do to not burst into tears at the drop of a hat (which I did, many times). Every song on the radio, happy or sad just pierced me to the core.

I was just…raw.

I was aware on a visceral level that I would be alright no matter the outcome, but I needed something more ‘hands-on’ to get me through the really desperate moments; something to help me pull myself back together while at work.

I decided to write myself a letter, from the perspective of someone who truly had my best interest at heart: my guardian angel.

I told myself that I would be just fine. I was strong and didn’t need him to be happy, that this was the hardest part and I would absolutely get through it. I reminded myself how lucky I was to have such an incredible support system, that there was a lesson to be learned from all of it and I would be stronger/wiser/happier for it in the end, etc…

I emailed it to myself at work and after reading it a couple of dozen times over the next few days, I started to feel better. It gave me comfort and little by little, I started to believe the words.

Right about that time the band Train released the song “Calling All Angels.” Its opening lyrics are:

I need a sign to let me know you’re here, all of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere. I need to know that things are going to look up…

It seemed to echo exactly what I was going through, like the singer was talking to his guardian angel too; I heard it almost every day during my morning drive to work and I took it as my own personal sign that everything would be okay.

It gave me hope.

By the time he decided that he indeed wanted a divorce, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I was peaceful, accepting and well on my way down the path of healing.

I was ready.

I think seeing me so at peace with it threw him for a loop, because he changed his mind—but I had already filed the papers. I was done.

It shocks me now that I gave him so much control over my happiness. Our divorce was the best thing that could have happened to me. His infidelity truly was the least of our problems and yet, I don’t think I would have initiated any kind of separation. I’m grateful that he fell in love with someone else and wanted to end our marriage.

Not only did it reconnect me to my inner voice, it was the catalyst for my learning to love and value myself—and you just can’t put a price on that.


Jennifer Townsend is Co-Chief of Clan Townsend, noted for its wee heathens and furry beasties. She is fond of saying “verra.” She is verra determined to visit Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. Finn Brothers’ music is good for her soul and she can be found most days editing articles for elephantjournal.com or blogging about her obsession with Jamie Fraser on her website http://www.outlanderfan.com/ or its corresponding Facebook page here.


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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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