Mary and John
Mary was a beautiful free spirit who believed she would accomplish great things. Mary always knew in her heart that she was going to become successful. She played by the rules and didn’t party like the other girls she knew. Mary studied hard, and supported herself by working at a local department store. She enjoyed jogging in the evenings because she understood that it was important to stay fit. She was very health-conscious.
John was a responsible young man with a great personality. He lived at home with his wealthy parents. But John’s parents instilled a strong work ethic in him, so he was prepared to do whatever it took to make his parents proud. John’s parents paid his bills for him and bought him a car so he could go to college. John enjoyed the security he received from his family’s stability, so that he could focus on his education.
Mary and John met in college. They shared an English Literature class where Mary shined. Mary was well-read. John was impressed with her intelligence and beauty. They began their relationship by having coffee after class. But, coffee quickly turned into dating and dating became serious. It wasn’t long before John decided that he had to have Mary for himself. One day, he proposed to her, even though he didn’t have a job, his own home, or a ring to give her. Mary was in love, so she didn’t consider any of this. Much to John’s parent’s dismay, they were married by the justice of the peace the following month.
John moved into Mary’s small apartment and the two assumed life as a young married couple in college.
The beginning of their journey
One day, John told Mary that he’d been accepted into the university to study business. She was thrilled for him, but a little envious because she couldn’t afford the university and really wanted to go with him. Mary supported John financially while he attended college. After three years, John graduated with his Master’s in Business and was hired by a local firm at a decent starting salary. Mary and John decided to move out of her small apartment into a three bedroom home that his parents had secured for them.
John then decided that he would handle all the financial aspects of their home. He paid all the bills and retained a personal bank account for himself. Mary had her own expense account for miscellaneous purchases that she needed to make when John was at work.
While Mary continued to work, she felt she should give up going to school because of her other responsibilities as John’s wife. One day, Mary found out she was pregnant. Because John was doing well at the firm, he insisted that Mary stop working outside the home. John said she would get an allowance from now on.
Now, she was home all the time, so she tried hard to be the best wife and homemaker she could be. She decorated the house, took up gardening, learned to cook John wonderful meals, and prepared for the arrival of their first child.
Her doctor told her it was a boy. John appeared to be thrilled. His dad seemed happy with the idea. But, his mother’s reaction was negative. She wanted a granddaughter. That was just one thing her mother-in-law didn’t approve of. In fact, John’s mother became so nasty to Mary that she began to avoid his family altogether. Mary and John began to fight, but they always made up.
Mary enjoyed motherhood so much! She was thrilled when she found out she was pregnant with her second child. It was a son. Mary believed that motherhood was the purpose she had needed. She decided that she would be the most perfect wife and mother ever. So the years passed by Mary, and all the while John became a successful business man and they enjoyed a prosperous lifestyle.
After the second son was born, Mary gained 45 pounds because she gave up jogging and no longer watched her weight. Most of the time, she was just too tired and distracted to focus on herself. She cared for her family and she thought about herself last. And it began to show in many ways.
After twenty years had passed and both of their sons were in college, Mary found herself restless, bored, and without purpose. She thought she could get a part time job, but learned that she had no available skills to offer an employer. Mary had been unemployed for too long. She became depressed and continued to gain weight. She also drank too much wine during the day and into the evening. Mary went to a doctor and he prescribed her some medication to make her feel better. She took the medication as prescribed, but did not quit drinking.
John was doing great! He would return home late in the evening after working all day. He’d eat the dinner that Mary thoughtfully prepared for him, then sit down in his chair in front of his computer and ignore Mary. She noticed that he seemed different now. John began to comment about her weight. He called her 'fatso'. He found all kinds of things wrong with her. He even told her that she needed to get a life because she looked terrible. John told her that she no longer excited him and they stopped having sex.
One day when Mary was cleaning John’s car, she noticed that she could smell perfume inside the car. Naturally, when she confronted John about it, he told her she was over reacting. He accused her of being jealous, paranoid, and crazy. It gave him a reason to leave. A few days later he returned and told Mary he wanted a divorce. When she asked him if there was somebody else in the picture, he told her Yes.
Note: Separation Preparation (SP) is not intended for women who’ve already hired an attorney and begun the divorce process. SP comes into play before that, when there’s still hope for reconciliation. Unless you’re being abused by your husband, or the marriage is unsalvageable, I’d encourage you to consider attempting to save your marriage. Believe me when I tell you that divorce has consequences.
What does Mary do now?
This is where I fit into the picture.
I first thing I’d tell Mary is that she has a choice to make. She can try to salvage her marriage and reinvent herself regardless of the circumstances. Or, she can begin to prepare to live her own life as an independent woman. Either way, self-improvement will help Mary in her situation. I’d advise her to go about her day as normal, and not let on that she is formulating a plan of defense.
One half of Separation Preparation (SP) is to create an improved version of you. But, SP is also about preparing for what will come when you are separated from your current life as you’ve known it and move into a new life on your own. Starting over is not easy. But, it can be exciting, empowering, and self-fulfilling in many ways. This will be the time when you learn who you are and what you’re made of. You can redefine yourself and the values you stand for.
I’m here to give you hope, direction, and a plan of action. You must have the courage it takes to survive the inevitable challenges awaiting you. I will help you gain the momentum you’ll require for the challenge ahead.
Because Separation Preparation (SP) includes the components of my Reinvention steps, you may refer in that section for the first half of the plan.
The second half of Separation Preparation (SP) is personal, just between you and I. It includes steps you can take to prepare yourself for the road ahead. We should never go on a trip without a map. I’ve been down this road before and I can help you navigate the journey.
"And so rock bottom became a foundation on which I rebuilt my life" ~ JK Rowling
You are not alone!
Unfortunately, Mary’s story is similar to many women I’ve met. For one thing, Mary doesn’t know the total of John’s bank account or what his actual income is. She doesn’t know if he’s made investments, or if he’s secured a life insurance policy for the family. She doesn’t even know how much is still owed on the house because she’s trusted him to take care of everything. She doesn’t ask and he doesn’t tell. This must change. Mary must find out everything she can about John’s business that she didn’t know before.
Washington is a no contest state. This means it doesn’t matter to the courts whether or not John is a cheat. But still, it can be beneficial to have as much knowledge of his extracurricular activities as possible. I’ve found that the one who wants out of the marriage the most, may have less power and control than you think they do. This could be to Mary’s benefit when she begins negotiating with John.
Every situation will be different, but that doesn’t matter. Even though you may be emotionally devastated, you have to make sure that you cover your bases and control the damage. This can be so hard to do when you’re so emotionally fragile. That’s why it’s so vital to have me there to help you.
I made all the wrong choices and poor decisions along the way. Because I listened to all the wrong people, I lost everything. For many years, my life was an unstable struggle to provide. I don’t want that to happen to you.