Unemployed Husband Reasoned “They Needed Us Both” But Wife Wanted Divorce. MIL And Kids Christmas Gift Changed Everything.

The most amazing aspect of being human is love. Marriage is full of ups and downs, adventures, and amazing experiences with the person you love. Read this story to find out what happened to this couple and how their mother-in-law and their children salvaged their marriage.

From the very beginning Matt didn’t want a divorce. “What about the children?” My husband reasoned. “They need us both.”

For me however, there was no reasoning. I definitely wanted out. We’d already given Matt’s construction business over a year and he still wasn’t making any money. I knew it wasn’t his fault but it seemed as if every dime he made went for tools or costly repairs on our dilapidated pick-up truck. So it was my job as a waitress at Steve’s Bakery that was keeping us going.

Resentful and tired, I found myself growing bitter and critical toward Matt. Soon arguments with no apologies became commonplace between us and I, in particular, said some very unkind things to my husband of eleven years. However it was my last cruel and cutting display that sent Matt to sleep in a makeshift bedroom in our basement, and shortly after that was when I made up my mind to file for divorce. However since Christmas was less than six weeks away, I decided it would be best for our children if I waited until after the Christmas holidays to officially file.

The next few weeks were hard. Matt and I seldom saw one another and barely spoke when we did. The children soon picked up on our tension and it wasn’t long until we were all sniping and grousing at each other. Our entire family was under stress and perhaps that’s why I came down with the flu the very day my mother-in-law was to come for a Christmas visit.

“What am I going to do?” I wailed from my sickbed to Matt. “We don’t even have the tree up yet and what if I get fired? This is the bakery’s busiest week.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything,” my husband reassured me. “I’ll call Steve and explain. He’ll understand.” He looked at me lying exhausted in our bed and somehow found his boyish smile. “You just try to get all the sleep you can.”

Too sick to snarl or be sarcastic, I did sleep. In fact, I was in bed for three days. In the meantime, my mother-in-law arrived and while Matt went to work, she and the children went about decorating the Christmas tree, cooking, cleaning and working on a surprise gift for Matt and me. In fact, it was Tara who let the cat out of the bag when she poked her little towhead in the bedroom door and quietly giggled, “We made a surprise for you and Daddy but I can’t tell, ’cause I promised!”

By late afternoon Christmas Eve I had begun to feel human again as I awoke to the comforting smells of dinner cooking. So as not to wake me, I could hear the children attempting to muffle their squeals of excitement. Lying there in our darkened bedroom and feeling so much better, I couldn’t help but enjoy my temporary contentment. Only Christmas could weave such special magic into our household right now, I thought.

We had a family favorite that evening, pot roast, and while huddling around our thrift shop dining room table that Matt had recently refinished, the children announced they had a special gift for us but they didn’t want to wait until Christmas morning for us to open it. Bursting with excitement, they begged for us to “open it now.”

Of course we agreed and my mother-in-law quickly ushered both Matt and me into the living room “to wait a bit.” We heard the back door slam and there were a series of thuds and giggles, and then more thuds and some whispers, and more thuds until one by one our children trooped in. Their smiles could not have been wider and their excitement could not have been greater. It was my mother-in-law who explained that our special gift had arrived; however, we had to close our eyes because some very special angels were delivering it. I guess the excitement was contagious because Matt and I began giggling too.

It was Travis who insisted, “Keep your eyes closed.”

The children were now all talking at once.

Another thud, the sound of something sliding, a chorus of more giggles, then the announcement, “You can open your eyes now!”

For a second there were no sounds. In front of us stood a large bulky “thing” covered in a torn sheet from my ragbag.

“You can open it when we say,” said Tara with great anticipation. “Should we all count to three before Mom and I pull the sheet off?” Matt suggested.

“Yes. Yes.” We were all squealing with excitement by now. “Everybody. One, two, three!” So the two of us pulled together which was something we hadn’t done in a long time.

And there it was. Dazzling in the soft twinkling lights of the Christmas tree: our gift… a chair; and no ordinary chair either.

“Mommy,” it was Tara. “It’s a Christmas chair! We made it! We found it in the garbage.” “It is beautiful, honey,” was all I could manage to choke out.

My mother-in-law confessed they’d spied it in the neighbor’s trash along the street.

So they dragged it home. Since Matt was at work and I was sick, they were able to paint it, with her artistic direction, in the garage without either of us knowing. Using old paint stashed on the shelf and paintbrushes from their paint boxes, they created a work of pure love. Different colors adorned each leg and various rungs and turns. They painted polka dots and squiggles, hearts and flowers. And there were three painted faces looking up from the seat. “Your three angels” was written in script beneath them along with each of the children’s names.

There was a hushed, near sacred silence that followed this explanation.

It’s strange, I know, but in that moment I was reminded of another gift of love someone gave two thousand years ago and how it changed the world. Life wasn’t so perfect for that little family either, I’ll bet, but they still honored their commitments to one another. I gulped hard once again.

I looked at Matt, my hard-working, devoted husband, eyes brimming with tears, moved by love and appreciation for his family, and doing the very best he could for us. I saw our three beautiful children loving us both and my mental list of gratitude exploded as I realized how much I loved my husband and family.

Maybe we didn’t live the life I’d secretly dreamed, but by shifting my attitude and outlook even just a little bit I instantly began to see what we had, instead of what we didn’t have. And what we needed and what we didn’t need. And we sure didn’t need a divorce. Why? Well, I’m not totally certain but I think it had to do with the magic of three “little angels” and the love they poured into a garbage can Christmas chair.

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