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A Cautionary Tale of a Very Busy Schedule

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Darren is a partner in a very successful law firm. He was the youngest to graduate from his class in law school and passed the Bar exam with flying colors. He didn't come from a family with money or connections. Everything he got he earned with his own sweat. So when he was offered a clerkship with a federal judge at age 23 and when he scored a desk in one of the most prestigious firms in Chicago at 25, Darren was well ahead of schedule.

It was surprising that he ever found time to date, let alone get married. Krista was also a brilliant attorney. He met her in court when she was opposing counsel on a contentious real estate case. She thought he Darren was arrogant, but she couldn't keep her eyes off him anyway. He thought Krista was brilliant and beautiful. As soon as the case was over, he asked her out.

Like everything in Darren's life, his courtship went faster than expected. Six months later they were married and happily expecting their first child. Krista cut her hours at her firm back. She didn't want to sidetrack her career, but she did. She had to because three months after their wedding they found out they were expecting twins.

Twins are a lot to handle but Krista did it like a champ. She worked part time and ran their family like a well-oiled machine. However, by the time the girls were about to go to kindergarten, their marriage wasn't running as well as their household was. Krista didn't mind being a single parent in a marriage. But she really missed her husband. She almost never saw him.

Krista felt abandoned. Darren was working 60-70 hours per week away from the house. He was distracted and working at home too. Krista wanted to get her career back on track, but Darren's career was on fire. There wasn't much space to make Krista's career a priority.

It all came to a head when Darren missed all three of the interviews for schools that he specifically wanted the girls to go to. Krista thought public school was the right option. Darren wanted the girls in private school, but he didn't make time to be there for the process of getting them in. He didn't make time for them at all.

I started working with Darren and Krista the day after the third missed interview. The first two sessions went really well. However, after that, Darren started missing calls, and I was often talking with Krista alone.

Several weeks ago I got an email from Darren saying he wanted a session and he was available at my earliest possible convenience. That was notable, considering Darren is almost never available.

When we were in the process of scheduling Darren explained to me he'd cleared his case schedule by handing them off to someone else, and he was taking three weeks off.

When we talked, he explained the unexplainable wide open space in his schedule. Darren was working very late several nights in a row. Krista had called him at work one night. She seemed agitated. She was asking a lot of questions about who he was with. She seemed to be jealous of one of their junior associates.

Darren was agitated also. He felt defensive. He felt like she was on the verge of accusing him of having an affair. She didn't, but he could feel it coming. Darren wasn't having an affair. He was working his ass off. He was doing it for their family and their future. He was angry at the hint of distrust.

So after coming home one night to Krista sound asleep on the floor in the girl's bedroom, he left her there. The following evening when he got home at 8:30 the house was empty. She hadn't cleaned him out exactly, but she had left him and taken his daughters.

He called her mother. She was completely shocked and didn't know where they were.

He might have called Krista's friends, but honestly, he didn't know any of them.

He got in the car and drove around Chicago looking for them like a parent would look for a runaway until 3 a.m. Obviously, he didn't find them on a street corner.

So, Darren did something unheard of. He cleared his schedule. Three weeks too late. Krista had been planning her departure for three full weeks, and Darren hadn't a clue. She wasn't really hiding it from him. He hadn't been home to notice.

The irony of this story is this: I had time for an emergency call that day because another client of mine had cancelled. It was a doctor who was very busy at work. Things came up. He couldn't make the call with his wife, so they skipped it all together.

This is not the end of the story for Darren and Krista. The rest of it is still somewhat unwritten. However, the moral of the story is pretty obvious. Darren had the capacity to make time for his wife all along. He simply chose not to.

When she was gone he cleared his schedule in about ten minutes. He was willing to do anything it took to save his marriage where he'd been unwilling to do anything to actually be in it.

When she left that day, Krista didn't feel like she was ending her marriage. She felt like she was moving. In her heart, her marriage was over long before she started packing. Darren didn't even see a problem until he thought his wife might be jealous. There had been problems for years before that.

Relationships can't run on platitudes. They don't run on fumes for very long. A marriage takes two people who show up. The time to save a marriage is before it's in trouble. Nothing is as certain as we think it is. There is a point of no return. It often comes before you notice and you only see it in the rearview mirror.

*This story was shared with permission and names have been changed.

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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

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