Last month, one of my favorite bloggers, Dooce, and her husband posted on their respective websites that they are separated.
She is one of the most-read bloggers of all time and a few years ago, both quit their jobs to run her blog/website. They made $40,000/month.
Heather (her real name) and Jon always seemed as though they had an almost magical relationship, one that superseded her chronic clinical depression. She is completely open about her mental health issues. She's open about her use of medication, her therapy, and her need to be committed to the hospital after the birth of her first child. Wisely, however, she didn't share her marriage online. As a therapist, I had the occasional thought of, "Even common grace wins out - people can make it, depressed, working on it, and without Jesus."
And I don't mean to say that all non-Christians are destined for divorce (ridiculous statement), however, there is just a heaviness, a difficulty, a chaoticness to a relationship when one person is always, always struggling with depression or bi-polar disorder or chronic feelings of emptiness. On his blog, Jon mentions something about co-dependancy. This makes total sense to me. When I heard about the separation and then read his comment, I thought, "Yes, there HAD to be something going on that was deeper and relationally complicated. Something inherent to the way the relationship moved and how they interacted."
I think I might be so bold as to say that those of us in marriages in which one or both people are do not struggle with mental illness will never completely understand the strain that mental illness puts on a marriage.
I know that Dooce and Jon have gone to their own therapists and to joint therapy from reading her blog. And so, they did everything "right" by outside, "drive-by commentary" standards. But in the end, there must be a healing that is supernatural, I think.
We just can't save ourselves.