Friday, June 08, 2012

And Then Things Got Deep

We're standing in the kitchen, each of us tidying up and discussing life post-wedding, when one of us (I forget which one, but it's ultimately irrelevant), mentions how non-scary, non-worrying the prospect of marriage seems.

We talk about this, only briefly, about how strange it feels to be where we've each been and nonetheless feel so excited and thrilled about marrying each other and all it entails. This is not a new topic for us, it's ground we've covered before, and there's nothing new to say. You go through a divorce, you deal with the fact that the person you thought you had something strong and lasting with was someone you really didn't know after all,  and as you find a way to retain some faith, move on and grow, life moves on.

But after the conversation, I remain thinking about it. I remember when we were just friends, how we’d talk about the future, what it could possibly hold for each of us. I was loathe to get into the dating scene, felt fine remaining single, but admitted to him that I like being in a relationship and that there was a lot about that that I would miss. He seemed ambivalent, wishing to eventually find someone special (he’s as much a “relationship person” as I am) but unsure as to how or when or even if. We were both drifting. 

I've thought on and off over the last years that I have every reason to shun marriage, because the bulk of what I’ve known of it has been difficult and exhausting, and it would be perfectly reasonable for me to say, “no, thank you” to it forevermore. Besides, I'd been there. Done it. I knew what it was - what was great about it and what was awful about it - and so I felt no need to go there again. I didn't need to be married to feel fulfilled or good about myself and my life.

And yet, it was early on into our relationship when I knew – KNEW – I wanted to spend my life with Jevo, and that specifically meant marriage. I remember the night on my couch when it all came up, me in tears first, then him, just opening up and being all emotional about it. We confirmed we had the same feelings and desires and talked deeply about commitment, about what we each wanted for our lives. And it was all very, very good.

So I don’t sit here now wondering why I’m doing this, because I’ve known the answer all along. Everything we’ve shared, every fight had, every issue grappled with, every sweet moment – it’s all built up along the way to a larger and larger and larger feeling that this, this is the man I want by my side forever. This is the man who shares my values, who views commitment and marriage as I do, and with whom I've shared such a happily intense ride.

And yet, I've been brooding. I catch myself thinking about the enormity of this - about the amount of faith and trust it's taking me to do this. Sure, he makes it easy because he's so great, but I find myself thinking about the nature of love and relationships and all that stuff. Too often, I'm in shock that I am in this place, that this is my life now.  I just didn't imagine any of this - how can you think something so good can be yours when you never knew it actually existed? It was one thing to be me wishing to have a relationship like this, but it was another thing to even believe such a relationship existed. And I didn't. It seemed like having this level of respect and intimacy was asking for too much. And this, sadly, says so much about the value I for too long placed on myself and my heart.

But because I know this now, because my life has been fortified by this love, I realize that it's affected how I look at others. Now I hear of people struggling in dead-end situations, in denial, caught in vicious cycles, spinning their wheels and wasting their time, and it just seems pitiful. That used to be me, I think, and it makes me sad for them because I know what that's like, and it sucks. It also makes me impatient, because I can't help but think, how much of that kind of craziness can someone take before they get over it? Like, doesn't shit get old and exhausting? It did for me, and that's ultimately how I ended up here.

It began with motherhood and came to a head as I was approaching 30. Back then I felt a change, like things were starting to click into place - it's still hard to articulate this. I can only say that a lot changed inside me - I was weary of the battles I was fighting and my approach to things. I wanted a less difficult marriage, a life where I would not feel tense and frustrated all the time. And it felt like I could see just over a big hump the things I wanted, the changes I wanted to make, the ways I could make everything better. I began that process thinking everything would be o.k., that I was doing the right thing by pushing for change and a better life, but it actually played a large part in my marriage's ending. However unbelievable and painful that all was those dark early months, from where I stand now, it all looks so different. It's amazing what perspective has done to me, what my former life and marriage look like now.

That's not to say that I look at any of that as if it was crap or meaningless. When that was my life, I was fully committed to it, and nothing can change that. It's just that now I finally understand a lot of the stuff that back then was just beneath the surface - all these things that were off but I just couldn't put my finger on. Well, I can now. I understand who I was and why I made the choices that I made; I also understand, in the way that detachment and time and observation offer, my ex, and who he really is. And what I understand now is that the marriage ending was inevitable, and that we are each exactly where we should be now, if our very different approaches to our lives are any indication.

And this matters because for a long time I wondered why I was such a bad wife, why I couldn't say or do the *right* things or be enough, when it felt like I was trying so hard to please and be what was asked of me. It was all so overwhelming. That was then. Now I realize it was never really any of those things. The things I did wrong, my failings - they weren't enough to destroy anything. Now I understand what it's like when - well, when it's not like that. My past is something that’s scarred me, but I understand that the root of that scarring - the manipulation and constant guilt-tripping and utter mindfuck of it all - was singular to that marriage. It's got nothing to do with now, with who I am or with this life that is unfolding as simply and healthily and beautifully as I always wished for and have put so much effort into making a reality.

So I go back to where I started - how non-scary the prospect of marriage seems and how thrilling it does seem - and I get it.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/08/2012   | |


  • Blogger Peace!...with 2 fingers ;) posted at 6/22/2012 9:12 AM  
    You're fabulous! Keep up the great work. Nice post.
  • Blogger MZ posted at 6/26/2012 2:01 PM  
    I really enjoyed this post. Marriage is never an easy topic to disclose about. Thank you for sharing with us.
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