When I think about marriage I am unfortunately left with this uneasy feeling of fear, anxiety, and a sense of weariness. I know this is a horrible frame of mind for something that is supposed to be beautiful but I have 2 failed marriages under my belt that have left me jaded to say the least.
My first marriage, although I accept responsibility for its failure, I was only 17 years old. We were children and had no business getting married. When I think back on that it sends shivers down my spine. That marriage ended because it had no business beginning in the first place. However, it served its purpose because my mother was killed in her car accident just 2 days before the wedding. I am thankful that I had that person, my ex husband, and his family as a support system. I feel like I would not have come out of that time of my life alive had it not been for them. So, Tilley family, I thank you!!
My second marriage…oh boy! It started out beautiful…for all the right reasons. We were in love. Madly in love. As we grew older and more mature our life’s path had a fork in it. He went on his path and I went on mine. I had a growth mindset and it was in high gear. He was happy with his life just the way it was. As I moved forward he felt left behind and lonely. As a result he found solace in another woman’s arms. Although I couldn’t believe he would do that I understand his reason why. We tried to work it out but once that trust was broken we didn’t have a solid foundation to stand on. I knew that Andrew could never give me the life I yearned for but I trusted him more than anything and that was enough for me. Once that was gone it was an empty reality. It was during my breakthrough moment near my 39th birthday (the age my Mother was when she passed) that I knew it had to end. During the divorce Andrew did some pretty heinous things that make me wonder if I ever really knew him at all. The purposed served in that relationship though was to teach me that love is not enough. Your partners visions and dreams must align with yours to go the long haul. Also, his 2 children, Jordan and Abigail…the connection I formed with them was amazing! I have some mending to do with Jordan which I am working on but Abigail…she feels like my own.
When I think about the ring I feel like the symbolism has been lost. It is supposed to symbolize eternity…I, as well as 50% for married couples, are living proof that that symbolism is dying.
When I think back on my marriages I feel that maybe things would have been different if there was more emphasis on the purpose of marriage. It goes so far beyond love. It’s also about acceptance…accepting everything you love about your partner and everything that drives you nutty. It’s about supporting them when they are feeling beat down by life. It is that willingness to pick up the 90% when your partner is at a place where they can only give 10%.
When I was married I had this mindset that the partnership should be 50-50. Although that sounds wonderful its not always practical. We are not always at a place where we can carry that much of the workload. Sometimes we need our partner to carry the brunt of it until we are back on our feet and then we offer would that same thing back to our partner. Unconditional support. I can honestly say that was not my mindset. I have learned so much through my failed marriages..the biggest of which is empathy and the value of vulnerability.
My boyfriend and I talk about marriage frequently. We have been together for 3 years and we bring to this relationship a lot of wisdom and experience but also a ton of fear. We weigh the pros and cons of us marrying each other. Really the only con we can come up with is based on past experiences. Our biggest fear is that if we chose not to marry and if god forbid something happened to one of us the other would have no rights in regard to the best interest of the other. That is a terrifying thought to me. I mean, if something terrible happened to Heath and I was not allowed in the room or not able to make the decisions I know he would want on his behalf….that breaks my heart.
I guess what I am really trying to put out there is a successful marriage is a choice. We choose to work on it and lord, it is hard work!!! For all those engaged couples, newlyweds, or even those that have many many years under their belt. Remember it is a choice. It is our duty as their life partner to serve them to the best of our ability. To take ourselves out of the equation and to feed their needs and vice versa. You show me 2 people that take their own egos out of the marriage and focus on the fulfillment of the other….I will show you a marriage to model yours after.
Although I am hesitant to go into a third marriage (man that stings to say…3 marriages) the wisdom, patience, and empathy I have as a result of my failures is enough to choose for this to be a success. Success does not always come in the form of lollipops and rainbows though. There are many storms that we will have to weather. Those storms will produce healthy crops of understanding and joy that we can harvest.
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