I married a man I didn’t love. It was 1994, and the dress and the flowers were so huge they almost swallowed me whole. We still laugh about the bridesmaids dresses to this day. The necklines resembled that of the doilies on my grandmother’s tables. I waited at the back of that musty old church with my heart pounding and head screaming at me. I vomited twice. I was twenty two, so young.
None of that mattered. We had been dating since I was fourteen and this is how life worked. It was the next logical step, right? So what if he had already been unfaithful three times in eight years? He promised it would never happen again, he loved me and this was the plan. Yes we argued and yes at times he scared me, but that is normal right? I didn’t know any different.
Hundreds of guests are waiting on me. Who are all of these people anyway? My groom is nervously standing at the altar. If I’m being honest, he doesn’t look anymore excited about this than I am. I found out two weeks ago that one of my bridesmaids tried to sleep with him, another one already has. What am I going to do, cancel all of this? What an inconvenience to all of these people. Let’s get this show on the road, there is a reception with teal balloons to follow.
I woke the next morning a wife. A WIFE?!?!?!?!? Who on earth let that happen? Shouldn’t there have been a written exam and an interview process? I mean come on!!! All that I knew is that I wasn’t in love with the man I married. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him a lot but I was too young to even know what true, amazing, real love was. We stayed married for twenty years. It was a very difficult marriage. Over those years I fell in and out of love with him. The day we became parents, love. The fifth time he cheated, out of love. The day our first-born graduated, love. The first time he left me, out of love. Our tenth anniversary, love. The tenth time he cheated, out of love forever.
When you read the first sentence of my blog, were you shocked or could you truly be honest with yourself and relate? Were you truly invested in your marriage on your wedding day? I am not talking about those little butterflies we all get. I mean did you look into the eyes of the person you were marrying and have zero doubts, or were you too wondering if you could escape out a window? Now relax, keep in mind I really really really liked my groom, but I feel if anyone would have offered me an out that day I likely would have taken it.
P.s. We are great friends to this day and no ex-husband’s were harmed in the making of this blog. 🙂
Yes, it is true, people can and do fall more in love over the years. It is also true that more people than we realize actually marry people they are not in love with. They stand in front of each other on that day out of guilt, fear, shame, convenience and simply convinced they won’t find anyone else. Fear of hurting other people’s feelings. The guilt and shame we will have to carry if we cancel the wedding and all the planning. Fear of being alone. We put everyone else’s feelings before our own. Yes, you heard me right. We commit to each other till death do us part so as to not offend great Aunt Doris who travelled all this way for the big day.
For some, they fall in love with the idea of a wedding. That is an entire blog post on its own. If your fiance is spending every waking moment on wedding details and simply will not rest until robins egg blue napkins are shipped in from Paris, you may want to have a conversation.
The divorce rate in this country has actually fallen over the last ten years. There are many studies as to why this may be. It all boils down to why you may think the divorce rate is high to begin with. It is my truest belief that all of this starts with better communication. We need to be open to having raw, real, hard, truthful conversations with ourselves and each other. If you are not happy, say so. It does not mean things have to end, but you may be amazed at what great compromises can be discovered. Start talking people, naked in bed even ❤
So yes, I was once that young, naive girl who thought she had a plan. She also didn’t realize she could speak up and say “No this isn’t going to work for me.” (see earlier comment regarding the escape window) My marriage resulted in three amazing children and for that I wouldn’t turn back time. The advice I now want to give my adult children and all of you is this. Love truly is a beautiful thing to experience. We can become impatient waiting for that one to fit into our world. We can begin to question if our standards are too high, they are not. We may be told that we have to learn to love ourselves first before anyone will love us. Wrong. The right person will enter your life and make you feel like you glow, even while you are healing. Whether you decide to stand together and wed, or commit in any way make sure you can always look into each other’s eyes knowing there is nowhere you would rather be. They are home. They are safe. They are love. Togetherness.
Times will be tough, lessons will be learned along the way and you will grow together, but life is too short to travel the journey with someone who is not as excited about your heart and soul as you are.
P.s.s When I decided to upgrade to my second husband, not once did I look for an escape route. ❤
Much Love ❤