I have thought about this post so many times in the last 10 months. YES, 10 months! People, I am literally 2 months from the one year mark where the ex-Mr walked away. I know, I know, I am TOTALLY the last person to dole out marriage advice. I mean, hell, I've been divorced twice now -we'll leave it at they both moved on, but I am the woman that gets left for a different model. Ok, so I'm not being fair to this blog post or myself here. I have a point. I hope you stick around long enough to read it.
Truth, marriage is not easy. It is actually the hardest thing you will EVER do in
life. I understand that many people do NOT want to hear marriage advice from a twice-divorced,
single woman. But, it's my blog and you ARE here. Now, now, I am not
trying to be a smarty-pants, it's just, well, sometimes you have to walk a mile
in those shoes to realize the full extent of the blisters they create. So here
are a few things I'd like to share. Again, I am not claiming to be Ann Landers,
Dr. Ruth, Dr. Phil, Oprah, or any Deepak you may run across. I am me with MY
story and MY view, hindsight granted of course, of what it takes for marriage
1. Don't go to bed angry. Actually, this was something that I was told at my bridal shower the first time I got married. I laughed at it then. I thought it was absolutely silly. Then I realized that no matter how angry you were/are, make-up sex isn't going to cure what ails. You HAVE to work it out. Yes, it takes words and time.
2. Don't sweep the crap under the rug. Alright, I am a HORRIBLE house wife. I admit it. I stink at all things domestic cleaning. Ask my girl T, she'll tell you. But that isn't what I am talking about here. This is an extension of #1. Talk it out people. DO NOT let it go. It builds. It festers. It becomes the cotton pickin' elephant in the 10x10 room. You think it's all good, then one day you trip over the rug. DO NOT let the sun go down on your issue. He/She is worth more than that. Give it to them.
3. Don't forget the thing that attracted you to them in the first place. Time has a way of changing who you are. Who they are. Time will make you look, act, think, be different. But, that person you are with, the one you gave a solemn vow to, the one you promised to love until death do you part...he/she is still there. At the root of who they are, they are still there. Yes, you have both changed over the years. Yes, you have both matured and grown and found new interests. But, for the sake of all things holy, look at your mate, LOOK AT THEM, look them in their eyes. In those eyes is the same youthful hope of the forever that was promised to them. Don't steal that away.
4. Don't speak in anger. I know more than anyone the impossibility of this item. In fact, there is almost a surreal amount of freedom that can be had in being able to talk in FULL HONESTY with the one you swore your tomorrow's too. But, in the same breath, do not belittle, degrade, cut down, remove, abolish, or extinguish their view of you and the love you have shared. Do NOT take this away. No matter how much you think you are ready to move on...you aren't. It is simply NOT that easy.
5. Seek them FIRST! Ok, this may seem absolutely, positively, without a doubt like the most absurd bit of advice. It is not. I assure you. Actually, I want to let you know the devil lives here. He lives in those moments when you chose to go to another person of the opposite sex with your woes, your troubles, and your wants. Just DO NOT go here. I know it hurts. I know it is so, very, very hard. But this person, the one you gave your tomorrow's to, they want to be that person you run to. Most especially when they do not express it. Hurt creates hurt people. Do not run from each other. (Disclaimer - physical abuse in any form is a good reason to run. Just saying.)
6. Don't forget those 3 little words. I can remember in the days leading up to and definitely the days following the ex-Mr's journey elsewhere, where I longed, LONGED, to hear him say "I love you." Truth, I'd check my phone dozens of times a day to see if he texted to tell me just that. You see, we didn't tell each other that every day. It was something that we took for granted. Something that we thought was an understood. Or at least I did. But, news flash...IT IS NOT! Do NOT underestimate the power of what an "I Love You" will deliver.
7. Talk to each other. Oh my word. If I had a dollar for every time I wish I had someone to talk to. Someone to share my thoughts and feelings with. Hell, I'd be able to retire tomorrow and live like a queen. But that is just it. Your forever someone, your spouse, they are that person. Now, I won't negate the power a best friend, of the SAME sex, has. In fact, I have a few very, very close girlfriends I go to when I am in a particular frame of mind (and girls I LOVE YOU for your strength, honesty, friendship, and ability to be wholly you), but the truth of the matter is, NO ONE should go to a member of the opposite sex for consolation. I know, pot and kettle here, yes...they are both black. I accept my fault in this AND my lesson learned. Do not go to someone else. Go to them first.
8. It is going to suck from time to time. There is NO 100% perfect, always in love, I couldn't bare living a moment without you, type of love on this planet. It doesn't exist. No, HONESTLY, LOOK at it. From all sides. There is not an easy road when in a relationship, especially the forever kind of relationship. There is talking, fighting, compromising, praying, silently choking...hahahaha...ok, perhaps not so much, but this is someone you COMMITTED yourself too. This is someone who knows more about you than anyone else. You have to accept the suck. You just have to. And during that time, love them more.
9. It takes unconditional love. We as humans are actually wired for love. Love is one of those things that God put in us. He gave us the capacity, the desire, and the total want for love. He created us to be loving beings. And when he created us for this, He saw himself as the recipient, and also designed us to find a life-long mate to grow in that same type of love together, for each other and ultimately with him. Yet, we are a fallen people. I cannot get any clearer or more vague than this. I don't want to lose you with this point. I think this is where we fall. This right here is where marriages fail. You have to be able to look at that person and say, "no matter what level of hell we are going to enter into today, I promise myself and you, that I will begin and end it with you and with you only in mind. And when I feel a pull anywhere else, I will seek God to direct my path." I know I lost a lot of you at this point. Honestly, I lost myself at this point a couple times in the past. I hate that truth about myself.
10. Give. The last thing I want to leave you with is simply, give. I know it hurts more than anything to give and give and give. To want to provide for the other. To give your time, thoughts, talent, heaven's ANYTHING to another and not have it returned. It is beyond words the most heart wrenching thing that can happen to you. Hurting people do not receive well and they most definitely do not give well, but give anyway. Give yourself. Time, talent, treasure. All. Love, in all that it is, is giving. It is putting yourself aside to ensure the other person has. I know it will destroy parts of you when not returned. In fact, it WILL reduce you to nothing, but give anyway. GIVE ANYWAY. Never stop giving. And in that giving, one more thing you can do is Pray.
Pray without ceasing.
And there you have it. My opinion on what it takes. Now, again, I am not an expert on keeping it together, but I am an expert on being left. On being the one no one wants. In that, I can see where I failed and what I'd give as my two cents. People. Listen. Divorce is ugly. It will NOT free you. It will not give you what you thought you were looking for. It also leaves the person you left wondering. Hoping. Questioning for all eternity. Yes, brokenness is awful and painful, but give it time to look past that and focus on what was fixed and right. Because there WAS a lot of right. You just have to give it the time necessary to find it again.
I do care for you...you people I don't know and most especially those I do. Look inside, confide in the right ways. I wish you the most beautiful of tomorrows and the unending joy of a forever kind of love. I want, more than anything, for you to be happy in the ways I long to be. Please know I want you to be happy.