As a product of divorce I grew up with the solemn vow that once I was married I would stay married. I said things like:
I’m only going to be married once.
Divorce is not an option.
The only reason to get a divorce is if it’s an abusive relationship.
… or he cheats.
I’m going to get it right the first time.
Over the course of 29 years I have built up marriage to a burdensome task – a weight that has felt heavier and heavier as I struggle to navigate the youth of our marriage. With every fight my thoughts drifted to the defeated opinion of “this is my life now.” I’ve even wondered if I’d made a mistake in choosing my partner. These thoughts grow from tiny wonders into tireless beasts which consume even the happy times when we get along.
We eloped: April 20th, 2011
I started convincing myself of things I didn’t need – such as being married to my best friend, having someone to travel the world with, children. I started thinking about all that he took away from me. I started comparing the man today to the boy I married and I felt lied to – like there was a bait and switch that slowly occurred over the course of these last four years. And before I knew it, my spirit was slowly being crushed by a marriage which felt oppressive and confining.
The fights grew worse. My heart ached because I knew that I was only going to be married once. Divorce wasn’t an option for me. I was going to do better than my parents. I was going to get it right the first time.
The worst part of it all – my husband had no idea it was happening. I had chosen him to blame for my misery because it was easier than looking at myself and realizing I had given him all my power. I had whittled away at my spirit. I had projected expectations on an unwitting target. I had done these things.
It’s strange to sit across the restaurant table from your husband, picking at your salad, as you calmly discuss the option of divorce. It isn’t a topic that should be calmly discussed, but there we were. No tears. No gut wrenching anxiety. But relief.
Once the pressure was released from our explosive relationship we started to see through the clutter of our past to the dreams of our future, and the truth in our situation. My husband has found a spiritual path in which I cannot follow. It has changed his life and, slowly, turned him into the most loving person I have ever known. Through his transformation he has discovered what true devotion to God, Self, and spouse really looks like. This love has been a gift in that I have never felt so loved in my entire life. He needs more, though. And that more is sending him toward a life of service and solitude – a devotion to spiritual study. To a place I don’t belong.
My dreams, too, have shifted and grown. I was right to give up children, for now at least, and imagine what my future would look like without them. I’ve begun laying the foundation for that future and I’m more motivated and excited than I’ve ever been. That future requires me to stay where I am for some years to come and I cannot ask my husband to stay and wait for me. I love him too much to be so selfish.
I understand now that I have experienced the five stages of grief after I’ve spent years mourning our marriage. The anger stage lingered for longer than either of us would have liked and it still rears its ugly little head every once and a while, but I’m aware now. I understand the truth of the situation and I understand that because we love each other it might be best if we let the other person go.
Neither of us are ready to do so just yet. The companionship, love, and respect we have for each other grows daily. It is something I cherish because I know that each moment with him could be the first of the last moment I share with him as his wife. The first of the last time I get to look into his face and see the crows feet crowd his hazel eyes. The first of the last time I get to hold his hand or feel his warmth next to me. The first of the last time I get to listen to his heart beat.
And I miss him already.
Before I end this I have an apology to formally make. I am sorry to my parents for judging their decisions. I am sorry to those of my generation whom I have looked down on. And I am sorry to those who have heard me sneer at the thought of divorce because I once believed I knew better.
To all their own doings and to me my own path. Let us all find contentment in our hearts and peace in our minds.