She was still wounded…deeply. “I’m not jealous of my friends, I just don’t understand why my marriage didn’t work.”
“They all look so happy and I still wonder why things couldn’t work out differently for me.” Ouch! I was trying really hard not to blink. I didn’t want these tears to fall… at least not in front of her.
“Unbreak my heeeaarrttt…” This song played softly in the background of my thoughts as I fought back my tears and listened to her heart.
I sat in the presence of this 87-year old fragile woman as she spoke on the pain of her divorce. Her husband left her and their 3 children when she was 38 years old… and almost 50 years later, she appeared to still have a wound very sensitive to the touch of her reality. Sigh. What do you say to someone in this place? Absolutely nothing. Just Listen…. and I did. I can still remember (not feel) the pain of my fiancé dumping me and marrying someone else a year later… it sucked. If that hurt as bad as it did without the marriage and kids, there was no telling what this fragile woman has experienced.
We all know the stats, 50% of marriages end in divorce…blah blah blah. Let me bring that fact a little closer to home…. for every two weddings you attend, one of those couples will divorce. For every two married couples you know, one will end in divorce. If you and your friend are married, one of you will divorce. Ouch! I’ve had two of my closest friends get married in the last two years, and I’d like to think they are the exception to these stats… breathe in, breathe out.
Let me preface my thoughts by saying that I am not a Marriage Expert. I do not have the magical answer to end divorce… Actually, I’m not even married…lol. But I proceed…
Until bae puts a ring on it (…and even after he does), I am working on me. I have become aware of my “issues” (well most of them at least, I’m sure others will reveal themselves along the way) and now that I’m cognoscenti of them, I can respond and not react to people. I am able to say to myself, “Mac, you need to find a way to be a little more gentle in your speech as you can come across a little insensitive.” #Freedom #ThankYouToMyCounselor #IKnowMe #Vulnerability #NakedWriter #NoExcusesJustChange. I am listening to podcasts, watching sermons, reading, talking and asking a gazillion questions to my married friends (Jazz, Kim, Ibsen, Esther, Vern, and Adrienne, thank you for your vulnerability!–sorry if I missed anybody).
To the married folks who are giving me the impression that your marriage is perfect, you’re doing me a huge disservice and helping perpetuate the lie that as soon as my prince comes along and places that Michael Kors stiletto on my foot, marriage will be “Happily Ever After.”
No, you’re absolutely not responsible for the baggage I take on, because of your outward appearance… but if you decide to give relationship advice, share real life with us… don’t pretend all is rainbows and unicorns…not just for my sake, but for yours too.
I will balance that thought with this —- when sharing “relationship experiences,” I understand the need to be mindful that you are also sharing a part of someone else’s life. But I do believe there is a way to share and ‘respect their privacy,’ yet authentically enough that someone could glean some insight from what you’ve shared.
So, my ‘divorce-proof’ plan is to:
1.) Work on me
2.) Learn as much as I can
3.) Any other suggestions?
I can only do my part, I can’t control the other person. How painful it is when you’ve done all the ‘right things’ and yet the other person decides they want out. Ouch!
Marriage is God’s idea…and He tells us how it’s supposed to work (that unconditional love thing). Because we have received unconditional love, we’re supposed to be able to give it. So yes! There is a spiritual element to this. Oh and let’s not forget a very practical part too… I repeat practical. Saints, don’t shoot me— but let’s keep it real, divorce rates are higher in the church. Perhaps because we are trying to shout our marriage issues away, instead of putting our hands to the plow and working through them. Run for cover!!!
Even after I’m married, I will continue to gather data from my beloved married friends. So far my research findings reveal that… Marriage is not “Happily Ever After”… it’s actually “Hard Work Ever After.” So, hats off to all of my married friends… Congratulations! You did it! You are doing it! I’m encouraged and I’m inspired! Love You!
To my friends who have had to leave their marriages, perhaps by choice or not… I Love You. You’ve overcome depression and you have not lost your mind! I’m proud of you! Let me reassure you that you’re not the dented can on the shelf and you are not a failure. You are no less love-able. In fact, you have the chance to present a more refined version of yourself to your next mate, should you choose to love again… and I hope you do.
P.S. Hey Vulnera-bites! Let me apologize for not sharing a post last week. I was not going to write (Thank you cousin Dina for holding me accountable!). I missed the deadline I set for myself, as it’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’m tired. But, I really wanted to get this experience out of my head… and I’m glad I did 🙂
See you in my next blog!
The Naked Writer
PS. Thanks for journey-ing through life with me! If you know someone who might enjoy this, share my heart with them and remember to subscribe so we can keep in touch (top right corner)! Oh yeah and comment (top left corner)! You’d be surprised how your comments encourage other readers— because other readers, do read the comments! Don’t you? lol