• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

21 August 2009

i find myself just fillin' my time with anything to keep the thought of you from my mind

So uh, I have something to share with you. It's not something I've been hiding: I mention it from time to time in passing. But it's also something I've openly and frankly talked about in any posts. In fact, I wasn't planning on discussing it at all. It's the past, and that's where it belongs, right? But as my wedding date draws nearer, my past is on my mind more and more, and I feel I need to share my experience publicly. My hope is that I'll help someone or at least touch other ladies with similar situations to mine. I want you to know that I have been there, done that, and lived to tell about it.

So here it is: I'm divorced.

When I was 19 and a sophomore in college, I met someone nice. He was nicer than any other guy I dated. We were engaged at 21 and married at 22. My parents thought he was nice too, but my (very wise) mother kept encouraging me to wait. "You're so young," she said. "You want to be sure," she said. "I want to get married!" I said. "We're mature adults, out of college and everything!" So we were married in a small (20 person) beach wedding. And about 2 years ago, I became a 24-year-old divorcee. We were definitely lacking a lot of the things it takes to have a true marriage partnership. We didn't understand how much harder you have to work at marriage than you do at a casual relationship. Even though we'd lived together, moved across the country together, and done all the Stuff That Married Couples Do... it just did not work. We didn't understand the ramifications of marriage when we entered in to it.

There a few reasons I'm writing this post. First, I want anyone who reads it to make sure they are thinking very clearly about the reasons why they're marrying. I often see posts in various wedding/bridal boards that indicate that some engaged couples are missing the oh-so-important communication and cooperation skills, trust, and selflessness that can save a relationship when times get hard. If you don't have all these qualities, get counseling. Read self-help books. Get tips from other couples. If one of you is resistant to helping your relationship in these ways, seriously think about how that could effect your future together. Remember that you are not marrying a husband, you are marrying the guy you're engaged to. The event of marriage won't solve any existing issues. If one or both of you aren't partner material yet, it's time to get up to speed. And seriously. Don't marry because you want a wedding. A wedding lasts a day. Your life lasts, um, your whole life.

And I also warn anyone to be very, very careful about throwing around the legal outs of marriage, even in the back of your head. DO NOT enter in to a marriage thinking "Well, if it doesn't work out, we can always get divorced!" Because seriously? Divorce sucks. Even if you're not religious, and even if your family is supportive, it's still an awful, awful thing to go through. As much as I told myself that it's just like breaking up with a long term boyfriend, it's not. I've done that too, and this hurts worse; it hurts deeper. It hurts differently. It takes a long time to get over. It changes you. Mine was the smoothest, easiest, most amicable and mutually cooperative procedure you could imagine. But it still broke my heart, and when I think about it now, it can still bring me to tears (even though I have no doubt that it was the right choice).

Now that my finger-waggling lecture is over, I want to share how I'm feeling with only a few weeks left before I remarry. I'm feeling excited of course, but also a little sad. Obviously I'm not sad to be marrying Bf - he's the best partner I could possibly ask for. But memories are memories, and it's hard not to experience deja vu while accomplishing wedding tasks. (And did I mention that our marriage license application was stapled to my divorce decree, to be forever nestled together in the county's file? Ick.) Most of all though, I am confident. My previous marriage and divorce have matured me more than any other single event in my entire life. I have learned about pain, about loss, about compatibility, and about couplehood. I have learned about what it takes to have a strong and lasting relationship, and I continue to learn and evolve as a partner, as well recognize what kind of partner Bf is for me. (He's a good one! :))

As far as I'm concerned, my married days will start in September when I marry Bf. He won't be my "second husband": he'll be [new TBD moniker for Bf]: my partner in life (and in crime!). We'll be a team, and that fills me with a joy so huge I cannot contain it.