Remember Thelma and Louise? Well, Thelma is getting married!!! Again!! She just told me. Quiet little courthouse deal, later this month, big party afterwards. “Yeah, that’s how I’d do it if I were ever stupid enough to try that again” I thought. She is excited and scared. “I’ve been through so much bullshit but this guys’ different. He’s a sweetie” she told me. “For now he is” I thought. Now, I don’t know her fiance from Adam (nor have I ever completely understood that expression – I get it’s a way of saying “I have no idea who this guy is” but what if you actually do know Adam? Do you know Bob? Or Steve? But I digress…) I’m sure he is a great guy and I doubt she’d be walking down the aisle again if she didn’t really feel in her heart that he is a good man. Not only do I commend her for the leap of faith she is taking in this hope filled step of walking down the aisle after surviving a shitstorm, I’m rather envious of her ability to leap.
You all must know that while you are conversing with me in any way, at any time, there is a running commentary going on in my head of our conversation. Gladys Knight had the Pips, I have an internal play by play…don’t judge me! Normally, my mental commentary is filled with inappropriate jokes. However, in discussing Thelma’s upcoming nuptials, my internal commentary went cynical and sarcastic. Thank the Lord for my super strong filter!
So I am breaking down my thoughts and feelings about marriage, after going through divorce. The last several years I’ve thought that marriage is a great thing…for other people, you know, people who aren't me. I flashed to a conversation the hEX and I had while we were married and had just learned that a friend was getting re-married.
Demon hEX: If we don’t make it, would you ever get married again?
Me: oh Hells no! I will never do this again!
Demon hEX: lol, if I had feelings that might hurt.
Me: What about you?
Demon hEX: You know, when your first marriage fails, it’s 50/50 as to whose to blame. But when your second marriage fails, you just need to face the fact that you probably aren’t marriage material.
Now, once wife 3.0 splits, I’m so going to start calling him Ross! In the 5 years that we have been separated, SEPARATED (we’ve only been divorced for 3 years), he has been engaged 2 times and married once. And I think this is part of my problem. My attitude when we got married was “this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with”. His attitude was more “I’ll hang out with you until I get bored”. Frankly, I don’t want to risk another run in with that type of attitude.
Hindsight being 20/20, I can see all the signs I ignored. At the time, I thought I was going to live happily ever after with him. And when happily ever after with him failed, I created my own happily ever after. GoodTwinLand is a wondrous, whimsical place! And it’s mine! Which leads the question of “how will I ever let someone completely into my life again?” In building my own “happily ever after” I really didn’t leave any room for someone else. I’ve become acutely aware of that as CW and I have grown closer.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. After surviving divorce, how do you build “happily ever after” with someone new? How do you take that leap of faith to walk down the aisle again? Something more than “he’s such a sweetie, he’s the right one” or “she just blew me away”. Let’s dig a little deeper here ladies and gents, because the divorce rate is actually higher with 2nd marriages then it is with 1st marriages.
How do you learn to trust your own judgment after it failed you so miserably? How can you trust that you aren't ignoring signs now?
First off, major frigging kudos to the Good Twin for writing this! As we attempt to deflect some of our emotional growing pains using humor - and trust me, we seriously crack up ourselves and each other like no tomorrow!!! This is a subject very near and dear to our hearts. We both believe in the sanctity of marriage- when we spoke our vows, we meant every single word- and not just because we were in a great situation at the time (aka awesome or occasional times of fantastic mind-blowing sex! *sorry Maria!*)
We truly felt that the person standing next to us and echoing the same vows as us was meant to be by our side no matter what. That this was some Universal plan unfolding and we were grateful to have found our soul mates and were excited about a life of growing and experiencing life together as a married couple.
Were there red flags? Absolutely! But marriage is about buckling down and plowing through them. Yes, it's incredibly easy to shout "Uncle!" when things take a downward spiral that you weren't prepared for- but you were of sound mind and body when you spoke your vows before God(s) family and friends- and that meant "I believed every word I vowed to you- and I will do everything in my nature to uphold those vows!"
No matter how driven you are to live your vows- everyone has a hard stop embedded in them. Most of the time you are completely oblvious to these hard stops on a deeper level. For some, adultery is a 100% hard stop. For others, you have weathered many storms and are willing to work through an adultery or two to uphold your wedding vows and get through a horrible decision or two. For me, one of my hard stops was the vow "through sickness and in health" I took this to mean physical sickness - but I never weighed in the level of mental sickness or chemical addiction it would take for me to cry "Uncle." Had he'd been willing to admit or take steps to work through these issues- I would have been there by his side no matter what. The fact that these were thrown into my face on a daily basis to the point where I was terrified that he wouldn't wake up the next morning- this became an intense hard stop for me. I worried myself sick to the point where my Dr. had me on an anti-anxiety medication level that was borderline abusing the medication- just to try to cope. It was like going to bed every night- seeing my Husband with a loaded gun in his mouth and praying that he was still alive when I woke up.
Again- when saying "I do" you are taking a serious gamble on what those two words mean.
You can't forseeable know what your limitations are until you are knee deep in that life defining situation.
(Can you see why either of us might be a tad "panicky" over the thought of going through a marriage again?)
That being said, life is not a given- tomorrow is not a given. There is no perfect recipe for obtaining a healthy marriage. There are a lot of great guidlines and words of wisdom to consider, both Good Twin and I are all in favor of the healing power of therapy! But the end result is that this is still a huge, potentially life-altering gamble!
You pray that you have grown through your past mistakes. You pray that you truly understand your hard stops- but in the end it's still a gamble into the unknown. Yes, a healthy thriving marriage is worth it. What you grow through with your Spouse can move mountains. Currently, I am on the sidelines cheering on every positive relationship I have the happiness to encounter in my life. Maybe someday I will meet that special person who is worth a trip to the altar. And maybe I'll have the courage to make that trip.