Societal accolades run high for long-term marriages. We love to celebrate years and years of holy matrimony. Though there’s a lot more to marriage than sheer longevity, hats off to you brethren who have hung in there for twenty-five years or more. For those who chose the path of divorce after a long-term marriage, hats off as well, for making a choice to (hopefully) better yourselves, better your lives. Many of you are not quitters. Divorce is a choice and I’m quite certain it took everything you had to make one of the most significant decisions in your life. Brava to you. No one knows your story, your marriage or divorce more than you. I commend marriage. I understand divorce.
Today marks what would’ve been 31 years married. Thirty-one. That’s sixteen years longer than my parents’ marriage. I’d say that’s a pretty good run. I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last four years since my divorce, thinking about marriage. I believe in marriage and interestingly, not a proponent of divorce. (Said the divorced middle-aged woman) I wish my marriage would’ve been one of those I admire so. Not so much for the amount of years, but for the evolution of what it might have looked like growing old together.
Here’s the thing. It’s a big one. One can’t grow together as a couple until and unless both individuals are willing to look at themselves first. An ongoing process, the evolution of long-term marriages are most rewarding when both understand the value of themselves before valuing the other. Too often, I valued him before myself. I wasn’t a fully developed person in the sense of my beliefs and values when I married. Never fully occurred to delve into certain questions. Oh, I questioned. I didn’t take the time to figure out an answer or two. Or one hundred. Or a thousand. Questions become redundant when one hasn’t come to their own conclusions. There is very little insight to behold.
It’s taken me years and counting to become the whole being I am. I’m less apt to defend myself or state the reasons I chose to divorce, to justify my decisions. While I don’t celebrate June 29th like I used to, it remains an important anniversary, one to be recognized and acknowledged. Our marriage was and IS part of us. He’s the father of my two daughters. He gave me the opportunity to return to college. He supported me financially and took great care of our family. Happy Anniversary to us. May we grow and evolve to be better versions of ourselves than who we used to be.