Thursday, July 21, 2016

Love and Marriage

Yesterday was my Wedding Anniversary, or would have been if I wasn't divorced.  It's a little ironic that I realized it because for most of my marriage, I wasn't very good at remembering the date, a fact my ex-husband never exactly embraced.  It's not that I didn't care, I'm just not great at keeping track of things like that.
I'm not sad about the fact that I'm divorced and, despite what some might think, I moved on a long time ago even though I haven't really dated anyone in the years since we parted ways.  I just needed some alone time.  I needed time to just be me. 
I have thought often in the past couple of years about love and marriage, what they are and what that means to me.  I've thought about what my own marriage meant to my life and whether or not it lost all meaning because it didn't last. 
So, from the perspective of time and distance, here's what I think about all of it.
Love is still the most important thing in the world.  You can have everything else you've ever wanted and, if you don't have the right person to share it with, it can still ring hollow.   It's in my happiest moments that I feel that emptiness most keenly. 
To me, marriage is the moment when you stand up in front of the whole world and say, "I choose this person".  It can be the most daring thing in the world to make that declaration and to mean it with your whole heart.  And it can be the most comforting thing you'll ever know, to feel that the person you have chosen has also chosen you.
The end of a marriage is heart-breaking.  There is no other way around it.  You grieve the loss of not only the person you loved, but the idea of the life you thought you had together, or could have had together if things had been just a little different.
Ultimately, I'm glad that I got married, even though it didn't work out. Tommy gave me a place to call home for over a decade, even if some of those years were difficult.   I'm sure it wasn't always easy being married to someone like me, someone who is independent to a fault.  I often tried to explain why I thought it was important that I didn't need him, that he was in my life because I wanted him there.  I don't think he always understood that.  I never wanted to need anyone.  It's important to me that every moment I spend with someone is by my choice, because I prefer to be with that person over all others, not out of some kind of sense of needing to have someone by my side.  I would rather be alone than to spend my life with someone out of necessity or fear.
Still, I never wanted to date again. And maybe I let things go on too long in the hope that I wouldn't have to. 
When I married him, I made Tommy my family and he will always be my family even if I never see him again.  I wish for only good things for him.  I am thankful for the time we spent together, thankful that he gave me that moment, that he stood up in front of the world with me and told everyone that he chose me and that I chose him.  That moment was everything to an independent girl like me.  It was everything I was afraid of allowing myself to want.
Now, reflecting on all of it from the comfort of time and distance, I can say that I gained more than I lost.  I don't think I could have ever been as happy and as sure of myself as I am now if I had never had that moment.  I don't think I could have ever been as happy alone as I am if I had never tried and failed to make a life with someone else. 
I know now that I'm capable of doing either - living alone or living with someone.  I look forward to the time when I find the right someone to share my life with.
I don't know if I'll ever get married again.  I'm certainly not in any rush.  I don't even know at this point if I'll ever fall in love again...but I hope so.  I'm willing to admit now that while I might not need anyone...I kind of want to.  Maybe allowing myself to rely on someone else isn't the worst thing I could do.  Maybe someday, it will even happen.
But for now, I'm happy.  I'm at peace with my life and with myself. And I'm at peace with my marriage as well as my divorce.
Thank you, Tommy, for being my home for all those years.

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