Welcome to your wedding day and the beginning of a marriage. I’ve been married three times, to two men. My first marriage is somewhat documented on this site. It was a rocky, 15-year ordeal that I’m glad is over. I had a talk with my oldest son the other day and he said “you and dad could have stayed together and tried to make it work and us kids would still be living with that.” Staying married in a bad situation is a choice and just as difficult a choice as getting divorced. I don’t know that either is “the best” solution; forcing something that isn’t working or just ending it because it isn’t working, but children, even grown children, have to live with the decision.
I can tell you that all three of my kids are ultimately glad I chose to get divorced from their dad. Not only is their dad remarried and happier (I think), I certainly am and they no longer live in a powder-keg home, in the middle of an armed encampment of opposing forces. Ok, so that is dramatic, but imagine how a 10-year-old kid feels when mom and dad are at opposite ends of the house and when they enter the same room they start yelling at each other or just as bad, ignoring each other.
And now back to marriage. I made the choice to do it again in my late 30s and have a rather small, family-type gathering at a city park and share the day. While in this new marriage there is less drama, sharing your life with someone is hard. Maybe for me it will always be this hard and for others it isn’t, I don’t know. We had lived together for a few years before we eventually got married, so we had less of the ups and downs couples do when the first get married and co-habitate. I can tell you in my first marriage it was a complete shock to share my living space with someone I really didn’t know. We did not have sex before we got married, we’d not spent the night at each others houses. Seeing how he was in the bathroom versus me, our kitchen habits, our laundry habits, it was an eye opener. That first year of marriage to him was hell, punctuated by sex.
This last time around, my marriage has been more relaxed because he and I are better-suited to one another, but we still have our difficulties. The big difference for me was with this wedding, I made choices to get married in a dress I wanted (not one I had to wear that covered me up), I could get married where I wanted (not in a temple), and everyone I loved who wanted to come, could be there (not just people who could enter the temple). I enjoyed the entire wedding planning process and all the decisions that came along with it.
In a marriage, you make voices to share finances, blend money, get a joint insurance policy, get life insurance, have children or not, change careers, move into a new home, travel together or travel alone, where your mother-in-law stays when she comes over, what couch to buy for the family room, when to upgrade your television and the list goes on and on. Most of this doesn’t seem like big life stuff, but some of it can be.
I had a therapist tell me once that you can judge a person by three things:
- How they treat the elderly
- How they treat animals
- How they handle a time of intense stress
These are the daily occurrences in married life and the big, crushing events that come up and bring on those big decisions. In my marriage, we’ve been through the death of a mother, a grandmother, a dog, we’ve handled identity theft in the tens of thousands of dollars. We’ve been in countries where we didn’t understand anyone but each other for weeks at a time. We’re facing a mother with quickly-acting Alzheimer’s. This is the nitty, gritty of marriage.