I was twenty-nine when I got married, thirty-one when I got divorced. A short marriage that culminated in a journey lasting a lifetime.
Being engaged was a fun concept. I chose the engagement ring I wanted. He complained the diamond was too small. I didn’t want a bigger diamond. I liked the one I chose. He did like the huge discounted price, though. He decided to go with the ring on which I first settled.
The ring wasn’t fitted when he proposed and offered it to me. I wore it anyway, and almost lost it when it fell off in the bathroom of the restaurant within the first couple of hours that I had it. Was it a sign? I vowed not to be so careless. We proceeded with the wedding plans.
We chose a small venue to hold an intimate ceremony to be attended only by immediate family
I knew as soon as I said the words “I do” that it was the wrong choice, but I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t look away. It was like watching a train wreck. You can see the impending doom careening down the tracks, but stand by, helpless to stop it; voiceless.
You can only observe the impending collision.
We chose to exchange our vows by means of a Justice of the Peace in a non-religious ceremony. My Mother-in-Law to be told my then fiancé’ and I that our marriage wouldn’t last because we weren’t getting married by a priest in a church in front of God and everyone. I guess she was right about the marriage, although I’m sure God and an audience weren’t the reasons for it’s failure.
I had gotten dressed, wearing my Mom’s wedding dress, a long-standing dream of hers I was eager to fulfill. It fit like a glove. I was moments from walking down the proverbial isle to stand beside my husband-to-be when my Mom asked me if this impending marriage was what I wanted.
No. No, I don’t think I really want this, but your timing is as extraordinary and selfish, as usual, I thought. I nodded, smiled and proclaimed “Yes!” I started walking, flanked by my two younger brothers, too anxious to legally get rid of me, probably. We weren’t really close, but it was my Mom’s idea for them to “give me away.”
And so I joined my groom in front of the Justice. He pronounced us husband and wife and we joined our families for drinks, toasts to marital bliss and a nice dinner. It was a very nice evening, actually, but it felt fraudulent, like the marriage afterward. The wedding was on his birthday; the day before Halloween. It felt like we were dressed up for a costume party.
I should have known it was wrong, but I wanted so badly for it to be right. There was my family, our friends, and years invested in a roller-coaster relationship.
Our families left that evening. We planned to stay a couple of days at the venue. We had rented a room in the secluded location. The next day, he drove back to town, almost an hour away, to tend to work, while I stayed alone for hours during what was supposed to be our honeymoon time. That was a pretty obvious clue that I was on the wrong path. This was not what I wanted, but I let it slide.
In attempting to get our official union headed in the right direction, I went all in to get back on track. I was desperate and panicked because I didn’t like the all-to-clear vision of my future as things were. I tried religious intervention (I am not religious, but my then husband was brought up in a Catholic boys school and claimed to be God-fearing when it proved convenient), I introduced workbooks to help build communication skills and even suggested marriage counseling, which he completely had no interest in pursuing until my feet were out the door. By then, I had made my choice.
“I didn’t know it was that bad,” he stated, before he stopped speaking to me altogether. He glared at me with those Scorpio eyes when I brought up the continued friendship agreed upon before the acceptance of marriage. Apparently, that was a flat-out lie. Just more words spoken to get me to agree to whatever he wanted. I was so naive.
His childish, ignorant actions only confirmed that sticking around again would be continuing to travel the wrong path. I had done my best to make our marriage thrive, but I couldn’t do it on my own. Our expectations obviously didn’t mesh. It took me too long to figure that out, but when I did, my path was clear. It was time to move on. Alone.
I packed up my truck with my laptop and my suitcase. I moved from our rental to sleep on a friends couch for a bit. What was holding me back? I was gainfully employed, smart and capable. I soon found a place of my own, in a different town. I was limiting myself by playing into the opinions of others. Once I separated myself from that, living my life was much easier. I sold the engagement ring and attached wedding band for less than $500 dollars. The feeling of freedom was priceless.
For a long time, I was angry at myself for wasting nearly a decade of my life, we met. When I was twenty-one, on a relationship destined for nowhere. Ultimately, I have come to appreciate the lessons I learned and the growth I achieved that lets me appreciate what I have now.
I now have a life that I created for myself. The life I wanted; not an illusion, and not anyone else’s idea. I have a husband and a daughter and a lifestyle that I enjoy. It challenges me, but I always have the option to choose my direction.. I like this path. It has peaks and valleys, but the range is beautiful.
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