Fifteen years ago today I married for the second time. And, in complete honesty—given what marriage number one did for me— there are brief moments where I’ll slap myself on the forehead saying, “And, what made me do this again!?”
My first marriage lasted seventeen years and ended in heartbreak and animosity on all sides. The best that came out of that union were two beautiful children and a growing understanding of self. Mind you, I’m still a work in progress in understanding self…but aren’t we all works in progress? The worst thing that came out of that marriage was the intrusion of a psychotic “psychic”…but that’s a story for another day.
I certainly did not have ideal role models (e.g. my parents) to help provide me with a sense of what a good, loving marriage should be. My mother and father were two people who should have never married each other (one could argue that they should have never married, period). They had a terrible marriage, the effects of which had a devastating impact on their three children. Nor, somehow, despite putting myself through college without a dime or any form of support from my parents, did I have the tools necessary to function as a confident and independent woman (in my defense, I was a very naive twenty-two year old just out of college.). So, it’s pretty miraculous that my first marriage survived as long as it did.
My journey has been a very difficult one, in part because of that severely dysfunctional family upbringing and because of poor choices …and I don’t necessarily mean husband number one. At his core, my ex-husband is a good man although he’s got a boatload of issues under his belt too, which he wouldn’t admit if his life depended on it. Still, I’m a much better person because of it all (dysfunctional childhood included). Suffice it to say that It took me years to understand that…and myself, as well as to forgive myself for my part in the failure of my first marriage. Yes folks…that adage that “it takes two to tango,” to make or break a relationship is, without question, true.
Thankfully, the second time around is going better…much better. Perhaps it’s because I’m older and wiser or perhaps it’s just that the guy is Rocket-man, which is sort of hoot because I didn’t even like him, at first. Too fresh I was from a failed marriage to immediately recognize a good thing when I saw it! We had met by chance, fresh on the heels of my divorce, during a long training run at a running club. A man was the LAST thing I wanted in my life; In my broken state I barely had the energy to be a single mother and was working full-time again after years of being a stay-at-home mom. Running was my salvation and it was all I needed, so I thought. Still, our friendship grew slowly, literally at a snail’s pace, as we saw each other only once a week, on Sunday’s, for many months.
I’m not trying to bash the father of my children but the fact is I slowly came to realize that Rocket-man was a man who was supremely more comfortable in his skin than husband number one ever was. More importantly, Rocket-man, from day one, made me feel like I had a voice. I could talk…finish a sentence…have an opinion and not feel like I was dumb as a rock. It took over two years after I met Rocket-man to start believing that a new world was possible. I was mighty broken inside for too many reasons to count. Rocket-man encouraged me to try even the silliest little thing…to step out of box after box that I had put myself in. His exuberant optimism soon started to open up the bluest parts of my soul. That never happened with husband number one: with him, I learned to say and feel nothing because he knew everything and he was always right.
I’m not saying that marriage number two is all roses and sunshine. Our fifteen years together has often been a bumpy ride. Love and marriage takes a great deal of work, more so for some than others, I suspect, depending upon the amount of individual baggage to sift through! I honestly didn’t understand that concept the first time around at the tender age of 22. And, Rocket-man, years a bachelor following a failed first marriage, who had never had kids of his own, inherited teenagers! Yes, you guessed it; those were the bumpiest years. It’s a wonder that we made it through together and in one piece.
Occasionally, when I’m angry at Rocket-man for some silly little thing I’ll feel like throwing in the towel in a moment of uncharacteristic impetuousness. I’ll even remind him that I don’t remember saying “I Do” during our wedding ceremony which took place in the Elizabethan Gardens, just steps from the beach, on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. You see, while the minister was asking that question I was too busy swatting at ants that were trying to crawl up my wedding dress. To that, Rocket-man simply says, “You’re my home.” No matter how upset I get over things big or small, its those words (and Rocket-man’s blue eyes) that snap me back to what brought us together in the first place. A run. A very long run.
And so I am in it…for the long run…and thankfully, so is he.
There is bliss in that ❤