Today would have marked my parent’s fortieth (40) wedding anniversary. I am in awe because they have been divorced longer than they were ever married. I was inspired to write this post because of an interaction by proxy of both of my parents. Feeling like a gossip as I held these secrets between each of my parents in separate conversations. During those conversations I learned what their divorce taught me about marriage, my marriage.
In February, I wrote a post about my struggles as a wife and how I should play a certain role to appease my husband. The post was written at a time that I was feeling selfish and joyful all at once. Dad read my post and I was shocked, partly because I know few people in real life who read my stories, let alone knowing my father was in my audience. His email sent in response to my post was beautiful, selfless and had a moment of personal reflection to when he was married to my mother. Compelled to share this insight, I forwarded the email to my mom who shot me a text the next morning indicating she was bawling the evening prior, 30 years had passed and this was the first she ever heard [read] her pain in his words.
Suddenly I was struck with the grief and loss I formerly felt as a child when my parents separated, divorced. Feeling my mother’s heartache of her loved lost all those years ago with my dad. Just as soon as I was hit with the pain and emptiness only a woman knows, only a 10 year old girl would feel when her parents divorce, I had fleeting moments of joy for my parents. They finally figured each other out! They saw their love for one another again, if only for a small window. Forgiveness unspoken to one another, through me. I was so joyous at how He was working in them. Please do not get me wrong, my parents are much more productive being divorced, but I was so elated to see how they finally found a common ground, a beautiful moment I will forever cherish.
Funny that I would ever admit their divorce was the best thing considering I am a product of their marriage, but I thank God everyday they didn’t work out. Having lived with each of them for a time I became very acquainted with each of them, how I am so much like each of them as adults and why they became disjointed.
My mother the hippie who burned her bra and wanted to run off to the Peace Corp, the nurse and control freak in her own right. Can you see where I get my drive for green, organic living, the ideal to run my own farm and keep my family healthy? My touch of OCD? My father the white collar, rebel, genius who negotiated millions of dollars in lending, has an amazing passion for the variety all this life offers and can tell you about it with words only imagined (and defined) from a dictionary. Can you see why I am a logophile? Finance guru, expressive with tattoos…I digress.
Seeing each of these people individually and not just as parents I was able to see myself, understand myself, my marriage. I was also able to see what I wanted out of my marriage. Especially because divorce was never an option for me. Neither was marriage. At 15 I vowed to never marry, use men for their purpose (sexually and or professionally) and move on with life. Clearly I had a stronghold on some imaginary Utopian feminism at 15, having no life experience or understanding how relationships or people operate together, thankfully this phase was outgrown and I became more educated. I digress again. Acknowledging marriage is and was a compromise of yourself, the yourself of your parents, yourself with this person, and the yourself you would evolve to become.
Today my marriage thrives because of Vance and Sandy. The buttress of love and understanding from each of them to embrace who I am, ensured I would find a man who would adore me in spite of my ugliest moments, and I could love him with an unyielding passion. Their inability to communicate on the level taught me to find a common ground for open dialogue with The Chad. Embracing sacrifice as a strength and not a victimized quality. Even when hate was so deep, love could be just as, if not more, powerful. Forgiveness was more about yourself and not the other person. Loyalty could be to a fault but never underestimated. Cecity to faults could not be more enhanced.
My parents divorce three decades ago taught me that not all marriages are created equal. Divorce taught me that marriage doesn’t fail, people fail because we are limited in our humanity. Marriage also taught me that marriage is not for everyone and not everyone is meant to be married. I love the nobility my parents possessed in divorce because marriage was not about their children, marriage was about them as individuals and a collective. Most of all they showed me that love truly does conquer all. Through all the ripples of years, waves of memories, love was everlasting. Thankful to have loved, thankful they loved.
4 Replies to “What Divorce Taught Me About Marriage”
Very intimate post. Made me feel a bit melancholic over my own divorce and how it has affected my then 10 & 12 year old daughters. That was five years ago and their dad and I are able to interact without hostility now. I’ve had a loving relationship with my husband now and try to grow from the mistakes I made in my prior marriage.
Wendy, thank you so much for sharing. You know, divorce has such a rough and beautiful impact on children. The break is one that is hard to fathom, I think we (as children of divorce) think that we did something; could have done something to help mend the relationship. As an adult now I can look back and recall my memories and feelings as a child, hug that little girl and be thankful. I hope this too for your daughters, and knowing that their parents love/loved them with an intense ferocity. Hugs to you lady.
Divorce is a hard fact of lofe. Even though my parents divorced they were best friends till death. I admire that friendship that lasted over the broken years. Thanks for sharing.
I love your story.