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The Unniversary

16 May

It was 16 years ago today that I said I do to my ex. As I look back on our wedding, marriage and subsequent divorce it would be easy to say, “what a mistake,” “wish I’d had known then what I know now,” etc. But the truth is, we were ready. We had the tools. We had what we needed to have a successful marriage. I think we simply didn’t know how to use them or failed to see the need to use them. We made a lot of assumptions and a lot of mistakes. Both of us.

Ultimately I grew from all three events. I can still see her entering the church and can still feel that moment of immense overwhelming emotional power. Daily I live through specific moments of the days that followed. Some victories. Some defeats. All steps forward in one way or another. Honestly, I think the important thing is that every day we reflect on our lives, not with regret, but with a goal of learningRING and recognizing what worked and what didn’t so that we grow as individuals from the sum of our experiences.

Each rep that a running back takes, is a step toward becoming a better back. You gain confidence through first downs and tackles for a loss, victories and defeats. Sometimes you miss the hole while other times you hit the seam and break it for a long gain. Each day is the same way. And unless we put ourselves in a position to take those reps, we’ll never learn. We’ll never get better.

I emerged from my divorce smarter, wiser, stronger and calmer. I see things very differently than I did on the day I said I do. I have an amazing family and despite the hardships, the pressures and the stress; I have a different outlook on life that keeps me moving forward. My children challenge me to be a better man and I thank God for them every moment of every day. And for that I’m eternally grateful. Sure I look at other families at times with envy or longing for what might have been. But that wasn’t meant for us. Dwelling on that fact isn’t healthy nor does it make any sense. I made my choices as did she and tomorrow I’ll make new ones. It’s how this works.

Whether you remember your anniversary or not I’m sure you have moments when you look back at what was and what could have been. But promise me you’ll never look back with regret. You made choices at the time that felt right. They felt right for a reason. And perhaps they were the right thing for you at the time. We have no way of knowing where life is going to take us. In a marriage, your life is directly affected by your partner. It’s part of the journey. You may not completely understand why, but chances are you followed your instincts. And at some point either you or your spouse followed your instincts to exit. In each case, you did the best you could with the information you had available to you. And each decision took you forward, never back. I believe that focusing too much attention on the past and dwelling on the why keeps you from moving forward. And that’s what you need to do. Put the past behind you and recognize that it helped shape who you are today.

You are where you are for a reason. Take the day. Take the rep. Look for the seam. Make your move. Don’t worry if you get caught in the backfield today. Tomorrow is another rep and another chance to find the hole and find your legs.

Bottom line; if you ask me if I look back on my wedding day with fondness, the simple answer is, “I do.”

 

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8 responses to “The Unniversary

  1. Nephila

    May 16, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I’m glad for you. I can’t say the same. Despite the many good years, despite 2 beautiful children, despite the fact I didn’t divorce him, if I could go back with what I know now I wouldn’t have married him. I thought he had the same kind of loyalty and principles I did, but the affair proves otherwise. I know he was fooled, played by a master player. I know he is broken by sorrow and remorse and trying to make up for it. But in the end, he caused me too much pain for me to knowingly take that on. If I could go back I would have said “I don’t”.

     
  2. divorced dad

    May 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I’m truly sorry to hear that. I cannot imagine the hurt you must experience reliving that deep cut. Understand that I’m not saying I would necessarily go back and remarry my ex-wife. My point is, I look back on my wedding day fondly because the day itself was awesome and it was the beginning of a journey that led to what I am today. It was a difficult path, but as difficult as the journey became, I learned from it and grew from it. To regret those choices would mean the last fifteen years of my life were a waste and a mistake. And I’ve come to recognize that they were just the opposite. I am the sum of my experiences good and bad. For me the person I married and the person who divorced me were two different people. We both were. I can’t say for certain that I’d like who I would have become had we not gotten married more than what I am today. For all I know I had to go through what I did to get to this point. And for that to have happened, I would have to walk to the alter as I did sixteen years ago. But that’s my story. Thank you so much for opening up about your own experience. As mentioned, infidelity was not something we dealt with and I can’t begin to imagine what that must do to a person.

     
    • Nephila

      May 17, 2014 at 1:30 am

      Thanks for that. I am glad for you that your story and your hindsight is different. Perhaps I am over sensitive because our anniversary is approaching. But while I am the sum of my experiences I could be even better without some.

       
      • divorced dad

        May 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

        I sincerely hope you find peace with it all. Have enjoyed hearing the female perspective on the subject. I do believe we look at some things differently. Plus each of our experiences will be different and how we react to it will be different as well. For me I look at is battle wounds. LIfe will always present us with battles we need to fight through. If it wasn’t my divorce it would be something else. When adding up the sum of your experiences, the cool thing is that even the negatives add to the bottom line. Stay strong and thanks for the conversation.

         
  3. Making Sense from MY Perspective

    May 17, 2014 at 5:17 am

    My ex-anniversary is in two days. I try not to think about it and make it as “ordinary a day” as possible so I don’t have to be reminded of the pain he has caused in mine and my kids’ lives by his actions. I think I can agree with “the person I married and the person who divorced me were two different people” in the surface, but underneath, I believe he was still the selfish manipulator that couldn’t be honest with himself or others enough to sustain a real relationship. Yes, he’s changed in some ways, but more than anything I think I just began truly seeing him for who he was and realized that I couldn’t like or respect him, even though I still believe I love him in many regards.

     
    • divorced dad

      May 17, 2014 at 10:44 am

      If that’s the case then recognize that you grew in your ability to see people for what they are. What an amazing skill to have gained. We are so naive when we enter into a union like marriage. Regardless of the outcome I believe we come out wiser and better equipped for all levels of relationships moving forward. If everything you said is true, be thankful you were able to exit and not be buried in the blanket of negativity the rest of your life. In doing so you’ll appreciate the positive influence that much more.

       
      • Nephila

        May 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

        I wish I could agree with you. But second and third marriages fail at an even greater rate than first marriages. So what have we gained? Or have we only lost? Don’t mind me, I’m in a sad place right now.

         
  4. divorced dad

    May 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    It’s OK to be in a sad place. We all go there. Hang in there. Don’t be afraid to touch base. Search for that positive if you can or find some friends to hang out with. Thank you so much for contributing. Don’t be a stranger.

     

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