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 learning 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.”