I haven’t written a blog post in a while because for the last few months there’s been only one subject on my mind and I had refused to discuss it with many folks until now. But since the paperwork was filed last week I guess I can make it official. I’m getting divorced.
Now most people would say why broadcast this utterly shameful and acid-producing act out loud, let alone to thousands of strangers who may know of you but few truly know you? Why have them think of you as a failure, a divorcee damned to be forever single in the eyes of the Pharasitic holy rollers or unloveable in the eyes of the hopeless romantic?
After all marriage is the ideal, it signifies some sort of human completeness, a victory gained and a hurdle conquered and as Alec Baldwin says in “The Departed,” Married people seem, “… more stable. People see the ring, they think ‘at least somebody can stand the son of a bitch.” Maybe from now on I’ll just wear the ring and let people imagine that I’m tolerable.
Why did my marriage break up?
It will be a question I’ll ponder for years to come. I was only married for two years, I left just after my wedding anniversary, a day that passed into night like the line of people at the post office – steadily and uneventfully. To this day I don’t know why I got married. Maybe it was societal pressure, maybe it was because I was in love (I’m still not sure if I know what that feels like) maybe it was because he asked, who knows? Truth be told I didn’t have to get married.
I wasn’t pregnant, poor, or particularly sex-crazed. I’m known to be impulsive, to move half-way across the country because it sounds cool, to leave home at 17 and attend a school few had heard of but which today is known by just about anyone seeking to get a great education at a good price. My life seemed to move randomly through space like those silver balls trapped in pinball machines that rapidly bounce off lit plastic barriers so fast they blur into the atmosphere. I went where, I told myself, God led me to go, but truth be told I didn’t know if God was speaking to me or if I had indigestion.
I prayed and read the Bible and supplicated myself to His Word, all the things you were supposed to do to get ready for His will to be revealed but it seems just when God was getting to the punchline I dozed off and woke up disoriented, disjointedly moving through space and time not knowing the joke was on me.
My career was just the opposite, of course. Every move I made job wise improved my situation immensely. I climbed the ladder of success skillfully, getting prestige, fame but alas missing out on the fortune but living as if I was rich anyway thanks to the Lord’s blessings.
My body finally came along the right way as well. After years of struggling with my weight I began swimming, biking and running my fat blues away. I still struggle with my weight but at least I know how to control it now.
But my love life. Man, what a train wreck. I would look at my friends like Marshae and Gavin, whose Christmas card photos rival The Waltons with their beautiful blond (red for Marshae sometimes) hair and golden tans, bright blue eyes and smiles that knock out the sun. And their portraits are made all the better because if you know Marshae and Gavin they’re more like the Munsters, all sass, and hospitality but tinged with a bit of the dark side. They are quite possibly the two most married people I’ve ever met with the exception of a friend of mine’s parents who have been married for more than 50 years and in their 80s seem like teenagers with their “oohs,” and “aahs,” over each other. They fuss and they fight but when you look at them stand back because the love they feel for each other takes up space, it’s tangible and you can feel it all around them.
Everyone should have that type of love, right now here on earth, not when they get to heaven. God wired us for intimacy and because we’re his children we all deserve a piece of that action while we’re still conscious enough to feel it. And I thought I had found my piece, my slice of the love pie that goes down smooth and is shaken not stirred ripe for plucking and sweet as all get out. But my image of marriage, a unholy Picasso-like structure shaped by Danielle Steele novels mixed with a Boaz story,
an apostle Paul lecture, tons of Julia Roberts movies, a dollop of Love Jones and a zing of verbal and physical abuse that I’ve seen in my so-called life, was so distorted that my husband and I – no matter our real faults – never had a chance.
You can’t be happy in a marriage if you’re unhappy with yourself. If you think the world is out to get you and your partner is part of the conspiracy it only becomes a matter of time before love turns to battle and concern to paranoia. My husband had his faults. I, of course, have mine. We also had a slew of external pressures that would strain any marriage.
And so for the first time in a long time I failed. I could not make my marriage work no matter how hard I tried and to be honest I don’t know if I tried hard enough. But the papers have been filed and the path has been set.
Will I get married again? Who knows? After all it still remains the ideal. But it would take a lot for me to put my trust in another human being again. To think that someone else could be as good for me as I can for myself. To drop my independent-minded attitude in favor of a joined asunder partnership an homage to the adage that two minds are better than one. Will I find a love that is committed to me as Christ is to the church – which is heretofore the only definition of marriage I’m going to ascribe to? Who knows? But I come away with the knowledge that I am lovable, that I am capable of intimacy and that, finally, someone could stand me enough to put a ring on my finger. That’s a start right?