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19 December 2011

I just may be the marrying kind

After my divorce eight years ago (give or take), I swore off marriage. Despite coming from a very happy home with parents who have been married for going on 35 (?) years (Go, Mom and Dad!), I decided that marriage wasn't really for me. My divorce wasn't particularly nasty or difficult, especially since we had no children and no joint assets, but my marriage itself was nothing spectacular. I married my starter husband (insert smile here) in my senior year of college after dating for four or so years. I know now that I married him because it was what I thought I was supposed to do. Everyone kept asking when we were going to get married because we had been dating for so long. I thought it was time, and I knew that everyone in my family loved him and he loved them. Coming from a tight family, that was really important. It seemed like it was the right thing to do at the right time. I know now that I was very mistaken. Hind sight is 20/20, right?

Married life wasn't at all what I expected it or wanted it to be. Most of my marriage, I felt like I had a roommate instead of a husband. We led very separate lives with very different interests. We did the family stuff together and enjoyed that, but, beyond the family stuff, we really didn't have much to connect us. We really were very different people running on different paths. I'm a social person who enjoys going out and socializing. While I also enjoy my quiet, solitary, at-home time, he enjoyed it too much. He never wanted to go out with friends and socialize. (Interestingly, as soon as we split up, that's all he ever did!) He was perfectly content to sit home every night of the week and watch TV. I figured that if that was what marriage was, I didn't want any part of it. So, after splitting up, I swore off marriage.

I honestly didn't see the point of marriage. Why should I need a piece of paper to show my love and devotion to someone else?   Everything seemed so perfect before marriage, and afterwards it all went to pot. I convinced myself that the problem was the marriage rather than the relationship. I thought marriage should be easy and organic, and I didn't realize the amount of work it required. I, honestly, didn't want to work that hard.

But, here I sit, the better part of a decade later, emerging from an epiphany. I've never said this before, but here goes ... I want to get married again someday. Obviously not tomorrow or next week or even next year, but I want to share my life with someone forever. I've realized that it's not just a piece of paper. It's a public declaration of the depth and breadth of a loving attachment to another human being of my choosing. I clearly had the wrong marriage before, but now I recognize that it was the relationship that was the problem, not the institution of marriage. As a real, all-grown-up adult, I recognize that all relationships are work, and marriage is no exception. I do expect it to be more equally balanced between work and ease, but it does take work.

And, to be honest, I want to be married in the Catholic Church. When I joined the Church years ago (it's weird to say that!), I decided to get an annulment from my first marriage. I never went through with the paperwork, but I'm going to now. I don't want a big fancy wedding because, honestly, money is better spent in other ways. But I would like to walk down the aisle and meet the love of my life at the altar. And when that happens, it'll be the last time it happens. If and when I get married again, it'll be the last time it happens for me.
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