So, my Master’s degree is in Family Development and Education. I’ve taught hundreds of classes and workshops on marriage and family, and I even have a book through amazon on how to have a happy marriage. And then I get this question from one of my Facebookers:
“I hate to ask this but are you embarassed (sic) to have been married 3 times since you teach about this stuff?”
Well, Grasshopper, let me give you an easy answer: yep.
I guess I could end there, but we all know how I love to hear myself talk (even if it is in my head) so let’s continue.
With Hubby #1, we were both so freaking young!! I truly believed, with all of my heart and soul, that I was an adult at 20. I also thought that we could live on ‘LOVE’ (you need to say that in a way that the word is stretched out a bit like I do in class). I was finishing up my senior year in university and had to student teach during the entire spring semester, which meant no money was coming in on my end. Hubby was working at the customer service counter of TJ Maxx. Yep. That was all we thought we needed to get by. Minimum wage job with less than 40 hours a week…and love. Guess what? Reality set in quick! So why did this marriage end? Because we had no idea what we wanted! We were still kids! Neither one of us had any idea what we were doing, and to top that off, I know my untreated bipolar caused a LOT of problems. We lasted 4 years…and bless his heart for having the courage to understand we were never going to work. The divorce broke my heart, but it was the right thing to do.
Then Hubby #2 came along. I grew up with him and we went through school together from 3rd grade to community college. He was newly divorced. I was newly divorced. And our loneliness brought us 2 friends together. We had a happy marriage! I really loved the years we were together, raising our son, and creating the little family we had. I think our problem was complacency.
Thinking this is never going to end, so why put more into it than you have too. I’ve learned, the hard way, that complacency kills. It makes you not acknowledge what needs to be worked on. It makes you close your eyes to problems that are springing up.
Hubby #3 was an enigma. He was a big, tough, motorcycle riding, muscled guy with skull tattoos who belonged to an outlaw motorcycle club. People were shocked that we were together because we’re so different! But hubby had such a sweet, funny, smart side and he could make me laugh so hard! This big old tough guy bought me a finger puppet the first year we were married. He was ‘Cookie’ and we took this puppet everywhere we went! I even have pictures of ‘Cookie’ in front of some Van Goghs’ at the Chicago Art Institute (our favorite place to go).
He decoupaged with me…painted with me…was so so proud of everything I made and all of the accomplishments I worked for. But hubby came from a very bad background…his parents were horribly abusive and negligent and it was hard for him to just be my hubby. The motorcycle club was a brotherhood to him. Was a family. The kind of the family he never had as a kid. So it became more of his life than I was. He knew it and I knew it. We were living in different worlds after 10 years, and when we divorced, it hurt both of us so much. We stood in front of the judge together, holding each other. The Judge asked if we really wanted the divorce…hubby had to answer because I was too choked up. But, we’re friends and we talk everyday. I’ll always be a part of his life, and I know he’ll always be my best friend.
So, it does sound bad that I’m a 3x divorcee. But you know what? When I think back on my marriages (why do I suddenly feel like Elizabeth Taylor?), I am so appreciative of each one of them. Hubby #1 helped me grow up. Helped me to understand my actions have consequences. Helped me to see that marriages take more than just love…they take work and effort and understanding and humility and forgiving and asking to be forgiven and on and on and on.
Hubby #2 gave me the greatest gift I could ever have gotten on this earth. My boy. Those 13 years we had together as a family are the happiest years in my life. I loved being a mommy and a wife. I reveled in it. I wanted some of the moments we shared to last forever and ever and ever. But the thing is, neither one of us put in the effort to make that possible.
And Hubby#3? He gave me passion! He awakened in me things I didn’t know were there! As much as I loved my first 2 hubbies, this guy took my breath away. I thought I’d die if I couldn’t see him everyday, and when we were together, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him. He is the one man in my life that made me feel like a sexy gal!! OooooWeee!
Of course I’m sorry that my marriages ended. And I take a lot of responsibility for this. I was an untreated bipolar going through manic phases (did you know you can plant a half acre garden in a couple of hours??!) and depressive episodes (where I would force myself to make dinner and then sit at the table and smile). I didn’t want to admit what was happening in my brain. By the time of Hubby 3, I just wanted a relationship to work so bad, the things in my head were pushed to the side as much as possible. Would any of these marriages have lasted if I had been treated? Hmmmm. Maybe so. But maybe not. Marriages take 2 people. Both working. Both trying. Both putting in all they can. These divorces weren’t their fault. Or my fault. Each one was our fault.
So, grasshopper…I’m not embarrassed. I’m lucky to have had 3 men in my life that gave to me, taught me, loved me, and awakened me. Will there be a #4? Not if my mom has any say in it. And I doubt it. I would have married my ex-partner. I really would have. But maybe marriage just isn’t for me! Kinda like milk. I drink it…I get sick. I get married…I get divorced. However, that doesn’t mean they weren’t good while they lasted.