Last month when I was in Chicago, M. joined the gym near our apartment. He also signed me up. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just the opposite. Belonging to a gym and actually going is part of our make up. Besides writing about exercise, I actually like to partake in it. Without it, I am not sure I would have survived my divorce, ran a half marathon on a whim, or lost 50 of the 60 pounds I gained during pregnancy. Since we moved back to California, I haphazardly would take walks or go to the track near our house for a workout. Honestly, life seemed a bit harder because exercise wasn’t a regular occurrence.
I have been a gym member for a month and last night was the first time I stepped through the doors. The proverbial seal was broken. It was great. I felt great. And everything seemed right in the world. Except for the fact that I’m a bit out of shape…but not for long.
When I was in college, I dated a guy that had come up with a philosophy about marriage. It was that in life all of us will have two spouses: the first gets us to where we want to be in life and the second helps us enjoy it. In essence, he believed that we would all be divorced at least once. He also believed that waiting until you were 30 to get married negated this theory and that was his intention. As a co-ed I was miffed that these suggestions. As an adult, I believe them to be true. Here’s why.
Besides my own experience, I have numerous friends who married in their 20s only to grow up and away from their spouse. Upon divorcing, they met people who completed the person they had become. And in most cases, they are truly happy now. Their first spouse allowed them to reach the heights and the goals they wanted to, usually professionally, but somewhere in the journey they lost track of them being a couple. And here is my Carrie Bradshaw moment: In our 20s, do we choose a spouse that can help us get what we want? I like to think not. Especially since I also know couples who married in their early 20s who are still together.
But the couples that I know who were smart and waited to marry until after they were 30, after they knew who they were, or after they had achieved some sort of financial individuality, those are the ones who appear to appreciate each other and their lives together. This included that ex-boyfriend.
Through my eyes, either way you could end up with the happily ever after and isn’t that what we all want?
Maybe it was when my dental hygienist commented on how people at her 10-year high school reunion were (in a whispered tone) divorced. Or, maybe it was when my mother was digging for information about whether one of my old classmates was divorced (My response: I didn’t ask, I don’t care, Does it matter?) Or, maybe it is because my Yahoo news page had this headline, “Movement Underway in California to Ban Divorce,” that I feel compelled to be thankful that there is a way to dissolve a marriage that isn’t working. [Note: I’d like to preface this post with the statement that I am very happy in my marriage so this post isn’t a reflection on my current state of affairs, but more my past and how divorce allowed me to be in my happy place now.]
My parents divorced when I wasn’t even 10 years old. I can remember them screaming at each other; I don’t know what about, but I do know that under separate roofs they were able to be friendly—even if it was just for my sake. When my father was in the hospital before he died, my mom was there visiting him often. He often told me that she was his best friend. Most of my junior high school classmates had divorced parents and their parents’ relationship post-divorce was not as warm and fuzzy as mine. I can’t imagine what life was like when their moms and dads were married.
My own story: I married young and somewhat impulsively for me. My ex is a great guy but the longer we stayed together the more we grew apart. Eventually, my discontent started to affect my health. (You can read all the sordid details of my first marriage’s demise here.) Deciding to get divorce was the hardest decision I ever made. Even when I knew that I couldn’t go on I had a hard time filing the papers. I don’t think anyone takes the decision to end a marriage lightly.
In the above news item, the gentleman spear heading this movement says that the ban is to protect the institution of marriage. Well, as I see it, such a ban will make the institution a prison for some. In my case, I would have probably ended up having a stroke with the amount of migraines I was experiencing. For others, living with an infidel or an abuser will be a painful reality.
No one enters into marriage thinking that they are going to get a divorce, but sometimes it is nice to have an escape clause. I’m glad I did.