Nicole and I spent a lot of time over the weekend talking about the internet explosion over marriage. Who is it for? You, your spouse… hypothetical children… families…. cats, dogs, fish, reptiallian friends? The debate goes on, and as Nicole brought up, it’s a good thing. Open and honest conversation leads to progress.
So let me give you some context on my views on marriage. I was married at 20- a young military wife, working hard to finish school, I was pregnant by my final semester (pro tip- never combine a thesis, finals, and morning sickness), and we headed out to California soon after the Geekling popped her head in to the world. While my friends always teased me about being the “therapist” in the group and that I was always going on middle age, we were young. Mistakes were made and this is neither the time nor the place to talk about them. I was divorced by 23, piecing my life back together and wondering how to move forward. What had I learned- how would I not repeat my mistakes?
What I do know is this- I learned more about marriage from my divorce than from my marriage.
I learned humility. There was a moment when we decided to get married before graduation, throwing away our plan of a long engagement. The announcement was the beginning of a long battle with my parents, the beginning of which included me storming out telling them that I wasn’t asking their permission, I was just letting them know it was going to happen. They gave me every path out and I refused every one. This marriage was about me and him and no one else mattered. We were selfish and shortsighted and just downright dumb due to a lack of life experience. And you know what? I was wrong. (You might want to screenshot that, Mom.) Yep- I was wrong. I screwed up. A marriage is about two people who are surrounded by friends and family, who are surrounded by their families, and so on and so forth. Every relationship affects the other- no matter how many times I told myself no one else matter, I knew it wasn’t true. It takes a village to raise a marriage.
I learned strength. And I learned that strength not only comes from within, but from without. No matter how strong and determined I was, I never would have made it without the support of my friends and family. My parents took me and the geekling in and my friends brought me beer and ice cream and the classifieds. They provided hugs and love and the kick in the ass I needed to get back on my feet. I found a job and an apartment and began to build a life that one day I hope the Geeklig is proud of. I sure am.
And in that strength and humility, I learned what love is. Not the puppy dog, rollercoaster, crazy “love” that lead me to believe I was a reincarnation of Topanga Lawrence. Real love. Unselfish love. And not a parent’s love for their child- I knew the moment the Geekling peed on me (Yep- first thing she ever did. That’s a graduation story I’m holding on to) that I was done for. I would movemountatins for that kid. The love I’m talking about is real, undivided love between two people, be it a husband and a wife, girlfriends, boyfriends, whatever label you put on it. Love where you know that no matter how much that person pisses you off, you want them to be the last thing you see at night and the first in the morning. Where I know, beyond a doubt, that he makes me a better person and I make him better too.
I learned that I am the rule, not the exception. I am not the magic asterisk, the special case where everything works out 1% of the time. I am the rule. But I am working my ass off to be the exception. For the Fiance. For the Geekling. And for myself.