Tuesday, November 13, 2012

17 days in arrears

I have been intrigued by the blogosphere conversation the last few days around marriage and relationships. Entering into my second marriage after a very painful divorce two years ago obviously puts my brain in a different place than many of my friends, and at the same time allows me the opportunity to analyze man and woman in a different perspective than I ever thought I would. In a million years I never thought I'd be a divorced man, and part of that mindset was at the root of my laziness and my lack of committing wholly to my marriage with Ell. In my naive mind as a twenty year old, I thought I was supposed to get married and that that marriage would just last forever. I was pushed into it and was too immature to know what I should have been looking for. I just wasn't ready for it, and frankly, wasn't man enough to be a good husband.

As I've mentioned before, there were eleven weddings the summer Ell and I got married (thirteen in six months), so there were a lot of couples all starting down life's road together that year. We all grew into our marriages, into our families, into our adult lives, all at the same time. But despite the timing, that's where the commonality ended. Some started having kids, some went back to school, some moved in with their parents, some bought and sold houses, some stayed in the area, some moved away, and yes, some got divorced. It was an interesting time.

Thirteen years later found me alone; in body and mind. I'm not going to go back into all that ugliness, but I will say, looking at new love in my mid-thirties was much different than it was at twenty years old. Which brings me to Adrienne's questions...

Do you believe in 'a soulmate'? 
At first glance, I would say no. And then I met Alli. There have been many things in my life where I knew God's hand was at work in my life, and that has shown itself over and over in my growing relationship with Alli. I often use the joke, "Where have you been my whole life?" in regards to why I couldn't have found her sooner, and her answer is usually something like, "In kindergarten." LOL!!! But then as we retrace the steps of our lives, we keep coming up with multiple instances where our paths probably crossed, which always awes us. And then the other night she shared a story she'd never told me before. We were at the bank shortly after we met where, as usual, I was goofing off. I took her arm in my hand pretending to do a tattoo. In that moment where my hand rubbed her arm, she felt a shiver course through her body. Then she felt herself warm at the feeling of our skin touching, and as that warming came over her entire body, time slowed down. She admitted to me as she told me the story, that the only other time she'd felt that kind of intensity was as she came out of the water after being baptized. Her baptism was a rebirth for her and in that moment she knew God had a plan for her life. In the same way, as time slowed for her with my hand on her arm, she knew her life was going to be changed forever. Do I now believe in soulmates? I'm not sure, but knowing God blesses a union speaks volumes and then leads into the next question.

Do you think marriage should be work? 
Absolutely. In reference to the last question, even if God makes a man and woman specifically for one another, thinking that gives you a free pass is like lighting a fire on the floor of your living room instead of in the fireplace just because it's closer to the couch where you need the heat the most. You have to put effort into what God has granted you to make it work. Which reminds me of something my Dad used to say: "Moses had to get his feet wet before the waters parted." When you make effort, you are rewarded for that effort.

If so, do you believe social media makes it difficult for everyday people to make marriage last because it isn't always fairytale?
Interesting question. When Ell got bored/frustrated with me and our marriage, she found release and escape on social media. She met her guy there, and there started her journey to infidelity. But I don't see that being the only problem. As stated in your blog, Adrienne, movies, television, etc., also portray this larger-than-life hormonal intensity that is wholly unattainable. Those images are made to tug at heart strings and make the viewer want an always-heightened sense of love, which, of course is unrealistic at the end of a hard work-week, with sick kids, behind dirty dishes and clothes, and under the weight of bills and debt. Do we all want gushing happiness all the time? Of course we do. The only problem with that desire is when we can't see the forest for the trees. And that's when people go looking for it elsewhere. Sure, social media makes it easier to go searching, but people have been cheating as long as there have been people. I guess to answer the question directly, I don't believe social media makes anything harder than what was already a slippery slope.

That was a long post. I think there is still a lot to think and talk about on this subject.


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