Let’s just get this out of the way…
Yes, I’ve been married twice already and I just signed up for a third and final go round. And yes, I’m expecting this to be my final marriage. Yes, I did just say that after failing twice before. And yes, I do have reasons for feeling that this time is different than the first two.
When I married Thing 1, I was an up-and-coming executive at my company. I had just been promoted to President of our Indiana subsidiary…one of two show horse offices in the corporate stable. I was stepping into big shoes with even bigger expectations. I was 30 and looked 25. I was probably a little hipper than most expected for someone with my level of responsibility. Despite how I looked, I knew how to run the business better than most.
I distinctly remember the day I realized I’d be taken more seriously if I was married. It was one of those check boxes…one of those conversation points…that seemed to be the underpinning of adulthood. “What did you and your husband do this weekend?” sounded much better than “What did you and your boyfriend do?” It sounded stable…mature…grounded. And Thing 1 was great husband material on paper. He had the connections…brains…looks…polish. I think we both entered the relationship sizing up the arm candy the other brought to the table. And we had a lot of fun, until we didn’t….correction, until I didn’t.
When the stress of the job and the stress of the relationship became too much, all I could see were the reasons I married…and love was farther down the list than it should have been. I loved Thing 1 but I didn’t see us growing together. He didn’t ground me, he spun me up. It wasn’t his fault…it just wasn’t what I ultimately needed. Unfortunately at that point in my life, I had no idea what I needed.
As a result, I moved onto Thing 2. He was younger…and there was less pressure to be “President of blah blah blah”. The need to have a husband to build credibility was gone. I had built my reputation as a strong business woman and had years of producing to prove it. So Thing 2 and I dated for nearly six years. I had no intention of remarrying. In hindsight, this should have been an indicator of where my heart really was but after so long I figured I might as well give in. It was important to him. The fact that it wasn’t important to me…ummmmm, I know…I know…
With both those relationships I barely knew who I was…so committing myself to someone was doomed to fail. But now, I’ve spent years digging in and letting go. Of uncovering the real me and ridding myself of the imposed expectations. I stepped fully into myself earlier this year with a heartfelt desire to find a life long partner. Someone that I felt I could grow with. Someone that would push me to be my best self…and embrace me pushing them. Someone that I felt safe with…could lean into…could trust to love me with all my quirks.
Rather than stumbling into relationships — liked I’d done my entire life — I set the intention to find a man with specific qualities and characteristics. I set the intention to date until I found this man…because I didn’t need him…I wanted him. And I was prepared to wait until I found him.
I never thought I’d find him so quickly…but I’m glad I did. At 41, I know what I want and he knows what he wants…and neither of us feels a need to wait it out to be sure. We know ourselves and we’re sure now. We aren’t lost in a daydream. There have been plenty of long talks…discussions…debates…arguments…to get to where we are today. Each progressed us forward and confirmed that this is a relationship that will allow us to grow together…and that’s the point.
So, I’m going into this marriage…my third and his second…with a man I’ve affectionately named Mr. Universe. Both with the intention that this will be our last marriage. As Mrs. Neighbor says, “Marriage is the most optimistic thing two people can do.” And for the first time ever I feel incredibly optimistic. 🙂