Some may say that sitting on the steps to my house with my divorce papers in my hand on the day of my tenth anniversary is cold. Others may say that it was ironic to end my marriage on the same day that it began. All I know was that it was the day when all the pieces of the end of my marriage fell into place. Telling my high school sweetheart and husband of ten years that our marriage was over was possibly the hardest, but the best thing I even did for me, for him and for our family.
We married young, with my engagement being officially announced just days after I turned 18. Needless to say my parents were not thrilled with the announcement and had many concerns about our age, our ability to survive and the fact that I was giving up some, what was at the time, amazing scholarship and college opportunities. But at 18 and 21 you know it all, and you know better than you parents, and you are convinced of your invincibility. I promised I would still go to college. I assured them I was not pregnant. I showed them I had a job. But even with those goals and plans in place, a successful marriage was not in “the cards.”
We had our share of ups and downs, but as the years of our marriage wore us out, we had far more downs than ups. We did have two beautiful children. But we had financials troubles throughout our marriage. Jobs came and went. We got by with a lot of help from our family. I admit that I swallowed my pride and even used county services like health care and WIC when I found myself pregnant without health insurance.
We fought all the time. Everything was a battle, from how to raise and discipline our kids to which church to attend. The frequency and the viciousness of our battles increased. The whole family lived in fear and “tip-toed” around every topic and every action, constantly worried about what we would encounter next in our relationships. Police were called. Parents were consulted. Counseling was attempted, by at least one of us, but I soon came to realize that sometimes if you can’t make it right, you may need to take flight. It was time to take flight, because nothing I could do or say would ever make it right. Though cliché, we had truly grown up into two entirely different people with nothing in common and no middle ground to even stand on.
I walked into the room where he was on the computer and handed him the papers. “What’s this?” “Divorce papers. I want a divorce,” I replied. The recriminations began. The yelling the screaming, the blame all heaped upon me as I truly tried to make things right and make a better life for me, for him and for our children. Months passed and finally the marriage ended in divorce court.
A marriage may end, but for some the troubles don’t end there. We have suffered our share of fights, disagreements and yes, at times, hatred. A divorce was not a magic wand. We fought over custody, visitation, child support. You name it and we could and would still fight over it. Our children continued to experience the pains of divorced parents, but my oldest as shared that it is really nothing compared to having two parents that can’t live together in harmony. Yes, the children were pulled in different directions but I think we both become better people for the divorce. He quickly found someone that he has been happily married to for many years. They have more children. I was able to finish school and have a terrific job for many years, exploring all the things I wanted to and sharing them with my children as I did. I met a wonderful man and we have now been married almost two years and have two more children.
A divorce doesn’t solve all your problems. But in our case it became the catalyst that allowed us to become the people we really should be, caring parents and happy in our relationships with others. I have been able to become the sort of person I always hoped and wanted to be both as a parent, a wife and a person. It wasn’t easy to get here, but it was definitely worth the journey.
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