The Divorce I Didn’t Know I Wanted
The ‘Unusual’ Usual
Calmly I sat down across from my husband. About every six months it came to this, a heated argument over resentments and slights. It always ended with me staying with my parents for a few days while Brandon wooed me back. It was a week before our 4th Wedding Anniversary, I was determined to stay and make it work this time. Yet, between arguing about his (lack of) time home and my spending habits “I want a divorce.” The statement pierced the air like a cannon. Ok, I thought, that was a female voice so it came from me. Did I say that out loud? One look at Brandon and I knew I had. I opened my mouth to explain the slip and make it disappear. I promptly shut it before any words could get out. There was lightness in my bones, clarity came to mind and I felt free. I stood up and went to pack an overnight bag; I would stay with a girlfriend that night. Of course, Brandon was peppering the air with questions and anger. I promised I could give him answers later, there was no way I could tell him, “Oh the thought just popped into my head and nothing has ever felt so right. “
I haven’t want what I haven’t got
The next day I was across the book cramped office of the only attorney I knew. To me, this would be a simple divorce: no children, no argument over splitting assets, it would be simple. My attorney was not used to simple and was having a hard time with it. On more than one occasion he would stare at me, not sure I understood what I was waiving away. “You are entitled to half of his retirement account. He funded that with money he earned during the marriage.” He continued, “On to the family farm operation, you would have a stake in that.”
“No” I replied, “Brandon isn’t really involved with the farming operation himself. That is something his grandfather built from the ground up. I’ve never broken a sweat for the farm.” This was all very frustrating for my attorney. I had stayed way too long in that relationship. I was willing to walk out with the shirt on my back simply to have the decree quickly. I didn’t want revenge or money. What I wanted was impossible, to have my slate wiped clean as if the marriage never happened at all.
One of the most affirming events occurred breaking the news to my mother. On my lunch hour, from the safety of my car in a city park, I punched in her number. “Brandon and I are getting a divorce.” I licked my lips, too nervous to embellish. “Oh now” she attempted to comfort, “You guys always do this. Give it a few days and you’ll be fine.”
I sat in silent frustration looking at trees through my streaked windshield. I had found my answer. I knew why that fateful utterance felt so right and I refused to look back. “Exactly, Mom! Exactly! That is not a marriage! Every 6 months this happens. Every six months! I believe in marriage and what Brandon and I are doing looks nothing like it!”
I may not know what ‘it’ is, but it isn’t this
I realized I was getting a divorce not because I didn’t value marriage, but because I believed in it. I was tired of being someone for my husband to hang out with when he had nothing better to do or, even more likely, the weather cancelled his outdoor plans. Marriage is not to be 4 years of struggle, trying to confine you into ‘marriage parameters’. Though Brandon’s ego had taken a hit I knew this decision was best for both of us. For upset as he was, Brandon’s heart healed quickly. He remarried, became a stepfather, and had a baby on the way within 6 months of the accidental wonderful slip. Friends worried the pace of such events would crush me. There were wrong. If my mother’s phone call was an affirming moment, than this was the most affirming moment. When you realize you are so quickly replaceable to someone you shared your life with, you don’t regret not staying longer. Why we had gotten married at all would take years of reflection to answer. At that time I was simply content to give my instincts more credit. My instinct saved me, like an answer to a prayer I didn’t know I had asked.