This week you see me continue to struggle with the concept of marriage again. I was engaged and married by 24, divorced by 27, engaged again, then lost Jeff to cancer all by my early 30s. Compared to most, I have been through more struggles by age 31 than most ever have to face in a lifetime.
Let me make sure I am clear about something, because I think I'm getting misunderstood a little on this subject. I am not against marriage at all! I believe in marriage, and I think it works well for a lot of couples. I just don't know if it is for me at this point anymore. I have always been an over achiever my whole life. My parents raised me in a very strict Christian household with lots of expectations, and we were all pushed to be the best we could be at everything we did in life, including marriage. When I failed at that, it really hit me hard. I don't like to fail at anything, let alone something as important as marriage was to me. I believed I would be married for life, not for only two years. I was left with only a lot of heartache and questions. I decided to get back in the saddle with Jeff, and that ended in tragedy as well. My happily ever after didn't happen the way I imagined it would, and so I think it's normal to be a little gun shy. This is part of the reason I really want to take my time before I marry again, if ever.
My parents have been married for forty years, so I had two of the best role models. I think more than anything I was afraid of letting them down when I realized I wasn't happy and needed to get out of my marriage. However I did what was best for me, not for my parents, not for society, not because we spent a lot of money on a wedding. I did it for the right reasons. I do not regret that one bit. All these relationships and trials in my life have been stepping stones to the person I am today. Here is one thing I know for sure, just because society says it's the right way to live, doesn't mean its right for you. Only you know what's right for you, and no one can rob you of that happiness but yourself.
I have chosen my own happiness by being content in love. Slade reminds me so much of Jeff and all the qualities I loved so much about him. He is so encouraging, loving, caring, kind-hearted, unselfish, and everything I didn't even know I needed in my life. Words can never explain the amount of love him and I share. The show sometimes only highlights the bickering or the hot spots between us, but we have so much respect, admiration, and love between us that sometimes we say, "We wonder if everyone else knows what this feels like," as if we have some secret formula that no one has ever been able to feel in a relationship. If you haven't ever felt this way before, you're not in the right relationship, and you're missing out on something amazing.
The experiences in our lives change our opinions on things, and marriage has been one of those things for me. I have seen so many marriages and couples break up. I have seen so many kids, families, and people hurt by divorce. I don't want to ever be complacent or take for granted what I have with someone and feel that I have to stay only because we are married. I want to love him and have him love me because we want too, not because we have too (for the kids, for society, for our church etc). Life is too short not to be happy. Some would argue that two people choosing to stay together forever and never marrying speaks volumes as to why they are together. I know not everyone will agree, and that is OK. I can only speak what my current truth is, which is that I am content being in love and don't feel the need to be married to justify that love.