Some may wonder why a divorcee – let alone one who claims to have been so hurt in her former marriage – would ever want to get remarried.
Is it because I’m a glutton for punishment?
Forgetful of what I’ve left behind?
A hopeless romantic?
A believer in fairytales, in happily-ever-afters?
Because I think I deserve it?
Because I’m a fool?
No, none of that.
It’s in part because of this:
“It is risky to give yourself to another. There are no guarantees, and there are lots of ways for it to fall apart and break your heart. But the upside is infinite. There is a mysterious, indescribable, complex exchange that can happen in the space between you, filling you with joy, confirming your intuition that marriage is not only good for you, but good for the world. Marriage has the uniquely powerful capacity to transform you both into more loving and generous and courageous and compassionate people.” –Rob & Kristen Bell, The Zimzum of Love
I believe this with my whole heart. I believe that marriage is a gift. That what I experienced the first time was not what I was meant to experience, that what I experienced was the exception and not the rule. That marriage truly was meant by God to be gorgeous. That it, when working well, is light in a world that desperately needs light.
And though Tall-Shadow and I are not a perfect couple, and though he and I are both human and both sinners, and though we both bring with us baggage and marriages that we could not keep together, there is something between us that is a mystery to me…an ease, a security, a peace…something that I have never experienced before.
Let me tell you a story.
We were in Home Depot – this was around date five or six, tops – and he was helping me choose a new ladder. (I have crazy high ceilings and he thought it might be a good idea that I not, hypothetically, have to call the fire department or have him put a small ladder on top of my kitchen table anymore when the smoke alarm batteries needed changing…again, hypothetically.) So we’re in the ladder aisle. And you know those moments in life when you’re just living your really basic life doing really human things, like walking your dog or cooking dinner, and then something shifts in your heart in a split second and you’re overwhelmed…with beauty or by grace or with gratitude for whatever is right there in front of you? So, the ladder aisle. One minute, we’re talking about ladder height and ladder color, and then I stop walking. And I’m looking at this man and tears fill my eyes. And something enters my mind inappropriately soon – date five or six, remember? – and he notices I’m not standing right next to him anymore, and turns to me and sees the tears and he starts walking back and says, “What’s up?” And then that thing that I was thinking, well, I go and say it inappropriately soon (I’m pretty sure “inappropriately soon” is my middle name), and I look right at him and say, “You’re just going to take care of me for the rest of my life, aren’t you?” And he walks right up next to me, and looks down at me and straight into my eyes, and without skipping a beat, without having to think, he says, “Yes, I am.”
And it’s been like that every day since that day. That unflinching steadiness, that someone’s-got-me, that comfort.
And I know we’re both ready – as ready as we can be – for three very important reasons:
One, we did not date each other too soon. We did not start dating before we were divorced, before ample time went by post-divorce.
Two, we both have owned our stuff. We both can list off what we did wrong in our first marriages, and we do not treat each other the way we treated our former spouses and our former marriages. We have been super honest from the start.
And three, our counselor – who we started seeing for pre-marital work at month two (bless Tall-Shadow’s heart for going along with that), who has seen us admit our flaws and seen us work through some hard things, who was the counselor who ushered me through my fifteen-month church-led reconciliation attempt, a man I greatly admire and respect – is the man who is marrying us, the ultimate stamp of approval in my mind.
In our kindness to each other, in the fun that we have, in our tender words and our figuring-things-out words, at church, playing golf, driving down back country roads singing to the radio, talking about our kids, talking about our work, painting the deck (okay, him painting the deck, me bringing him sweet tea), sitting close on the couch, when there are tears, when we don’t understand where the other person is coming from but we’re trying…in all of that, I have found something worth fighting for, something worth committing to, something I intend to be grateful for every day for the rest of my life.
I’m scared, I’ve already admitted that. But it’s the good kind of scared. It’s the kind that makes me want to move closer to him and not away.
And I cannot wait to marry this man, no matter what may come.
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