As I write this, today is my wedding anniversary. Well, to be more specific, it is the wedding anniversary of my FIRST marriage.
I never thought I would be the “that” guy who would get divorced; The “usual” reasons for divorce (so I thought at the time) didn’t apply to me. My marital oaths are gospel in my eyes; I work hard, don’t stray, financially astute, no drugs, lightweight drinker, pleasant sense of humor. Now I’m ugly as a dog’s butt, but I figure if I got a girl to accept my marriage proposal, I had to assume looks wouldn’t be high on her priority list.
But somehow, after ten years of marriage, my first wife dumped me. I’m not licking my wounds; it was a long time ago and life goes on. But I took it hard when it happened. It was the first significant failure in my life, and I wasn’t prepared for it.
Looking back on it all, we were never a suitable match. I’ve had plenty of people tell me that over the years. I see it now; she just saw it first and acted upon the knowledge. I can’t blame her for that. And while I use all the standard “ex-wife” jokes, the divorce was amicable. We had no kids, we split the 4 dogs, and since she walked out, I got to keep the house. Hell, we used the same attorney. We handled it like two adults. Except as I look back on it, it may have been the first “adult” thing I had ever done. It occurred to me in a decade of marriage, I hadn’t matured in any appreciable way. I was still the same guy she dated. I wanted everything done my way; I steamrolled over her feelings because she was so passive. I told myself I was being the strong husband she needed. It is amazing to me sometimes the lies we tell ourselves to rationalize our mistakes.
The marriage ended over 20 years ago. This date is one of the few times I even think about it anymore. But when I do, “gratitude” is the word that best describes my feelings. Marriage may not matured me as it should have; divorce definitely did. It forced me to realize I needed to improve in so many areas. I’ve worked hard to shed many unsavory characteristics of my personality. I can’t undo the damage I caused, but I can focus on being a better human being today than yesterday. I recognized I can’t rate myself on a linear scale; the positive aspects of my personality don’t cancel out my faults. There will are always be parts of my personality requiring improvement. It took my first real failure in life to recognize that fact. Improving myself is a work in process; it will always be a work in process. That’s the lesson I learned.
In hindsight, I totally was “that” guy who gets divorced.