Yes, I'm Married, But For How Long?

Photo by Zoriana Stakhniv on Unsplash

I love being married. I love the feeling of knowing I belong to someone, love having a “built-in support system”, and an eternal date. Having said that, I never aspired to be married. Let me flesh that out a little bit. I always looked at marriage as a means to an end. Because of my personal beliefs, and the desire to have children, I looked at marriage as the only way to obtain these. It was a “necessary evil.” So my thought always was, I’d get married, have my children, enjoy the benefits of “companionship”, get divorced, and go about my way. So, to clarify, I was in love with the idea of being married, and the fruits that it may bring, but I never thought it was the end-all for me. Some may blame this on the fact that I’ve watched my parents go thru two divorces, they married each other twice and divorced each other twice. Or perhaps, the fact that I didn’t exactly grow up with what you may think was your typical “nuclear” family. No family vacations, Sunday night dinners, or family game night for me. But I don’t. I firmly believe that while your childhood and upbringing play a significant part in the person you are today, it doesn’t and shouldn’t define you. You are your own person, and shouldn’t be limited or confined to the boundaries of your childhood. Who I was at 11 years old, is not who I am now, at 33.

Having said that. I am on my second marriage. I married a man just like my father, the only difference is, I didn’t marry him again. And my child was born before I was married. However, she was the reason I decided to marry my first husband. The sole reason. That marriage should not have happened. I was young, still caught up in my marriage and children fantasy, and inexperienced as hell. All that talk about my firm beliefs that my childhood doesn’t define me, was non-existent at 21. Those beliefs have drifted their ways into my conscience-ness through life experiences, and hard lessons, my first marriage being one of them. Not to bore you with too many of the specifics, but my first husband, like my father, was irresponsible, not ready for the commitment and responsibility of a family, but wanted one, and had a substance abuse problem. JUST like my father. I totally and completely see the irony in the above paragraph. One of the hard lessons, I mentioned before.

So, four years into my marriage, a divorce comes. I take out my frustration and anger on every able-bodied male I come into contact with. Telling myself that hooking up with over twenty guys in a ten-month timeframe, sometimes sleeping with them and never answering calls again, or pretending to like them as much as they liked me, only to not answer any of their calls, or starting a relationship with one, and breaking up with them when the one I wanted came along, with no notice, no warning, nothing, was about me taking my power back. It was about me embracing my “womanhood”, being “empowered, enlightened, and progressive.” Or whatever other adjectives one would use to cover up what was really going on. I was being an asshole. Plain and simple. No other explanation, no other way to describe it. I recognized this, and that “one I really wanted”, when he came along? We got married.

And this time I was going to do it right. I was going to be submissive. Communicative. We were going to talk our problems out, I was going to get my anger in check. No arguments, no throwing things, no trips to police stations in the middle of the night, no this was going to be perfect. Except there is no such thing. AT ALL. My second husband absolutely adores me. Would do anything I asked, whenever I asked, however, I asked. He is gainfully employed. Does not do any type of drugs or smoke, and we now have two children, who were born after my marriage. The way it was supposed to be right? Perfect. Except it isn’t. AT ALL. Yes, he would do anything for me. But that’s often at the expense of my voice.

Explanation. The refrigerator. We had a refrigerator that was about thirteen years old. Ran perfectly fine, but we wanted to be proactive and purchase a new one. We agreed, that we would wait until the new year when my husband got his next bonus, to just buy the frig outright. No credit, no payment plans, outright. In large part because the frig we had was fine. We had the discussion, weighed the pros and cons, and decided. At least I thought we did. Apparently, the whole time I was saying, let’s be sensible, we don’t need to run up our credit, the refrigerator we have is fine, we can be patient, my husband was nodding his head and thinking: “I know she’s saying wait, but what she really means is go to the store and spend almost $3,000.00 on a refrigerator.” And because clearly, that’s what I was saying, that’s what he did. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it was a refrigerator, yes he charged it, but you can just pay it off with the bonus, right? Not a big deal. Except it is. The things that seem trivial, and inconsequential, usually are hiding a bigger issue. He didn’t listen. Which, admittedly in a marriage is going to happen. I could care less about the sport of Nascar, but my husband loves it, so I “listen” to him rant and rave about it. I dig it. The bigger issue here is he made me feel as if we were making a decision together, and did what he wanted anyway. He completely took me out of the equation. He disregarded me, my feelings, emotions, or thoughts. What’s worse, is in his agreeing that waiting was the right thing, but instead deciding to do what he wanted to, he hurt me even more. I would have felt better if he had just been upfront with me and said I don’t want to do that, I want to do this. Honesty is a big thing for me, and respect is even bigger. I would have respected that, and him.

He does this and things like it all the time. While the world, sees the husband who would bend over backward for me, I see the husband who completely and totally disregards me, my opinion, and my emotions. But this is my second marriage. It was supposed to be the perfect one. I finally have a man who is willing to do whatever for me. Except it’s not whatever for me, it’s about him. Always. We’ve been married five years, this October. A year longer than my first marriage. I have prided myself on that. Do I really want to be a twice divorcee? We have children together, and my daughter from my first marriage adores him. Completely. But, if there is anything I have learned from my first marriage, is to value myself. I have worth. And there are just somethings I should not put up with. Yes, I’m married, with three children. But not happily. How long should I continue to accept that? 21 years old, is different from 33. And three kids is two more than one. There are mortgages to consider, car payments, joint accounts, school, health insurance, custody, practices, real-life things to consider now. Is blowing it all up, worth my "self-worth?" Taking two of my children away from the only home they have ever known, worth my sanity? What about theirs? Are five years too short to make a decision? I wish I had the answer, but I truly do not know. I just don't. We will see where that gets me.