It’s been months since I heard from him, and he caught me off guard. You would think communicating with him after being divorced for a year wouldn’t affect me. Yet, it does. Apparently, I still harbor a bit of bitterness and resentment around our 21-year relationship.
Yet, this is good information to have, as without awareness, you cannot achieve clarity. That said, it was also unwelcome – a door I thought I’d closed, re-opening to reveal there are still skeletons in my closet.
As I read this text from my ex, my man watched from across the room. I’m sure he could see the emotions written on my face. When I told him what happened, he made a scissors motion with his fingers – a symbol for cutting yet another tie that binds me to my ex. I know he’s right – he has the most amazing insights. And I don’t mind cutting these remaining ties – I much prefer it to keeping them. My frustration comes in realizing I have them in the first place. A year after my divorce, I want to be done. I thought I was. Each time I find out differently, it sets me back a bit. Makes me re-examine where I am and who I’ve become. The good news is that I am where I should be and I love who I’ve become. I am happier now than I’ve been in a long time – maybe ever.
I know that behind me are a lot of doors – some are still open, some are closed, and some are nailed tight and boarded up. But whenever I am faced with a door – old or new, welcome or unwelcome – it’s because the Universe thinks I would benefit from examining this door.
So why the door to my marriage? Why now? Two reasons come to mind: 1) I’ve been doing a lot of clearing around some old wounds concerning my ex and my healer warned me he might reappear in my life. 2) I’m in a place in my life where I am examining the construct of marriage – the “ties that bind” metaphorically speaking.
My therapist asked me last week whether Rio and I had talked about marriage. We have – in some distant, future, abstract kind of way. The thought of remarriage both excites and terrifies me. At this point, the latter certainly wins out over the former.
After my divorce, I swore I’d never marry again. (Don’t you love how the Universe pushes all of your buttons? Make a declaration and sooner or later, you’ll be tested on how serious you were when you said it!) Marriage is a big deal to me – til death do you part and all that. When I married my ex, I never dreamed of a time that we wouldn’t be together. When I got divorced – even though I knew in my heart it was for the best – it still felt like failure, a betrayal of the vows I took before friends, family, and God/dess. So the thought of committing myself for all time – especially knowing firsthand the possibility of broken vows again – frightens me. Yes, it’s a distant possibility – that’s a bridge to be crossed when, and if, we get there – but the fact that it’s been a frequent topic of conversation with my friends and counselor of late makes me wonder all the same.
This begs the question: What is marriage? My rather jaded post-divorce answer is that marriage is a piece of paper that legally binds two people together and carries social, legal, and – in some groups – religious implications. There are certainly legal perks to that little piece of paper – tax benefits and health insurance coverage by your spouse, to name a few. There are social perks as well, which I didn’t even know existed until I was no longer married and became a bit of a pariah to my still-married friends.
But it’s more than that. It’s a commitment to stick together, to support each other, to love and honor and respect one another no matter what. Disagreements should not get in the way, nor should family, friends, work, children, or any host of other obligations, duties, and responsibilities. This is where my former marriage failed – everything got in the way: his family of origin, my work, our separate lives. Until there was no honor, no respect, no support, no love left. Only duty, obligation, and responsibility to each other remained. For me, that simply wasn’t enough.
So what is marriage? According to dictionary.com, marriage is: “any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities.” I still think that greatly simplifies the issue. Yes, it is an interpersonal union – in fact, that’s a beautiful way to describe it. But I think it transcends ‘familial bonds’ and ‘mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities.’ It’s an intimate soul connection – or at least it should be. And if there is a ‘this time around,’ I will settle for no less.
In the end, the piece of paper that legally binds two people together really isn’t all that important. What matters to me is that those two people – two hearts, two souls – have consciously come together in interpersonal union. A union that transcends any legal, social, or religious obligation. That’s something I didn’t understand at 18 – when I met my ex – or at 21 – when I married him. Yet, at 40, my views on marriage, vows, ties – and doors – have changed quite a bit.
What door will the Universe provide next for you to examine?