Thursday, September 15, 2011

Smoothing out the road ahead

Once upon a time, on a chilly day in April, a husband said to his wife of four years, "I think we should date other people."  The wife stammered out a shocked "Um, we're married.  What do you mean?"  And as it turns out, he meant that he had already found someone and would move in with her shortly after that conversation.   And she laughs now, because it's a funny line. "Hey, I know we're married, but I think we should date other people." 

But at the time, it wasn't funny... and she could have broken down, given up on love, and gone the road of the bitter divorcee. She didn't want to be the bitter divorcee.  Instead, she worked out.  A lot.  She ordered a bunch of pretty little things from Victoria's Secret (if that doesn't signal hope for new love, what does?).  She went to Bermuda for a fantastic girls' weekend at the invitation of a generous cousin and got her groove back.  She dated a few men that were several years younger - and older - than she was.  And she created a mantra:  "I am beautiful.  I am successful.  I am strong." She repeated this to herself through the darkest days, when she would beg God to please speed up time to the recovery phase.  She whispered it lying in bed at night, missing a warm body next to her, even knowing that she would not have that life back... in fact, didn't want that life back.

A good friend of hers gave her a piece of advice: write down what it is you want from a partner and memorize it.  This is your chance to learn and start over.  Not wanting to repeat her mistakes, she took the advice and wrote this:
It would make me so happy to have a man in my life who made me feel loved.  I want a man whose eyes light up when I walk in the room.  A man who thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world.  Who never says "Shut the f up" or "you're a piece of..." or "don't be so stupid".  A man who wants to bring me breakfast in bed sometimes, and surprises me with a weekend trip, and thinks I'm funny. A man who listens to my hopes and dreams and wants to help me get there.  Who will always love me, even fat and pregnant someday.  Who would cherish me.  Even when I'm cranky. 

She reflected upon the experience with her soon-to-be-ex-husband, whom she now calls Voldemort after a childhood friend suggested it, giggling over margaritas.  She had her own personal Rihanna/ Chris Brown incident with him even before they got married, and she kept him, even with a sprained neck.  She got used to him telling her that she was not pretty, that she was not really his type, that he was going to walk out the door any second.  She remembered the nights of too much drama.  Way too much drama in her life, and she was ashamed.  And when he came back, six months later - two weeks before the divorce was final - asking for her to take him back, she was strong, because she knew she wanted and deserved better.  She said no.

When she met a man later that summer and started dating him, she thought, "He's really not my type. I'm not sure if this is going to go anywhere." But then she started thinking about what she had written.  One night on one of their marathon conversations, she told him what she had written, and he said to her, "You're beautiful," right in the middle of her description.  "Why did you say that, just now?" she asked.  "Because you said that you wanted someone who thinks you're the most beautiful woman in the world.  I want to apply for the job."

We've been married for nearly five years now.  He still tells me I'm beautiful.  And now I have someone who makes me believe.

Are you strong enough to get to the other side?  Yes, you are.  Once you get there, you'll find the road ahead is so much smoother because of the broken road you've tread along the way.

2 comments:

  1. I could just punch Voldemort in the nose. But in the same breath, I could give Will a big hug for being "the right guy for the job." How sweet! BTW, I'm glad you "hired him!"

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  2. I needed this today. Thank you.

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