Come along for this fantasy, if you will…
I’m walking along a desolate beach. The sun is rising out of the sea and the sky is ablaze with breathtaking hues of yellow and red. Light dances on the water as the waves lap at my bare feet. A few paces ahead, I see something sticking out of the sand. As I approach, I recognize a handle, which I grasp and pull a gorgeous gold lamp from the sandy shore.
I brush away the granules and the lamp shutters to life in my hands. Smoke emanates from the object, and I wave a palm in front of my face in an attempt to see clearly. When the smoke clears, a genie stands before me.
“Who the hell are you?” I ask.
The genie explains the deal: If I choose, he’ll remove my marriage from the timeline of my life.
Hmmm… knowing what I know now, was my marriage worth it?
When I consider this question, there are conflicting voices in my brain. Honestly, my marriage would be so easy to take back…
We were childhood enemies. In fourth grade, my ex-husband sat behind me in class and pulled my hair on a regular basis. As a twenty-something, I never should’ve given him a second glance.
We are different people. At the core of our beings, we are precise opposites. We have differing opinions on politics and religion. We have different goals for ourselves and hold many conflicting values.
We had unknown expectations of marriage. Before the ceremony, we didn’t discuss the ways in which we did/didn’t anticipate our relationship would change. Turns out, we should’ve because we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of money and drama by calling it quits sooner.
We argued. A lot. Considering the above, this probably goes without saying.
We weren’t married long, and we didn’t have children. If I erased my marriage, I wouldn’t lose much time. And I wouldn’t have to erase any small people from my life.
I didn’t take much in the divorce. There was no huge settlement that left me with massive financial gains. Not that I care that much anyway, but I wouldn’t be setting myself back if I removed the marriage and divorce from my history.
I’m much happier now. In some ways my marriage was a prison, and now I’m free.
And yet, while those are compelling reasons to take back my marriage, I wouldn’t do it because…
I learned the importance of serious discussions prior to accepting a pretty ring. Without the wisdom gained from my experience, I’d surely make a similar mistake at some point with someone else.
There were good times. Of course, my marriage wasn’t all bad. We made a lot of happy memories and shared special inside jokes. We supported each other through several life events. And in a way, we still do.
I grew stronger through the divorce. The process forced me to separate from my emotions in order to manage the logistics of the situation. I learned a lot about conflict, communication and boundaries.
I found my passion. My divorce ignited my awareness of divorce in our culture. The experience sent me searching for answers to all kinds of questions about why divorce makes people crazy and how to cope. Through my research, I realized a deep desire within me to help others on a similar journey. I’m now a passionate author, speaker and coach, devoted to changing cultural views and inspiring a healthier and more productive approach to the divorce process.
In short: I’m happier where I am because of where I’ve been.
Now, back to my fantasy…
“No thanks,” I tell the genie. “I think marriage is a great mistake to make.”
He gives me a shrug of his shoulders before disappearing back into the lamp. I smile at the gold piece in my hands, thank The Universe for the circumstances that brought me to this day, and toss the lamp into the sea.