Well not exactly about my ex, but more about my past marriage and all my fears that were involved with it. Since my divorce, I have noticed a few lady friends that were/are in the same boat I was in and felt the need to help them in some way, but never really knew how. For example, how do you tell someone they are in a bad marriage?
I must first state that I am not an advocate of divorce. However, I am an advocate for happiness, and sometimes that is the result of you finding your happiness.
Not really knowing where to begin, I'll say this, at age 19 I had never really had a boyfriend but knew all I wanted to do in life was be a wife and mother. I didn't even want to pursue a career because I was going to be a wife and mother. And not just any wife and mother, but a damn good wife and mother. So I went to college not for an education, but to find a boyfriend. And I did. I found a very handsome man who was a return missionary and was interested in me. (What else does a naive 19 year old LDS girl want? Right?) It felt amazing to have someone like me. To really like me. And not just the, ya you are awesome can you hook me up with your friend like me, but the I think you are beautiful like me. The I'd like to make-out with you like me. The I want to marry you like me. It was wonderful and exciting and satisfying to have someone genuinely like fat, old, ugly, me. To have someone make me feel pretty, and wanted, and feel like a swan. Unlike every boy before that always made me feel like an ugly duckling.
So what else does a 19 year old naive girl do with that boy? I married him.
There were flags, huge blatant flags that I ignored because I loved him. Huge, bright colored flags dripping with excrement I let fly because I wanted him to love me.
It was as if I let everything that made me, me, shrivel up and die because I wanted him to love me.
I was very defensive and protected him more and more as it was more and more evident to everyone else but me, I was unhappy. It was as if the colors of my spirit went from the bright pinks and greens of spring to the charcoal colors of a bleak January. I was torn. And this tear was sometimes unbearable because I now had three girls with him. The guilt I felt for not being blissfully happy with my marriage weighed on me four fold because it now affected my girls as well. I knew that every choice I made affected the person they would become as an adult, and this frightened me.
I knew deep down I needed to try. I needed to put forth every effort I could to make my marriage work. I didn't want to stand at judgement and have the Lord tell me I didn't do enough to keep my family together. So I kept trying, until one day, I just couldn't any more. After ten years I knew my marriage was over. A part of me welcomed the release and the other part of me still held on for dear life.
Once it was over, I realized I didn't know who I was any more. I literally didn't know my favorite color, what my favorite food was, or even what make-up to wear because I'd changed all of that to try and please him. To try and get him to want me. All those years, all that compromising, all the excuses and trials and pain and yes, even joy, I felt still left me feeling like an ugly duckling.
I felt raw. Like someone had skinned me alive and left me in a cool breeze.
So why bring all this up? Why . . . . pick at old wounds? I say all of this because I know for some, they are very fresh and real wounds to them. I say this so they know, they are not alone. That someone else has gone through it and survived. I have survived. And so will you.
I DO NOT regret my first marriage. I DO NOT hate my ex husband. I DO NOT EVER wish to change my past. My past is what helped create who I am today, and I only ever look back as a motivator to continue forward. I love my ex because he gave me three beautiful girls. I love my divorce because I discovered strength within myself I never knew I had. I love my past marriage because it taught me everything I truly wanted in life. Again I will state, I am not an advocate for divorce. I do not state that it is the answer for all your troubles. But I will say without happiness, you will shrivel up and die inside. It will create an endless ache in your chest that will only pull you in like a black hole each time your heart breaks. The more you put your happiness in the hands of another, especially someone who does not cherish it, the more your heart will break each time that person is not successful in creating that happiness for you.
I want to leave you with a light of hope. Because sometimes when life seems so dark, and you have voices telling you things that only bring you down, and that you deserve only "this much", I implore you to find happiness where it truly lies. My Heavenly Father was the only person who made any sense to me. Everyone else's opinions and judgements, and expectations about my life were like a flood of muddy water drowning me slowly. It wasn't until I prayed every last breath I had before finally succumbing, did the water turn clear and I was able to see the path I was to be on. I know that if you depend upon your Heavenly Father, he will lead you to happiness. He will lead you to the happiness you are starved for, whatever it may be.
So I ask you this, Have you seen your reflection today?