Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Would I Marry Him All Over Again?

While browsing Facebook this afternoon, I came across a slide show where 15 women answered the question: Would you marry your husband all over again?

Most of the women said they would. Some said yes because their husbands are good daddies, others because they like them more now than they did before. One said she wouldn't marry the man she married years ago, but would marry the man he is now, which I think is completely relatable. Another said she might not because of her husband's severe depression--something, as a person who suffers with severe manic depression, I worry about. But it wasn't really the slideshow that was I found interesting, it was the comments on the Facebook link.

It's amazing what people will tell complete strangers. Stories about years of marriage, in many cases. But, it seemed like, overall, the answer was yes. Most of the commenters said that they would marry their husband's again. But, you know, I wonder how much of that is actually true? Maybe it's my pessimism, but marriage/divorce statistics don't tell a happy story about happy marriages.

But okay, that small sampling clearly doesn't represent us all. I wonder, though, if all of those women who said they would marry their man again really mean that, or if they're just saying it because, well, Facebook isn't anonymous. If there's a chance their husbands will see it, and it'll stir up drama, then of course you're going to say yes!

More than that, I wonder how much they really thought about it? Really, truly thought, before answering the question. Because, I think that most of us want to justify our life choices in a way that makes them seem like good choices. We want those years to mean something and if we go back and say no, that we wouldn't do this again with the same man, then how much of who we are has just been totally invalidated? I think it's tough to look the question in the face and really see the answer.

Having been married for 17 1/2 years, this is interesting to me. I've been thinking about it for hours now. Would I marry my husband all over again? Like the commenters, my knee-jerk reaction was yes. Of course, I would. But to be fair to my own questioning, I've been considering it. Really considering it.

Not all of the years have been good years. We've had times when we struggled, when we still struggle, and choices have been made that I had trouble adjusting to. I thought about what we've accomplished together and wondered how our lives would have been different if we had taken a different path. I thought about whether or not he gave up having kids he might have wanted in order to be with me, and I considered if that was a mistake for him or if he ever regrets it. I wondered if I'm worth it and came to the conclusion that I'm most likely not. I wondered how much time we've wasted doing nothing and how many years we've lost spinning our wheels. Then I remembered that we weren't spinning our wheels, we were getting somewhere. I wonder if we enable one another's bad choices and think that maybe, sometimes, we do.

But, you know, all that thinking and I never was able to see a different way. And, if I'm being honest, I don't really want to. I love my husband and even though we're both vastly different people than we were when we got married almost 18 years ago, we've grown together in a way that makes sense for us. We've grown together, not apart. We might enable one another, but we also support one another when it matters. We argue, but we also listen to one another's thoughts and fears. We're better together than we are apart, which is why we work. I hope he would say the same thing.

Still, love is only a part of the equation, which I think is the biggest thing a lot of the people--mostly women--commenting on Facebook were missing. Most of them had a love conquers all mentality, but love does not conquer all. Not by far. It doesn't overcome financial issues in a way that helps to resolve them, it doesn't feed you or put a roof over your head. Many of them were of the opinion that it's never acceptable to quit a marriage, which doesn't make sense to me. There are good reasons people choose to leave a marriage. It doesn't make a person a quitter.

That part of the process inevitably brought me around to my first marriage. I know, without a single shred of doubt, deep in my soul, that I would never, ever marry my first husband again. No thought necessary. It's something I just know, something I looked in the face years ago. I completely own my mistake in marrying him. We had an abusive, painful dynamic. He thought I was stupid. He told me more than once that I wasn't smart enough to go to college. He treated me not like a partner, but like a person who should be grateful he saw fit to give his attention. It was bad and would only have gotten worse. There were a hell of a lot of good reasons to leave that marriage.

It's a drastic difference when I compare that to my current marriage, to a husband who supports me and lifts me up. I know what a bad marriage with a bad husband feels like. No one should want to stay married under those sorts of circumstances just so they don't look like a quitter.

Ultimately, the slideshow and accompanying comments are a harmless little thing, but they got me thinking about how much time people really take to consider their choices. It's valuable, though, because it gave me time to really reflect on mine. It brought me to a place where I was able to really see my relationship and not take it for granted. Because, that's just as important as knowing, if you ask me. If people aren't thinking about their marriages, how can they truly appreciate them?