Marriage Advice: The Third Time Really is a Charm
Someone is offering marriage advice who is on their third marriage…? You must think I’m crazy to think I have any quality guidance when I have been divorced twice! The ironic thing is I learned so much about what makes a great partnership by making the wrong choices not once, but twice.
I met my husband when I was at my lowest possible point in the relationship world. I was convinced I had a broken picker and true love was something only found in the movies. I spent years trying to make two separate marriages work that left me exhausted and a mere shell of my former confident self. I was damaged in that area and I had accepted that raising my four children would be the only love I would ever need. I prided myself in being tough and was okay with being alone.
That was until my husband came into my life. When we first met, I attempted to scare him away by telling him I had four kids. Instead of turning tail and running, he seemed more intrigued. He then told me he was getting ready to change duty stations to somewhere on the other side of the country. That was perfect, in my opinion, because I was convinced I wouldn’t get attached to someone in six short weeks. Boy was I wrong!
The evening we met, in a bar of all places, in the small military town I had lived in for eleven years was magical from the very beginning. The meeting, not the location! He had the most disarming smile that drew me into his deep brown eyes that twinkled with a bit of mischief. I immediately felt at ease, like I had known him all my life. The conversation flowed effortlessly and before I knew it, I had agreed to a first date the next day. Although I continued to try and convince myself that I just didn’t end up with one of the good guys for a few days after meeting him, I quickly entered unchartered territory in regards to the dating world. Less than two weeks into our relationship we quickly figured out this was something special, like a destined gift from above.
Our relationship circumstances weren’t ever easy. Saying that the odds were stacked against us is an understatement, but the one thing we never questioned was being together. Despite living over 2000 miles apart for years and dealing with numerous deployments on top of that, we knew this was true love.
I could spend hours listing all the things that I love about him but I won’t do that to you! However, I will share a few things I have learned that I feel make up a true partnership.
1. Our goal is to make the other happy.
I never felt like I was the most beautiful girl in the room until I met him. Now, years into our marriage, he still makes me feel beautiful both inside and out. He brings out the best in me, and I the best in him.
2. Marriage takes work, but with the right person, it isn’t impossible.
Like I said, we had many challenges from living apart, deployments, cross country moves, court cases involving custody, building a house and many more. Not once during these difficult situations did I ever feel alone. For the first time in my life, I had my partner and he made every one of our trials manageable.
3. Sticking with marriage is important but not at my personal demise.
Deciding on divorce, twice, were the most difficult decisions ever. It came to the point that I had to be strong enough to get out of a bad situation before I wasn’t able to. Happiness and being true to oneself is vital to living a full and complete life.
4. He thinks I’m a badass and isn’t afraid of my achievements.
He is always my biggest supporter and the first person to encourage me in all my new endeavors. Not once has he put me down for something I want to do and actually believes in me more than I do. Whenever I feel any doubts about my ability to do something, he's my best advocate.
5. We don’t keep score.
In my prior marriages, I felt like there was a scorecard that was a constant rivalry. Now I feel so lifted up that it makes me want to be the best me possible. Marriage isn’t always an equal partnership. Sometimes he does more and then there are times I pick up the slack. The best part is that we both want to make life better for the other.
Learning things the hard way isn’t what I would recommend, but I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I have decided instead of being embarrassed at failing, I'm proud of myself for being strong. I definitely had opportunities to learn about myself from being hurt, feeling alone and finally loved unconditionally. The last is definitely the best!