Wednesday, September 5, 2018

My Marriage Was Not a Mistake

My Dad and I were talking the other day and he was trying to comfort me about a recent challenge.  In passing he called the end of my marriage a mistake.  He was trying to make me feel better for the mistake I made. And I stopped the conversation to dispel the mischaracterization and reframe the truth. I’ve made many mistakes in my life.  My marriage was not one of them.  I made choices.  I made sacrifices.  I made the best of it that I could.  But I did not make a mistake. 

And neither did he. 

I will not dishonor the life we had together by reducing it to a mistake.  We built a life together.  We created life together.  We experienced life together.  Through the ups and the downs, we did it together.  And I will not dishonor that by calling it a mistake. 

While the choices we made were not always the best, they were choices.  We “fell in love,” but the evolution of our marriage was not an accident.  We pieced it together day by day, month by month, year by year.  The fact that my marriage did not last does not castigate it as a mistake. 

It is not mere nomenclature.  It is a realization that sometimes life does not go as planned, but it always goes as it should.  I have no regrets that I did not end my marriage earlier than it died.  I have no regrets that I did not say to hell with it when it was obvious to me that there were fatal flaws in who we were that ultimately led to the demise of us.   

My marriage had a purpose.  It was intentional.  The best and highest purpose of my marriage was the birth of my sons.  I am grateful for them.  I am grateful that they are the best of us.  I will not let them believe or let anyone else make it seem that they were born from a mistake. 

I am accountable for the birth, life and death of my marriage.  I do not say that to mean that I bear 100% responsibility or I caused it or I am to blame for it or it is my fault.  I am accountable for my marriage because it was my choice.  It was my choice to enter it.  It was my choice to stay in it.  It was my choice to let it go when the choice was presented to me.   

I choose to see my marriage as a beautiful chapter in my life.  It had good parts and bad parts.  It had happy days and f**ked up days.  I can choose to focus on all that went wrong or I can choose to focus on what went right.   

I have learned much from my marriage that did not last.  It was not a failure.  It was not a mistake. It was not a tragedy.  It is a marriage that did not last.  It ran its course and when its purpose was fulfilled, it ended.  And I find beauty in that. 

We must be careful to control the narrative about the lives we live.  We cannot others define for us and shape how we feel.  We definitely cannot allow others’ characterizations define who we were, what we experienced, and who we are.  We make mistakes.  We are not mistakes.  We make mistakes in our marriages and in our relationships.  We do not become them. 

I believe in the power of words.  Words represent thoughts.  Thoughts are the predecessors of our reality.  Choose the words you use to characterize your marriage, your relationship, your love, and you—in every stage—its birth, its life, and its transformation.  There is something beautiful in each stage.  There is something beautiful in everything that ends.  Sometimes it is minuscule.  Embrace the molecular beauty.  Most times, it is quite plentiful.  Embrace the aggregate beauty. 

While I do not forget the painful moments, I do not allow the pain to paint the picture of my marriage.  I choose the paint what was in the promise that it tried to fulfilled.  We tried.  We were not successful. And yet we were. 

Instead of transcending and continuing as one, we transformed and became two. And there was no mistake in the path that led us to the new place that we are now.  And the new life that lies before us.  We are not our mistakes.  We were not a mistake.  We were the love story that ended and became something new.  

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