Life Stories: Until Death Do Us Part – or Not

I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband,                                                                                                                                                               To have and to hold, from this day forward,                                                                                                                                                                            For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,                                                                                                                                                                      Isickness and in health,                                                                                                                                                                                                           Until death do us part…

The Dream is over…

Several times this year, I’ve found myself wondering about what it is that keeps a marriage alive and thriving in today’s crazy world? I’ve tried to understand why some marriages flourish and last until death do them part, while others crash and burn somewhere along the way?  I’ve asked myself why some couples are so devoted to one another and so intent on making their marriages work while other are willing to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble? What is it that makes for a healthy, thriving union? Clearly, the exchanging of vows like those above plays a role as a solemn pledge of love and fidelity, but they are not some magical incantation or other such enchantments that guarantee a long and happy marriage, the magic comes from within each married individual and these vows must be honored and respected in order for the magic to work.

What then is it that holds a marriage together? What is the secret ingredient? Is it the unconditional love shared by a couple that is the key to a successful marriage? Is love really all we need as the Beatles once sang?  Does love really make the world go round? Sounds good right, but as any married person has learned, there is much more to it than love. Along with love comes commitment, communication, respect, and patience to name a few. And it takes all of these components and more to make a good marriage. That is what I choose to believe, throw in a hefty dose of some old-fashioned hard-headedness for good measure, and I think we may have something. A successful marriage takes a lot of hard work and compromises to make it long lasting. I sincerely hope that the married among you are blessed with a healthy and thriving union, one you’re willingly working to preserve.  Sadly, many married couples never find the happily ever after we all seek. Over 50% of all marriages end in separation or divorce. I long thought I was among those who had been successful at marriage, but as it turns out I guess not.

You see, 2017 did not end well for me. In late October the ties that bind unraveled and the walls came tumbling down. Two weeks shy of our 44th anniversary, my wife informed me that she had filed for divorce. I gotta tell you,  although the ‘D’ word got talked about more often than I care to admit, I was still a bit surprised when she told me. It felt so strange to think that it was really over. I suppose if she hadn’t filed when she did, I eventually may have, still, it was a bit surreal. Neither of us was happy, we hadn’t been for quite some time and at our age, we deserve at least that, right? So after nearly 44 years of marriage we have parted ways. Our divorce was final at the end of September.

In retrospect, the dissolution of our marriage seemed inevitable. Things hadn’t been right for a long time and really came to light nearly three years ago when my pop’s passed away. Since his passing, we simply began to grow further and further apart and created a great divide that could no longer be bridged. There is no bad guy or blame game to be played, no pointing fingers or throwing stones. Neither of us was unfaithful or anything like that. We simply grew apart and fell out of love. We lost that loving feeling. If there is any blame to be had we both share it equally, we are both guilty of looking the other way and allowing love to do a slow fade from our marriage.

So here I am, 67 years old, retired and divorced, who would have thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure. If someone would have told me that this is where I’d be today, I’d have laughed my fool head off. I’m not laughing now. The final curtain has come down on our marriage, the ratings plunged, the plug pulled and just like that the John & Ray Show was off the air. I’d like to believe we had a good run, we certainly had a long one. I guess Jagger was wrong when he sang ‘love not fade away’, it can and does time and time again. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m a firm believer that all things happen for a reason and when one door closes another opens, maybe not right away but eventually. I’m slowly adjusting  to my new life situation and waiting patiently…

peace…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *