Why I am grateful for my marriage
Readers note: If you missed it, I talk about perspective and word choice especially when it comes to my posts about my marriage and divorce. Have a read here, if you haven’t already.
Strange headline for someone on her way to divorce, right? I know. But it’s true - I am grateful for my marriage. This morning on a coaching call we were asked what we are grateful for - things in our life that might not be so obvious. I am grateful for my divorce and that’s how I answered. I was going to write about that, but as I started to write, I realized that in order to express why I am grateful for my divorce, I needed to share why I am so grateful for my marriage. So we’ll start there.
The love and passion
When I met my ex-husband, it was a whirlwind. We got serious really fast - within six months we had bought a house, were engaged and had moved in with each other. He became my entire universe and I was his. I now know that this is not always a good way to start a relationship to ensure longevity, but it was magical and I wouldn’t change it. I had never experienced that kind of passion and love before. It was a beautiful time and I am so grateful to have experienced that with him. He was an incredible person to love and to be loved by.
Prior to meeting my husband, my longest relationship had been a year. Plus, I am an only child, so I didn’t really live with anyone else until my early thirties. What an adjustment! For the most part, my ex was easy to live with, but I definitely needed to adapt to life under the same roof with someone. After almost a decade of living together, I feel like if and when I ever live with someone else, I can adapt, but also set boundaries. I am grateful for learning that skill.
Understanding that people are all different
My ex and I shared very different values and approaches to life. This wasn’t really clear at the beginning of our relationship, but as we grew and changed, it became clear and was a big reason that led to the break down of our marriage, in my opinion. Despite this, I am so grateful to have been exposed to a different viewpoint. Though I didn’t always agree with his opinions, I did reflect on them. I thought about them and also thought about why he came to have that specific viewpoint. It helped me see more of who he was as a person, and what had shaped his life. I am grateful for this and I think it makes me a better partner, friend and human.
Before meeting my husband, I was a commitment-phobe. Big time. At the beginning of our relationship, I remember my ex asking me what I thought the next steps would be in our relationship - he was applying some light pressure to get me to commit. We were in his car and I started squirming around and flailing my arms as I tried to explain myself. In reality, I wanted to run. It was such a tough subject for me. I was so scared of losing myself and my freedom, I just couldn’t imagine being with one person forever. I told him, “When I commit, I will commit for life.” And this was true to my character. When I commit, I go all in. And so I went - down the rabbit hole of my relationship. Yes, I lost a lot of myself in the process and it’s something I am working to regain. But I know what it is to be with someone and to love them unconditionally. My commitment didn’t save our marriage - it couldn’t because it was too broken to be healed. But I am grateful that I no longer need to live in the self imposed narrative of being afraid of commitment.
The good memories
When you are in the process of divorce, it is so easy to think of all of the bad times. The crappy traits about your partner, all the things they did or didn’t do. It’s a much easier place to be in. It’s harder to look at the good times and the good traits because they can often feel more painful in the moment. And so every day, as I say my daily gratitudes, which always include my ex-husband, I also think of something I loved about him. Some days are harder than others, but I can always think of something. Even though our marriage broke down, it doesn’t mean it was all bad. We had some incredible times with each other and as a family. I am grateful for this practice as it reminds me why I loved him in the first place and makes every interaction with him easier as we work to co-parent our daughter.
Creating a new life
This is the biggest and most profound gratitude I have. My husband and I came together for a short time in the journey of life. But in that time, we made a beautiful child. She is everything to me. Her smile brightens my day, and all I want to do is help her feel loved and wanted in this world. Having my daughter has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible. As I reflect on my marriage, I have a deep sense of knowing that my husband and I were together for a time to bring her into the world. I am so grateful for her life and her presence in mine.
I think that gratitude is the most important practice I have in my life - even more so than meditation. It is so important to my overall health and wellbeing to have this daily practice. Even on my darkest days, gratitude will always bring in the light. And once there is a glimmer of light, it can grow and grow until it overpowers the darkness.
What adversity in your life are you grateful for?