The more distance I get from my ex husband, the more I am absolutely amazed that I ended up married to him. And this is not in a judgmental sort of way, but just...wow are we different, and in every single way you can imagine. But, this is what happens when you marry your boyfriend at 20 years old.
It took my twenties and half of my thirties, really, to get me here, to knowing exactly who I am, what I want from life, what I really BELIEVE in, and what makes me happy. At twenty, I loved junk food and watching tv and Jesus/God/church, and had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Over the past 16 years, I've discovered that I love nutrition and exercise, that I'm artistic and creative, that I believe in the power of thoughts and that I don't believe in most religions, but a universal "God". I'm sort of a hippie, I adore the outdoors, and want to see the world, not watch it on tv. Being with him was confusing to say the least as I grew into these parts of myself. It was a constant battle as I grew and changed in one direction and he planted his feet firmly in the same spot. To this day, he is still the man he was at 21 when we married, from what I can tell. The kids come home from his house describing the exact former life I used to live with him. It just, wasn't right...and no amount of therapy and trying could make it right. I desperately tried to flex my budding self in his direction for the 11 years that we were married, to accommodate both of us and our needs, but I just. can't. imagine. how that could have gone on, forever. It's frustrating enough just trying to co-parent from a distance with someone who believes in absolutely the opposite of everything you believe.
It was liberating enough to become a single woman and begin to live exactly as I wanted, every day. To raise my children the way I wanted to, at least under my roof. It was as if my wings suddenly reached across the sky and I was free to fly as I pleased.
But the picture wasn't complete. Before I met my husband, I felt that knowing and loving yourself was the end of it, and finding love would be a happy bonus.
I don't believe that anymore.
Being with the right person has been a spiritual experience that I'm not sure I can even begin to do justice with mere words.
My now understanding of true love with your spouse is actually pretty close to my understanding of my love for my children. My desire is to bring out their best, to watch them flourish, and that the dynamic of our relationship brings out MY best.
“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”- Robert Heinlein
I'm not saying that single folks can't be happy or complete, not at all. I'm just saying that there is another level beyond that I've been so incredibly lucky to be able to find.
True love with my husband has meant that we have engaged in a spiritual partnership, the sum of the two of us together being greater than the sum of us individually. He sparks inspiration and ideas in me, and I in him. Our relationship is powerful in that we can accomplish things together that we wouldn't have been able to alone.
I am certainly not saying that our relationship is perfect by any means. When two people have so much passion for life and each other, there are plenty of times that we lose our footing, and the passion can turn negative. We don't fight as much these days, but when we do, it's intense.
But for the most part and learning how to do this more and more each day, we have been able to lift each other up to new heights that we never even knew existed.
I loved my ex husband, I did. But love in itself is not enough, this is something I know now.
Relationships need to develop into something more than just love. It takes WORK. Dedication. Passion. Open-mindedness. Adventure. Humbleness.
I truly believe that without my husband, I wouldn't be the woman I am today--extremely happy, loving every minute of life no matter what it brings, exploring my spirituality and the world, trying new things, learning from those around me. But I also believe that I've helped him along his own journey and I absolutely adore watching this unfold every day. It's so exciting to partake in this kind of relationship, and I am so, so grateful that I didn't miss the chance.