It has been a little over a year since I had that moment of truly understanding why people get divorced. I was not particularly concerned that I would get divorced soon, but I finally knew why divorce happens.
I have said many times that there is one reason that Josh and I are still married, and that reason is Josh. I often say it like a joke, but it is quite true.
Earlier this year I asked the ever-optimistic Josh why he thought we would not get divorced. He answered that we loved each other. I was oddly upset by his answer since it seemed completely inadequate. After all, the vast majority of Americans love their spouses when they marry. But Josh countered that he does not believe that is actually true.
A few months later I encountered two separate sources speaking of how they did not know what it meant to really love someone more than themselves until they had children. This isn’t a new concept for me, but I was surprised by how foreign it felt.
I tried to ask Josh about it without first revealing my perception. He agreed with me that we have both loved the other more than ourself for at least as long as we’ve been married. Perhaps the fact that others do not share this experience adds to the challenges they face in adjusting to parenthood since it is such a radical introduction to real love for them?
I am not sure that I am capable of ever loving anyone unconditionally, but I know as much as I know anything that I at least conditionally love Josh far more than I’ve ever loved myself.
We went to mass to celebrate our anniversary. We chose our wedding date because of the Saint honored on that day, and we haven’t been able to go to daily mass together in half of forever, so it was perfect.
A few weeks later Josh knelt beside the couch where I laid and looked immensely pleased with himself as he looked up from seeing the date on his phone. He said “happy anniversary!” I annoyingly asked him “anniversary of what?” He looked back at the date again and corrected himself. My birth date and our anniversary date apparently look the same when one is exhausted. I suppose I should credit him with remembering our anniversary twice.
I didn’t cry on our wedding day. I was far too focused on getting through the day without collapsing or vomiting from pain. Of course I probably would not have come close to tears in any case since that was not my style.
I did cry at my sister’s wedding two years ago. There was nothing naive about the way she approached marriage, but I knew it would cause her endless pain. Now one of Josh’s sisters is about to marry and I wince for her when I think of it. Josh’s family stuns me with their happy marriages, but I feel the clear impending misery of this one. Somehow I cannot explain why I have so much sadness for the death that marriage brings to others when it has been so life-giving to me.
I suppose that is interwoven in the intensely personal nature of it all.
When I was 16 I encountered a divorced couple who related to each other quite well. I decided that I wanted to marry someone who would be reasonable, charitable, and all-around great to be divorced from.
At this point it seems most likely that I’ll never know, but I suspect that there is no one in the world who would be a better ex-husband than Josh.
- Drunk Blogging