Sunday, May 24, 2015

Starter Wife

I recently had a conversation with someone who referred to his first marriage as a "starter wife". Generally this term is used in a way to describe a marriage that allowed for financial gain and then was severed and the person who went in with nothing came out ahead in the end. Then a man or women will move on to bigger and better things. 

Do we ever stop to think that even if we have everything we also have nothing?!

I was once a starter wife. I was the one that went into the marriage with everything and came out with nothing. Don't get me wrong - I never had a bank account that was overflowing, an expensive car, or really anything of monetary value. What I did have were hopes, dreams, beliefs in the institution of love and marriage that was meant to last a lifetime. I never dreamed of being someone's starter wife. Even after it was clear to me that my marriage was failing I held onto the idea that I was not a quitter and I would not give up on my ideas of commitment and marriage. 

What my above conversation partner and I had in common were that both our "life" partners were unfaithful and our divorce proceedings lasted longer than our marriages. 

During my divorce I gave up everything he asked for because I just wanted to be done. After learning that the life you thought you were living was a complete lie, it's difficult to piece that back together when you have no idea where the pieces to the puzzle go. You try to move on but that person you once called your soulmate, life partner, husband/wife is doing what they have been doing all along and they keep sucking the life from you. 

In the end he thought he had everything and I had nothing.... but what he didn't know is that he had given me my life back, my joy back. He had given me the opportunity to live again and all he had were things to remind him of what once was and never would be again. 

I was once a starter wife. That means a different thing to me than it does to most. I started a life with a stranger. I started a journey that came to an abrupt end. I shot for the stars and landed on the ant hill. Starter wife to me means starter life. That experience did not strip me of any wealth, it actually gave me more than I could have ever imagined. I might have struggled to see the true value of it at the time but have come to appreciate it more and more. 

I see other people in my life that have experienced the same. They had a starter life that didn't work out and now they have a life that is better than they could have ever imagined. Something just never clicked the first time around, but what they have now is amazing and now we all cannot imagine any other way.

I do not condone divorce, but I do know that mine allowed me to see marriage and love for what it really is. I am able to see through that emotion/desire/feeling and turn it into action. Because love is action. Marriage is a task. Neither the action or the task are negative or "work" - they are proof that you mean what you say and feel. They are proof that the other person in your life is worth your time and effort. 

Often we get wrapped up in what we think or feel and we do not take the time to see the facts. 
Fact - my husband is amazing
Fact - my husband shows me he loves me all the time
Fact - my husband has never stopped dating me

I mean I could go on for pages and pages, but I think that would just bore you. The real truth is that through my failed marriage I learned how to be more intentional. Intentional about my time, my words and my actions. I learned what was worth fighting for and what was worth letting go. What needed to be worked through and what could not be. I learned that you cannot change a person and you cannot make them do more for you or themselves if they do not want it. 

I wish there was a way I could keep everyone else from having a starter life and just learning from others so they didn't have to learn themselves the hard way. The worst thing in the world is watching the ones you love suffer. It sucks to hear someone's story and say - I know what you mean - because that means that you have both been broken. But... that also means that you both survived and are on the other side! 

I was once a starter wife. I never thought I would be, but we never really know what life will hand us. So as my husband says - When life hands you moldy strawberries... Dump them down the garbage disposal and get some new ones! haha!

Lately I cannot help but be reminded of my past of that life that started me on this journey and got me to where I am - because without that I would not be here in this loving relationship that I am in. I think at times we all focus more on what we are missing and what we do not have instead of focusing on all the amazing things and people that surround us. 

Take a minute and just think about everything you have. All the things that have come your way since you started life. Not the bad ones, but the good ones. Be grateful for what you have and remember that if all that bad hadn't happened then you wouldn't have the good - or you sure as hell wounldn't appreciate it the same.