Thursday, May 13

Some Final Thoughts, Part 2

And the final portion of my final thoughts...

I've learned that a marriage needs to be an equal partnership. Growing up Mormon can be difficult when you are surrounded by so many examples of amazing wives and mothers. I was anticipating my Florence Henderson transformation the moment after we said our "I do's," but somehow I didn't find the magic transformation potion in any of our wedding presents. We were both working and going to school full-time and as a new wife, I felt like I had to have home-cooked meals every night, a packed lunch ready to go every morning, all the laundry done, bills paid, house cleaned, grocery shopping done, homework completed, callings magnified, and be ready for some sweet married lovin' by bedtime. I had no idea how absolutely absurd and unrealistic my own expectations were. But I still attempted to do everything which made the marriage extremely unbalanced--and at no fault of his. I just signed up for every task because I had some silly image in my head that I needed to do it all. It took a good year or so to realize that it was okay to let some things on my to-do list go unchecked and it was even okay to tear that list in two and give half of it to him. He was content having much less of the perfect world that I seemed to believe marriage was supposed to be. But he was also more than willing to help me make it perfect had I just asked him. Hmm, asking for help. I won't write about that yet since I haven't quite learned that lesson.

I've learned that it's okay to be divorced. I dreaded being slapped with the d-label. Although divorcees are technically single, society is very careful to not let them stand under the same umbrella. Surveys, documents, and almost every form I've filled out asks me to check single, married, or divorced. It made me feel like such a failure. It made me feel like I just got back one of my college biology tests, one that I struggled to complete, that I thought I did okay on, only to get a big fat "F" written with red marker right there on the front page. Okay so maybe they don't really do that in college but those were the only tests I ever failed and that's the way getting those test results always made me feel. When I started to share my story, however, it was shocking to me how many impressive married couples--the "it" couples who had it all--had previously come from a divorce. It renewed my hope in finding love again and it gave me a sense of peace that it was okay to be divorced.

I've learned that it's okay to be single. One of my only complaints about going to BYU was the immense pressure I felt to get married. Among my peers I was voted the first to get hitched and secretly (okay, not so secretly) I wanted to live up to the challenge... hence one of the reasons I chose to go to the Largest Mormon Dating Pool South of Heaven. But I wish I would have taken a few years to learn how much fun being single is. I had a need to be loved in a way that I thought I could only get in a serious relationship. Well let's be honest, I still have that need but it's almost as if faith in the Lord's timing has replaced the intensity of that desire. One afternoon I was at the temple and one of the workers started talking to me and telling me how beautiful I was and how my husband is a lucky man. I told her I was flattered but I wasn't married. I told her I had recently been divorced and jokingly said that I was looking for a man and thought I might run into a good one at the temple. I guess my joke wasn't that funny because she pierced me with a serious gaze and said, "Do not look for a man. Prepare yourself and he will find you. Trust in the Lord's timing." Years of my mom telling me the same thing and it didn't click til this stranger said it.

Though I don't believe that everyone needs to go through a divorce to learn these lessons, for me it was definitely a refiner's fire and one that has led me to discover things that I don't know I would have ever learned--or been humble enough to learn--had I not gone through a marriage that didn't work.

I feel like I finally have an idea of who I am. I know how to communicate. I know how I need to be loved. I know how to apologize and I know how to accept an apology. I know how to forgive. I've learned how to love myself. I've learned how to see the other person's perspective. I know it's more important what's right than who's right. I've learned that just because I do things differently, doesn't mean that my way is the right way to do things, or even that there is a right way. I know how to be independent. I know how to let go. I know how to let myself be cared for. I've learned that the only person I can change is myself. I know how to be selfless. I've learned how to love even when it's hard to. And I continue to learn how to trust in God because it is through Him all things--especially love, marriage, and happily ever afters--are possible.


Jessica and Sean said...

Kelly, you are such an amazing person. I honestly wish I was more like you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and looking on the bright side of life!

Miranda said...

Kelly--I havent' checked your blog in a while and recently checked in with you, you've been on my mind for some reason or another. Now I know why. I'm sorry to hear of your heartache and all you've gone through. Sounds like you've landed on your feet though and are doing well. Be true to yourself...there's a man out there looking for your sweetheart. You'll know.

Melanie said...

Hey there Kelly. It's been a long time, I know. I actually saw your blog after scanning through Jill's. Anyway ... it sounds like you are really doing well, despite everything. I don't know what to say really, other than you have been in my prayers. Hope you don't mind me stalking your blog. Take care!

Kiki said...

Hey Kelly,

I know I haven't talked to you in like forever, but I just wanted to say thank you for this post :) I thought that I had to be the perfect wife, go to school, clean house, etc. too; and like you said it's unrealistic and will drive you crazy as it did me. To this day I still have to make sure that I am organized but not overwhelming's hard at times just to let the dishes go one night, picking up after my daughter, or just saying NO when someone asks for a favor, but my family and I are so much happier because of it.

From what I've read and from knowing ya back in the day your an amazing strong woman and we need more of you in this world.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing :)