I was on Twitter this morning & realized that I retweeted an article outlining 7 signs that you should divorce right after I sent a tweet celebrating the Supreme Court of the United States’ historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. I had to smile: in my world, marriage is followed by divorce in 140 characters or less.
I may be the Divorce Doula but I still believe in the institution of marriage and that everyone – regardless of sexual orientation – has the right to marry the person they love. I join millions of people celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision today and wish many people long, happy, beautiful marriages. I will also support anyone who decides to end their marriage. No judgement or discrimination will ever appear on this blog. I began writing Divorce Doula to tell my own story of overcoming a failed marriage to find respect, honesty and humour in my co-parenting adventures with my ex-husband. Over the years, my blog has evolved and become a resource and place of hope for others. I’m proud of this growth and will continue to write about my relationship with my ex, our fantastic kids and my life in The After Wife.
But I sometimes wonder: will living in The After Wife mean that I will always be divorced?
Here’s something that as a proudly, happily divorced in Oregon, woman I don’t often share: I’d love to get married again. I loved being married and for a long time, I was really good at it. I’m very content in my current relationship with The Ginger Snap: we are happily, deliriously, deliciously in love, share important core values and interests, and are deeply committed to one another. We have our own lives that are very separate from one another but at every moment of every day, I know that he loves me and would do anything to make me happy. He is, in the simplest of middle-age relationship vernacular, My Person. The intellectual, independent and fiercely feminist part of me reminds me that I don’t need a husband. I’m a financially independent professional with a big life that includes many friends, interests and a wonderful family. I am a woman who can travel solo, pay the bills, take care of the kids AND take out the trash, RSVP without a plus one and kill all of the spiders. I don’t need a husband but goddamn it, there are some days when I would really like one.
Like a schoolgirl, I fantasize about my Mulligan Wedding. I catch myself thinking about the Anne Sportun engagement ring, the poignant wedding song, a sunlit field in late August surrounded by our children and all of our loves as I walk toward my handsome husband-to-be. I am wearing The Perfect Dress. And that man, with his warm smile, infectious laugh and quiet strength is waiting for me at the end of the aisle, offering me the chance to do over all the things I fucked up in my first marriage.
My ex-husband and I talk to one another about our children – their development, their education, their misbehaviour, their hilarity – all the time. That is the bond that we will always share but we rarely go deeper. We don’t often discuss our personal or professional situations. I never know when he is having a great day or a shit day and I rarely discuss my days with him. Our days as partners in crime are long over but there are days when I long for a post dinner conversation with my man that doesn’t involve Minecraft, body odour or homework. Sharing an incidental or intimate moment from our day over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Waking up with in the morning with his arms wrapped around me, imprinting me with his love until he can hug me again that night. Sharing adventures and weathering difficult times, watching me soar to new heights but there to catch me should I fall.
If there is one thing that I have learned in the After Wife it’s that divorce is hard but marriage is much harder. A beautiful wedding is just the beginning of a lifetime of commitment, communication, sacrifice and compromise, of great joy and tough times. Should I get married again, it will not be for the wedding or the chance to right the wrongs of my first marriage. I will get married again because I will be truly ready to share the rest of my life with another person.
For now, I am happy with the status quo: I am in love and I am loved. I am hopeful that this relationship will continue to blossom and surprise me each day. I look forward to to discovering the hidden depths of this extraordinary man, to growing and inspiring one another. I don’t need to get married again but I am so grateful that I live in a country where two people who love one another can solidify their commitment through marriage. And that now, our neighbours to the South have finally, finally given their citizens the same basic human right. Love is love, gay or straight, married or unmarried.