I think about the guests at my wedding a lot. I think about how they took the time and traveled to get there, about how they wrote checks or bought items off of our registry, about how I wish I had spoken to more of them, mingled more. I think about the people I didn’t invite, and whom I wish I had. I think about how, by and large, my (soon-to-be-ex-)husband didn’t send any thank you notes, and how guilty I felt and still feel about that. I think about how embarrassing it is to get divorced after all of their generosity, about their probable surprise or disappointment, and about my own trepidation of doing the whole damn thing over again someday only to disappoint so many of my friends and family once more.
I worry that if I remarry, these same people from all the corners of my life will come to my second wedding and think, “Will this one last?” I think that myself about my theoretical second groom. Will this one last?
It seems like you’re thinking about that as well. It’s as if you are the guest at your own imaginary wedding. You are wondering if you should have given yourself that $500 check or just have stuck with a toaster.
But maybe the question is all wrong. Maybe “Will this one last?” is not the metric of a successful marriage. Maybe my own short marriage was a successful one… because it made me stronger, because it gave me a stable touchstone, because I worked out a lot of issues, because I was supported by a sweet, sensitive, brilliant man. Or maybe those are the words of a woman rationalizing her failed marriage.
Let’s check in later. You deserve happiness and peace of mind. I believe you can find it... maybe even in marriage.
I want to invite you to participate in a project I am working on called, “The Marriage Blog”:
I wasn’t born cynical about marriage, but I wasn’t raised to be excited about it either. Ambivalent at best. When my parents announced they were getting divorced, my sister and I both said, “What took you so long”. Shortly after that my best friend and I discussed marriage for the financial incentives. A friend’s with-medical-benefits arrangement, if you will. Even as I grew religiously observant, and Rabbi’s successfully convinced me of importance marriage, I was never really pro-marriage until I became close with a young family that modeled how a marriage and family could be a source of joy. Wedding invitations from my friends began to trickle in I began, excited and hopeful about marriage. I wanted to get married!
Cynicism set in two years ago when my friends all started calling me announcing they are getting divorced. This Spring I received two calls from close friends telling me they where getting divorced. When my biggest confidants and cheerleaders for marriage started to get divorced, all typical pro-marriage voices now seem suspect. Traditional wisdom started to sound like empty platitudes. Pervading cynicism about marriage is not only taking over my life, but the lives of people around me. Marriage is in trouble and I don't think married people can help.
Married people speak in different language about an indescribable feeling.
From my perspective, their life is a romance films with an upbeat, hopeful score, that I, the single friend character cannot hear.
More than their inability to identity with my cynicism about love and marriage, I cannot identity their cynicism about love and marriage, because it’s a different monster.
Nor do I believe, as Roy Orbison sang, that “Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight, Only the lonely know this feelin aint right”, because everyone is born single. The experience of being marriage appears to nullify the feelings and dampen the memories of loneliness, if only to make room for new feeling and memories of loneliness.
Married people different stakes. They have to tell themselves that marriage is a great thing because they are trying to make a marriage work. They can't really be honest or have the necessary insights about the evolution of marriage in our lives.
On my downward spiral of cynicism, I had one really realization that moved me closer to marriage. Talking with a friend of mine who had recently separated from her husband of over 25 years, I permission to fail. Although marriage is precious, its important to not be too precious about marriage because the dread of failure, of marrying the wrong person, can prevent your from taking the step.
That was the single most encouraging encounter I’ve had in years relating to marriage. Divorced people are the key.
This year I will be co-publishing a blog where I ask my divorced friends who I love and respect and are good writers to tell me why I should get married.
We will publish the blog and possibly have a public reading of selected entries.
All entries may be published anonymously or under a pen name.
Each writer will work with a volunteer editor for revisions.
The goals of the project can generate enthusiasm, hope and Insight about the meaning of marriage in our lives.
Responses do no need to respond positively. ("Jesse DON"T GET MARRIED"
I am inviting you to write a blog entry of approximately 500 words, responding to the questions, "Why should I get married".
You inspired me once. I think you can do it again.
Please respond and let me know if you are interested participating and we can discuss deadlines.
If you feel that you would like to be apart of the project, but it is not the right time for you, please let me know and we can keep in touch.
Thank you, with love and respect.
If you know any single women in the Bronx or Westchester, I'm interested in meeting them.