When it comes to relationships I have a different perspective than everyone else in my life, because unlike them, I have been in one before, and a very bad one at that. I speak somewhat of it in our book, but I choose not to dwell on it except for the lessons it taught me in preparing for this marriage. One of those lessons is to be grateful for what I do have. Joe is certainly not perfect. He can be proud, stubborn, and quick tempered for example, but I find him so amazing compared to what I had that those things seem minimal.
I appreciate the way he is always so complimentary. He is quick to build me up and makes me feel special and like I am hugely important to him, something I never had in my other relationship. When we have our quarrels, or disagreements, and when I find myself unhappy I think of the 10 years of hard marriage I went through and focus on my why.
It seems when it comes to marriage and divorce, in an age when instant gratification trumps endurance, it is important we know why we are in our relationships. In divorce there are both the hard and soft reasons for divorce. Hard reasons include, abuse, adultery and addiction. Even though some of the hard reasons are acceptable reasons for leaving some people work through those and are better people for it.
The soft reasons are often simply because people are not happy, or not in love any more. It reminds me of a self-improvement class once where the teacher said, “If you take nothing else from this class, take home this one message “screw happy!” The point of living isn’t to be in a perpetual state of fairy-tale-ecstasy; it’s to find the meaning of life, the meaning of your life. And the point of marriage, I think, is to create meaning, with every happy AND sad memory, every hardship overcome, every kind act, every moment of acceptance, every triumph, every child, grandchild, pet, friend you accumulate together. The point of staying married until you die is to have a witness to your whole life, to the meaning you built. In the end you can look at your spouse [sisterwife] and say, “Somebody knew me- and I knew them.”
This isn’t to suggest you need to marry to have this kind of intimacy, but if you do marry and stay alive in that marriage, you will get that reward. The fact is that life has no meaning but the meaning we put in it. It is our choice. Things happen, we then get to choose the meaning we put on it and how we respond. This IS the meaning of life.
So the next time you see me cringe when someone is justifying my plural relationship because “I’m happy,” you will know why. If there is one thing I could tell anyone about relationships it is “Screw happy!”
In the end, I expect that very few people could begin to imagine, let alone understand the depth, width, breadth, scope, weight and heights of my relationship(s). I however, understand that it is largely the effect of our constant need and desire and drive to go deeper, get closer, be intimate, be true, and then bring it out in us the way we feel fully expressed. And of course, the rest is grace. I needed Joe, Vicki and Alina long before I ever knew it. And now I’m blessed to have them and all that our lives encompass. How wonderful it is to be a part of it all, from the silliest little things that are so pleasing and satisfying, to the most trying moments that challenge me to my core.