20 First Dates - Part Two

Before I delve into the dates, let’s talk about the D word. The first one – the one that leads to dating after marriage. Divorce. The best advice I got post-divorce was, “Just wait. In six months, in a year, your life will be completely different.”

It’s so hard to believe that when you’re in the midst of it. When I got married, I will fully admit I was a smug married – we had dated for six years prior to engagement, and for another two before getting married – so I went in with the attitude that we knew each other inside and out, and nothing would take us down. We were a team. I was patient, more patient than friends expected me to be. Indeed I had friends who encouraged me to put my foot down, to set limits. He wasn’t a limit setting kind of man. And, I was a second wife, had a great job, and even moved away for three years while we dated long distance. Therefore I decided to give us both the favor of not pushing hard, until it was time. We both knew when it was the right time to get engaged.

As I speak to friends about marriage or relationships in general, it’s often in the context of life changes. Marriage and relationships are about merging your lives together – but that doesn’t mean losing your entire identity. It doesn’t mean giving up everything that makes you the unique person you are. Too often, one or the other person does just that. I hear it all the time when I speak to my girlfriends. Indeed, I was very guilty of this in my marriage. When we were dating, I made a lot of choices to fit into his life and ignore what made my light shine in the first place. I take full responsibility for my actions.

Marriage is also about give and take, and whether you can take what life throws at you and adjust – a move, a job change, children going off to college, a retirement… it’s the adjustment that often creates the downfall. It’s the maladjustment of two people reacting to the same situation in different ways, and not being able to find their way back together. To liking each other, much less loving each other, and to deciding what each is willing to give or take to make the relationship work?

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable.” – Neil Gaiman