Four years a ago today, Jessy and I held hands in a courthouse in Texas, while some old guy in a black robe joined us legally. Husband and Wife. The big M word. Marriage. We were just kids, he wore his jeans and I put on my favorite party dress.
Coincidentally it was Friday the 13th. Ok not so coincidentally, I totally wanted to get married on Friday the 13th. Cause it’s cool. And so am I. (Keep telling yourself that Katie)
I always knew I wanted to be married. I never dated around. The few people I did date, I envisioned being with long term, even if I wasn’t necessarily happy with them. It was so messed up, I idolized sticking together more that I did being happy together. Maybe it’s because my mom and dad were married several times. Whatever the case, I wasn’t smart. I tormented myself for the sake of not giving up on a commitment to another person.
Four years ago today, I took my (now) best friend and I declared him my husband. (Ok so maybe the judge did). And I committed to my relationship, instead of to my husband. I committed to the prospect of staying married. Not to the true ideals of a happy marriage. And I made a huge mistake.
He told me over and over he felt like I didn’t love him. I was confused but I let it roll off my shoulder. “How could you feel that way? I do love you. How could you not know?” I was so wrapped up in myself, and work, and school, I was letting him slip away. I banked on the idea that he wouldn’t leave me because I loved him. But I didn’t show it. I didn’t pay attention. I almost lost him.
When he asked for the divorce I was beside myself.
“What did I do wrong? Why?”
I didn’t want him to go. But I almost gave him the divorce anyway. I had the papers ready and notarized. I figured if he truly didn’t want me then I would let him go. But I was so wrong.
I took a step back, and realized that if I lost him I wouldn’t be able to say I stayed with my husband, that I wasn’t the kind of girl to get divorced. And then I realized that didn’t matter. Making each other happy was what mattered. So screw the together forever idea.
I told him I didn’t want a divorce. I started paying attention, listening, and showing. We worked it out, and learnt each other. He became my friend. That title has more value than husband. Anyone can be your spouse, but not anyone can be your friend.
Four years ago I made the wrong kind of commitment. I made a mistake. I didn’t have a clue about marriage and what it takes. I hurt myself and the man I love, for some fantasized idea. For a dumb never-give-up attitude. For my heart being in the wrong place.
But today I know without a doubt that we are happily married. Happily first. Married second.
Jessy, my best friend, I want to hold your hand and live my life to see you smile, to raise our beautiful son, and to enjoy your company. I love you.