Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day (ode to my marriage) - by Cyma

Memorial Day usually means parades and barbeques, a chance to have ‘family time,’ the beginning of summer. On this weekend 14 years ago, I got married – a lifetime ago if we count all the experiences, life changes and myriad of adjustments that have taken place. During that time, I also turned 50.

I routinely use this weekend to assess my marriage. There were several years where I was just plain unhappy; one or two when I was in neutral; a few where I was in lust and still more where I was enraged.

I remember an old friend commenting that she no longer exchanges anniversary cards or presents. She also does not wear her wedding ring. I have never not exchanged gifts; however, last year, I went several weeks without wearing my ring. The incident was intended to convey a strong message and to test the waters -- to see how it would feel, and how others would feel about me. It felt equally liberating and sad. I eventually put my ring back on – a testament to my husband’s commitment to regroup and get help. I have not taken it off, since.

I have never understood the ins and outs of relationships. For me, I was either ‘in’ or ‘out.’ I think that marriage allows you many options – to stay ‘in’ while being ‘out;’ to stay ‘out’ while being ‘in;’ to think about being ‘out’ while being ‘in.’ You know what I mean. The list of options goes on and on.

I got married because I decided I would. I decided that this would be the last personal ad I would write, the last boyfriend I would date. I decided on that first blind date that I would marry him. I found out later that he decided the same. Just before I got married, I had a brief moment of realization that I would never kiss anyone else again. I was panic-stricken. It was fleeting.

Growing up watching my parents, I had a very hard act to follow – they are definitely soul mates. My husband and I are not. For a long time, I felt very sad about it. I can’t say that I’ve ever given up longing for this, but I can say that I’m more comfortable, now, not having it.

In recent months, I sense an ease between us: an almost second coming. I feel like we’re on a new plane with new rules and regulations. I think we like each other again; we’re working on the love part. I wish it came easier. But, we came into this with our own deep emotional issues and more than enough baggage. It’s taken all this time to even land in neutral; to not be fired up with every discussion or chaotic incident which had befallen us. Now, I feel a sense of hope, of renewal, of strength. I also feel a sense of purpose, of acceptance, and even of love.

At this stage in life/marriage, many people choose to go their separate ways. I think that this has taught me that it is also possible to regroup and come together again in a better, more solid way. I wasn’t used to the nuances. Remember, either ‘in’ or ‘out.’

I don’t think that I’ll think as much about my marriage this Memorial Day. This is a testament to our recently reaffirmed bond and commitment. However, I do think I will, as I always do, memorialize the day and the year. Happy Anniversary, dear.

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