I got married in my 20s and things didn't work out.
It's been nearly 10 years since my divorce, and I've been scared of marriage ever since.
However, I've learned a lot from the experience and I'm ready for a serious commitment again.
For the first time since I took off the perfect princess cut diamond my ex-husband proposed to me with, the one I sold when I couldn't make rent post-divorce, I want to get married again. I finally understand the mistakes I made during my first marriage in my 20s, and given the chance, I know I can make a second marriage work — and even flourish — as I near 40.
But admitting to myself that I want to get married again is scary. It's terrifying to acknowledge that I long for something I've spent nearly a decade avoiding. Not only does marriage take work, but it's something I've already failed at once before.
I learned a lot from my divorce
For me, divorce was humbling, humiliating, and costly, both literally and figuratively. It changed who I was and ironically gave me a reverence for marriage I don't think I had before. I know I wouldn't be able to approach the idea of marriage with the confidence I have now had I not been through a painful divorce, but I wish I could have gained that confidence another way.
It's not that I think I'm a better person (sadly), more intelligent, or even that much more mature these days; I just have a more realistic view of marriage and a better understanding of what it actually takes. When I was in my 20s, I thought my marriage would last because we loved each other, but the truth is that we were on separate paths. We wanted different things, and I didn't see how that was a problem until there was so much distance between us that we could not find our way back to one another. Now, I realize that though you do have to have love in a marriage, it cannot be all you have.
In hindsight, I can acknowledge other ways I contributed to the breakup of my marriage. I expected my ex-husband to heal me from my childhood traumas, be the antidote to my bouts of depression, and make up for all the ways others let me down. I burdened him with an impossible task — to make me happy. I couldn't see it then, but I wanted my husband to do what I needed to do for myself.
I don't think I have to work through every single issue in my life to find a serious partner and be married again, and I don't think it's wrong to expect your significant other to provide some of the joy in your life. However, I now know it can't be my husband's job to save me from myself or be the source of all my happiness. I have to bring the best version of myself into a marriage while owning and actively managing the baggage I bring into the relationship.
I also know that marriage is about commitment, patience, and compromise. It's ordering sushi sometimes when what you really want is pizza. It's having uncomfortable conversations about money and sex and counting to 10 instead of saying something you can't take back. It's a shared vision for the future you inch toward together through mundane day-to-day life.
I also learn a lot from watching the successful relationships of my loved ones
My grandparents were married for 72 years, raised six children in a house with one bathroom, and built a thriving business that employs much of my extended family today. That is also marriage, at its very best — an awe-inspiring testament to the power of two people who commit to each other to build something greater than themselves. I can't think of anything more meaningful and fulfilling.
Watching the successful marriages of my friends and family has been invaluable. I've seen them overcome tremendous obstacles and grow closer over circumstances that would have torn less committed couples apart. I've seen them choose each other day after day when it wasn't easy to do, and I've seen them set aside their wants and needs for their partner. I see the beauty in their devotion during a time when society puts freedom on a pedestal and applauds self-serving lifestyles. I know I've lived that life.
I still have some fears about being in a serious relationship and getting married again someday. It's one thing to better understand what it takes to make a marriage last, and it is quite another to put it into action. It's been nearly 10 years since the demise of my first marriage, and I've needed every day of those years to get to the point where I have faith in myself again. But I have a renewed appreciation for the sanctity of two people committing their lives to one another, and I feel ready to try and find that again for myself.
Read the original article on Business Insider