Between The “I Do’s”

I see no failure in having loved well.   In having worked in a relationship.  In having had a wonderful experience.

And then it changes.

I see no failure in  loving.

And then not loving.

I see failure in turning something that was once wonderful into something that is hateful and fraught with revenge.

I see failure in hate.  Jealous and envious actions.

If it has lived it’s life, finished it’s course, let it go with dignity.

I do admire determination and willingness to work together to make something you value – grow and become more.  I’ve witnessed others who have grown apart, stop, re-evaluate and realize they want to grow more together.  And they make it happen.  It makes my heart happy.

And oh how I admire those who can’t make a relationship work, but continue to show respect and support to one another.  People who exhibit class, character and even love, in the letting go process.   People who redefine their relationship so that they can remain in one another’s lives-separate but together.  For their own sake, for the sake of children, for the sake of civility.

Sometimes hard work is not enough.  Sometimes a person has no more to give, is drained, and has no way to replenish.  There’s no shame in taking care of yourself.

I see success in moving on.   Loving what was.  Cherishing what was.  Being grateful for what was.

I admire marriages and relationships that last forever.  It is an amazing gift to be with someone for a very long time and there always be support, comfort, shared joys, shared sorrows, shared experiences, appreciation, and mutual respect.  This is an incredible journey where two people commit to loving, learning, growing and being a part of one another’s life.  This kind of life seems to be a benefit to us all.  Many was the occasion I have walked out of the home of a seventy year long happy marriage….and wished for that kind of life.  Ideal.  Ideal.  Ideal.

Sometimes, as difficult as it is, this does not happen.

I am saddened when I see unhappy people who stay together forever because it is dictated they should.  Yet neither is happy, neither is fully capable of being who they could be, because they can’t let go of something that is hurtful and unfullfilling.   Some are willing to suffer the marriage instead of endure a divorce.

I am just as saddened when I see two people who love each other but do not have the skills needed to work beyond their problems.

Maybe I’m too biased because I have gone through divorce.  Maybe I’m just giving myself excuses or reasons for it to be okay.   Or maybe there’s truth in our humanity, that we are going to err.  We will err in choices, decisions, and actions.  Recognizing our truths and taking action to correct or change them, does not make us failures.  It makes us …. continually grow and learn.

I couldn’t make something work.  Maybe I failed.  Maybe I grew.  Maybe I changed.

But I’ve witnessed just as much suffering in marriage, as I have in divorce.  Sometimes….more.

Ideally, I believe in marriage.

I did the first time I said “I do”.

And I did the last time I said “I do”.

Between those “I do’s”  I erred.  I accomplished.  I failed.  I was sad.  I was happy.  I laughed.  I cried.  I cussed.  I sang.  I questioned my values and my decisions.  I made mistakes.  And I made the best decisions I could, for me, whether others understood them or not.   For some of those decisions I am sorry.  For some of those decisions I am very grateful.

But always I did the best I could at the moments when I had to do.

I am grateful for the love I’ve had.  It ending – does not take away the value of when it was.


Random Love Considerations

42 thoughts on “Between The “I Do’s”

  1. True, true and true. Again, another subject so nicely unwound
    I chose divorce many years ago for a better life for my daughter and me and decided not to remarry. Still, it gladdens my heart when I see two people still together, still clinging to each other. Yes, I agree with Paulette. This is one of the best things in life.


  2. I am twice divorced and have great respect for both the relationships that last, and the relationships that don’t. I agree that sometimes staying together until death is not the happy ending that it sounds like on paper. Thank you for sharing your vision of acceptance and love with the rest of the world.


    • Thanks Mrs. Finkling, I will pop over and give it a good read (I did a quick glance due to my rush to an appointment) and enjoy some other perspectives. I appreciate the time and the feed back. And the sharing of your story!


  3. Excellent post Colleen. I think you covered it all here. I’m married twenty three years but it has taken work and compromise as well as providing joy, happiness and wonderful companionship.


    • Thanks Tric. I’m sometimes “sad” that I have been divorced. Though it was the right thing for me. It sometimes just makes me sad – that divorce was part of my picture. It goes against the things I learned as a child that stick with us forever. That’s where the sad comes in.

      The happy is that in my marriage now I have found full support, sharing and incredible strength in relationship. Which is what I wanted. And needed.

      Congratulations on 23 years. And all of the work and joy that has been lived in that time.


      • I think it is only luck that I met the man I could live with as we met and married so young. I have family separated and divorced and now in new relationships, they are so happy. Everyone deserves to be happy. Life is short and can be hard it is great to share it with the right person, even if it takes us time to find them.


  4. Another wise and well-written post, CM. Ideal is a funny thing. I think what was once ideal might not be anymore. “Ideal,” in my opinion, changes. How could it not since we are always changing?


    • I’ve seen ‘ideal’ turn to ‘eh…not so much’ anymore. And I’ve seen ‘ideal’ be something I cherish from the side lines. There are some relationships that are so incredibly good, that just the viewing of them from the outside gives me incredible faith in commitment. But I know that comes with something from each of them. And I know sometimes the individuals in a pair don’t always have that ability to make the pair work. We do, indeed, change! 🙂


  5. I think that it always takes effort, our minds and bodies change, We need to continue to make the effort to keep the promises we shared when we say “I do” whether it is the first time in our life or the first time for a new commitment. We need to focus on who and why we are making this promise.


    • We do need to focus on these things Mary. I’ve seen some incredibly focused people work through some very difficult times. And I’ve seen some incredibly focused people not be able to make it work. But, WOW, when it works it is wonderful for them. And I have to say, I’ve seen some folks who couldn’t make a marriage work, make their focus be about them as individuals- to their benefit, and focusing on what they can do for their family, on their own, is amazing as well.


  6. I loved this post Colleen. It covers a multitude of my thoughts right now and makes me remember that my Hungarian Work Horse needs a little TLC at the moment. I feel that sometimes in the midst of life I forget to show him how much he means to me and what a good dad he is to our children.


  7. The figures show that people are waiting longer to get married than they used to . I think this is great since I know for myself I was not the man at twenty that I was at thirty. As you grow you hopefully learn and grow as a person. Some are lucky to find a partner that grows in the same ways, others not so much. Thanks for the words of wisdom.


    • Thanks Chris. And I miss you! The little house is awesome. Maybe I’ll get some pictures up. I’ve added a few touches. I’ll take some later, it will me more interesting if I wait until dark. I can light my candles!


  8. I really appreciate this lovely piece Chatter, it is inspiring, if sad. It is hopeful and a wonderful guideline for couples that are parting. It is all about the children too…they deserve peace and security and that means Mom and Dad shall remain civil and cooperative. Thank you.


    • You’re welcome, and thank you HeartaFire. I am truly saddened by people who break up and make life miserable for each other. I know there are millions of stories for breaking up. But I always hope that if there is a break up, there is a chance for happiness for each of them. And amen about doing it well for the children.


  9. People don’t often like to talk about the people who stay in a marriage but are miserable for the rest of their lives. That is definitely not to be held as a better alternative than making the painful decision to move on. Great post.


  10. Colleen, Sometimes you write something and I just wish I had been the fly on the wall as you went thru the process. To be able to watch you think, type, backspace and type somemore. I see you stare into that distant place you find your words, and watch you joyfully accept some as you reject others. This is a wonderful piece. Fulll of thoughts and emotions. Thank you for allowing your mind to grind it out. Take care, bILL


    • To be honest Bill, it would probably be pretty dull to watch me write. Unless you get the feeling from inside of me. Sometimes I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my head. And how did you know that I have to backspace????? 😉

      Thank you for appreciating the process. I suspect you know it well your self. 🙂


  11. Colleen – We change every day… and what we were is no longer. Sometimes people grow in different directions and have the grace to see it and accept it. My first marriage ended in divorce, but we both remarried, he’s still happy with his wife and I had 9 years of FUN with my second husband before he passed away. We see each other with the children on holidays and birthdays, and it’s fine. .. and the grown children had the opportunity to develop their own relationships with their Dad, apart from me. I would wish that all those who choose divorce could see the BIG picture and not only see what “I can get”.


    • I’ve had many discussions with others about how we grow, as people, within a relationship. Not recognizing our own, or our partner’s growth, and changing, can lead to problems. I’m amazed at those who choose divorce, and are no happier having done so, then when they were married.


  12. Beautifully written. I found my soulmate on the second round. So there is always hope. And I agree… working to make marriage successful is important, and they do take work. But there comes a time when it may be better to separate, and that does not spell failure. –Curt


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