I've been married for 28 years.
Yes, I married at 18 years old.
Talk about young right ?!?! and in the beginning did not know what the fuck I was doing. Like I was just a kid wanting to feel like I "belonged" and getting married to a Marine was my ticket. I knew he loved me.. but I didn't know that he loved, loved me.
In my twenties when people would ask how long I've been married.. I would fib about it just out fear of being judged. I knew that the second I said the truth, it would be followed up with a question on people's faces and they'd sometimes jokingly ask "When did you get married ... when you were 13?" followed by a fake laugh. So...... I just avoided it and didn't honor the truth.
I went back to college numerous times because my story of worthiness and validation came from excelling in academics. For me - growing up.. that was how I was valued as a person. All through high school I remember just striving for that A+ and being the teachers favorite. This made me feel special. I even worked during lunch time with the cafeteria lunch ladies to help pay for my tuition. I developed a work ethic early one that has propelled me to where I am today and for what's next in my life.... and I am grateful.
However, at the time this made for a very small circle of friends in high school. Back then there weren't after school clubs for kids to feel free to self express so I just dug my head into the books.
I remember wanting to become the CEO of the Waldorf Astoria. I'm sure it has something to do with the movie Coming in America ( released in 1988 which sounds about right! ). Funny how somethings you remember so vivdly and others not so much. I wanted to work in hospitality. I guess my inner soul desire to serve and make people feel comfortable has always been a part of me. But then I got married and had a baby and the life took me in a different direction. One that has revealed many lessons and one that has brought me great joy and gratitude.
There were seasons where I displayed resentment towards my husband. Blaming him for taking me away from fulfilling my academics... asking myself why did I get married so young. But all of those moments became lessons where I started to journal and dig deep about why I was feeling that way. Truth is... I didn't know how to exist and be fulfilled without being graded by someone ... so how else could I gauge if I was a good person or not.. if I was worthy.. if I was enough...
He stood by me... steadfast ... like the Marine has taught him. ( my eyes water as I think back to those early days and years not because he had to and not for the kids; for him his pride and joy is his family ) and he taught me one of the biggest, core valued lesson that I could have ever accept as truth for me...
That I was unconditionally loved ..
.... because I am enough and so my journey of self love began
He saw past the bs and past the mistakes ( and there were many! ... on both ends ) and just loved me. and I am sooooo immensely grateful for him. He taught me about self love first. I know in my heart that he carries my heart inside of his every day and to some degree we helped to heal each other.
We chose love above the circumstances.
I told him a long time ago.... Because you're mine .... I walk the line ( Even if you're not a Johnny Cash fan the words are pretty amazing. If you have not heard it in a while... Listen to it !)
" You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line "
To my papa bear... Thank you for loving me with your purest heart. Thank you for being my partner on this journey. Thank you for all the laughter , all the forgiveness, all the laughter and the tears. I love our life and if I had to do it all over again.. I wouldn't change a thing! Grateful for you and your many gifts that you have shared with me. I am excited for whatever comes our way.
So dear friends, wherever you are in your relationship; be present and accept the lessons as they are. Does not matter if you've been married a long time or have been separated or divorced.. choose love above anything else. Self love first so that you show up in that relationship as the best version of yourself. Self love so you choose to live your life sharing the bes version of yourself to everyone around you.
It can get messy.. I promise you it will get messy ... but that's where the magic happens!!!
From my grateful heart to yours!