My father always said, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” I try to keep that in mind when I’m asked about marriage. Talking about marriage is something I dislike. It always makes me feel like a loser when I say I have been not one, not two but three times.
I don’t want to go into the story of my life with the people that find themselves superior to me because their marriages endured. It is especially annoying when they determine that all three of my marriages don’t add up to the totality of their single marriage.
Does it matter that the love of my life died within four years of our vows to each other? Does it matter that I became a single parent three times in my life? Does it matter that I raised five stepchildren into adulthood? I think it doesn’t, to these narrow-minded people who like to praise themselves for their amazing achievement.
There are no perfect couples. Of course, it goes without saying that marriage is hard work. So what secret did these couples poses to aid them in their ability to withstand the test of time?
Why do marriages succeed?
After many years of concentrated thought, I have come to the conclusion that it was pure luck and timing. It was luck because the two people involved chose a partner that gave them the freedom to be themselves. This is not a matter of age or advanced wisdom. This is strictly not demanding their views on marriage and life to be their partners. It is accepting the partner as they are and not as the other wants them to be. It was timing because there is a readiness within each person on life’s central questions: work obligations, socializing, children or no children, advanced education, travel, family commitments.
Anyone of these central questions can be a deal breaker. For example, a person wants children and the partner doesn’t. Or a person wants to travel around the world, and the partner doesn’t. Or a person wants to pursue an advanced degree, and the partner sees this only as a waste of time and money. These are all examples of timing.
Failed marriages gave me experience
So instead of feeling like a loser, I feel like I ventured more than once. I feel like the experience and knowledge that I gained from each marriage made me the person that I am today.
Who is that person? It is a person that dared to give and love to the very best of her ability. It is a person that has learned to be content alone. It is a person that has grown exponentially through every experience. It is a person that sends love and admiration to all fellow travelers who ventured more than once.