Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Still Celebrate Love

Going through a divorce can leave you bitter and skeptical of all things having to do with being in love and being loved. For me, marriage wasn’t just about “eros” love, it was also about “agape” love, an unconditional love. So, although my marriage failed, love never failed.

My wedding day was a wonderful, fabulous, day. I remember stepping into the aisle holding my father’s arm and seeing my groom standing tall and handsome as ever. I cried as I walked to the altar toward my beloved. I saw him as a prince who loved me and was committed to my well-being for the rest of our lives. I was likewise committed to being his partner and to helping him accomplish his life’s goals. During the ceremony, he charmed me with an original poem and stunned me with a dip when he kissed me.

I wanted to have one, two, three, four, five babies with him and raise our crew in a loving, Christian home. I looked forward to my kid’s having a thoughtful, steady, protective father, helping them grow and learn. Lord knows I needed someone to balance me because I don’t necessarily believe in things like bedtimes or strict rules and such (but don’t tell my children that). I wanted, had and needed a present partner in parenting. I never imagined anything different.

I wanted to grow old with him. I loved him with all my loving. I still love him, though in a different way.

I had the luxury of mourning the death of my marriage while I was still married, somewhere in that last quarter of my time as a wife. Somehow I got allocated to an opposing team and no matter what I did, he would retreat to his corner and play by rules I never understood. Too often, things just fall apart, and as our marriage disintegrated, neither of us had the skill or wisdom to pick up the pieces and move forward as a united front against the enemy of our union. I was married, but I was in mourning. Looking back, I remember running on the Braes Bayou in Houston and tears were streaming down my face. I saw an older Indian couple sitting on a bench and I yearned to run up to them and plead with them to give me the secret to bridging the gap between me and my dear husband. What did I need to do to stay together as long as they had? Yes, I mourned while I was still married, and by the time I signed the paper that ended our union, I had only a few tears left.

When I told him I was leaving, he insisted that we talk to someone at the church. I reluctantly agreed, but for various reasons, I knew we wouldn’t find healing in any meetings at the church. Once we met with and told an elder what was going on, it was comical watching him fumble around trying to get us an appointment with the busy pastor. This matter was beyond his elder training I guess. Thankfully, the pastor knew me well enough to know that I was already gone and that I would be all right.

There are thousands of books about relationships, why they fail and how to keep them from failing. I could tell you five reasons a marriage fails and ten ways to avoid that failure. But my declaration today is that even after all I’ve been through, I still celebrate love.

I still love weddings. Even after going to one of the most beautiful weddings and then hearing that the marriage fell apart within a few months, I still celebrate love. At every wedding I’ve been to, they say that love never fails. And that’s a reason to celebrate.

I know my marriage was meant to be a lasting covenant, a model of love. Sadly, my relationship with my handsome groom failed, but thankfully love did not fail. Our love spawned two (not five) sweet children. Time and events have reshaped our love which abides in a friendship that began when we were teens. After nine years as a wife and in the eight years since the union ended, I learned that my human failures could never extinguish love.