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.


PatriciaW said...

Renea, I'm sorry your marriage failed. After nearly 21 years, I know how much goes into keeping a marriage together, and I'm thankful that we've survived the seasons when it looked like we wouldn't make it this far.

Yet, I'm happy that you still celebrate love. Love is eternal and love is always available to be had. If you ever marry again, hopefully it will be forever, but no matter what, continue to celebrate love.

Phyllis Walker said...

I too am a hopeless romantic and believe in love and marriage God's way. I married my high school sweetheart after dating 12 years. Sadly, that marriage didn't last 2. I did get a beautiful daughter out of the union and now telling my age, that was almost 27 years ago. I will forever believe that it can work. I see it around me every day. Good writing Renea.

Pastor George said...

Good Morning Renea... I just read your blog and appreciated your candid grace in revealing your heart. I am so sorry that your marriage ended and pray that God will continue to give you His amazing grace. Thankfully, my wife and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary next month and we know we owe it all to the Lord. Please know that your brother in Maryland is praying for you and yours. Pastor George

Sandra W said...

Appreciate your expressive post, Renea. I'm sure you had many of us going back down "memory lane" -- LOL! Thank God, love NEVER fails. After my union ended after 25 years, God has shown me HIS everlasting love in so many ways. I, too, love weddings & was so happy for KM and to witness her union to a wonderful guy. Truly a testimony. To those who are married, it is definitely hard work...but, continue to work hard together.

jacquicross said...

Wow.....such emotion. Well...being in marriage number three, I have definitely learned that marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be sometimes. It is definitely something that you have to constantly work on. I tend to be flighty, meaning at the slightest drama...I'm ready to go...but I learned that if you love someone, you have to stick it out, constantly pray and above all learn to communicate and fight fair. Bringing up situations and mistakes of the past is also a no no in arguments as that tends to show the other person that you really haven't forgiven or forgotten the incident. No one can be sure if their marriage will last. Sometimes if seems that Christians give up sooner than non Christians. People just don't have fight left in them anymore it seems. The world has changed, values seem to have changed. The only way it will last is if you are really willing to honor the vows you made....Till Death Do Us Part!

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate your candor in sharing about your marriage experience. In my circle of friends, most are divorced or never married so it would be easy for me to give up on love--but your post reminds me WHO love is. And for that, I thank you! God bless you!

Tracey Swan said...

My beautiful sister! Thank you for having the courage to continue to love and the same fearlessness I have always known you to have! The union of your love (yours and your handsome groom's smile) continues to live in your two wonderful children, even though the marriage did not. Indeed love never fails~ Sending you God's blessings,

Renea said...

What wonderful encouragement! Thanks to each of you. You inspire me to keep writing. ~Renea