My marriage may have failed, but all is not lost from the eight years I spent with my ex-husband. Not only did I gain a daughter, but I also learned a lot about myself that I didn't truly know before I met him. Thanks to my failed marriage, I grew up and grew on.
1. He Taught Me To Stop Feeling Bad
Every time I wanted to or had to tell someone no to something whether it be a commitment or friend gathering, I felt awful.
"I feel bad," I would say, and each time he would tell me to stop feeling bad saying no. It's the one thing I admire most about him. He has no problem saying what he thinks and not feeling bad about it, although that caused fights with us at times. Still, I learned that even in my thirties I struggle to tell people no. I struggle sometimes to keep boundaries. And when I do finally say no, I sometimes feel like the lowest scum on the planet. In the past few years, I am starting to give those big girl panties some traction by putting my foot down, but it's still hard now and again.
2. I Don't Give Up Easily
There were many things I loved that my ex-husband didn't. In fact, he thought some of the things I talked about to be silly or perhaps unimportant, like blogging and my love for standup comedy. In my twenties I performed professionally and after having our daughter, I wanted to return to doing standup from time-to time, and when I first told him my idea, he asked me if I thought, "anyone would want to hear what I had to say." It cut me so hard because I wanted to say, "Yes, don't you want to hear what I have to say? Just a little?"
Even though he never told me to stop writing and didn't prevent me from doing comedy, he wasn't rooting for me. But did this stop me? No. It didn't stop me. I knew inside of myself that these things mattered to me and I wasn't going to give up because of some guy, even if that some guy was my husband at the time. I moved forward and sought friends for emotional support and criticism. So even if I can be a pushover at times and am sensitive, I didn't stop just because the love of my life didn't believe in me. I believed in me anyway.
3. I Don't Have To Believe Everything Everyone Has To Say About Me
There were times when out of anger, my ex-husband would say some pretty mean things to me. He apologized and I knew that most of these comments stemmed from anger and depression. Despite that, it still hurt. I remember when he told me I was a bad mom. I remember when he said I was useless. And when I went to bed at night, did I cry? Did I believe him just a tiny bit? I did. I believed what he had to say-- hook, line and sinker. But overtime as I thought about his words and then when we separated, I realized these things were wrong. I wasn't a bad mom and I wasn't useless.
Just because someone says something--doesn't make it true.
In many cases, things become true when we buy into them--when we believe these things about ourselves.
4. I Was Clueless
I had no clue about what a long-term relationship or marriage would really require. My ex-husband was my first relationship longer than three months. I had read books and listened to people talk about marriage and I knew it would be hard but still-- I really had no clue how hard it would be. And perhaps it was so hard to keep it together because we weren't well suited for each other but in the end, despite the fact that I was 32 when I got married, I wasn't really ready.
My ex-husband is a very hard worker. This man taught me that I needed to stay the course even if things got dull, difficult, or unsteady in many matters besides our marriage. I'm a total dreamer and this grounded man pulled me back down to earth many times and just told me to stay the path. It was something I lacked at times and needed and I found out how much I needed it by being with him.
There isn't ever a day in which I wake up and say, "Why did I get married?" Sure, there are times my ex cut me to the bone and didn't treat me well, but there were many times and years in which he did everything he could within his capabilities for me. I know he cared for me in the best way he could...and that he just wants what I want: love and family. I thank him for what he taught me about myself and I can only hope that he gained as much from being with me. In every cavern of life, there's always a diamond waiting to be found.