I was just 21 when I got married. He had been a strong support for me during a very dark time in my young adult life and had been my ticket out of a “go nowhere” town. He taught me how to make it on my own and there was never a dull moment. He taught me to ski and operate a snowmobile as well as a manual transmission car. We went on hikes and enjoyed camping. He taught me how to fish on the Mississippi river on a pontoon boat we had bought and refurbished. I never knew that my life could be so full of adventure!
While we dated, we would talk for hours about anything at all. He was there for me when my ride forgot to pick me up from work. At eleven pm, from a different state, he woke up his parents, whom I had just recently met, to pick me up and drive me home. He was the only person I could truly count on in my life. After only six months of dating, I packed my things and moved halfway across the country to live with the love of my young life. We dated only a year before he asked me to be with him forever. I truly believed that I had found the man I would love for the remainder of my life. I couldn’t have imagined being with anyone else.
We were married the day before Thanksgiving despite our families’ protests. However, he was in the military, so time off was hard to come by. Neither of us minded much. I would have married him in a puddle, outdoors in Antarctica! It was a small wedding in my parents’ church. We would have a great reception that following summer and everyone that mattered was invited! That year is still one of the best years of my life.
We had our honeymoon in Yellowstone that spring. We left for open sky country the day I graduated LPN school. I made a photo album filled with over six hundred photos I took with our brand new DSLR. The camera is now gone as is the album, but my memories remain as vivid as the day they were created.
Two years later, he decided he had experienced enough of military life and we moved back to our hometown. Things were never the same after that. We both went through a period of depression and regret. Each of us longing for better. In 2008, I decided to go back to nursing school to finish my degree. His mother was an RN and we both believed that my higher education would be our ticket to a better life. Looking back, I know I chose the wrong career. The stress of modern nursing would drive a wedge between myself and the person I loved the most. As my stress levels rose, so too did the arguments. Neither one of us quite knew how to help the other de-escalate. I found myself bouncing from job to job never quite satisfied with my choices nor my life. He too, was stressing over missed opportunities to get a degree and realizing that the real world was nothing like that of the active military.
We began going for almost nightly jaunts where we would savor a cup of local coffee while we walked the streets of our small town attempting to reconnect that lost spark we both desperately hoped to still exist. Instead, our relationship became worse. We fought on an almost daily basis. We were completely unable to connect on even the most basic level of mutual understanding. Our feelings toward each other changed from an “us against the world” mentality to that of resentment and loathing. Neither one of us wanted to come home at the end of the day for fear of what horrible fight was looming just behind our front door.
We attempted counseling as well as utilizing family and friends. In the end, we just couldn’t make the necessary changes. We had grown too far apart, and hurt each other far too badly to ever be able to repair what was so inexplicably broken. Suddenly, our marriage of almost ten years, smoldered in a crumbled and lecherous mess beneath our broken and battered feet. Our souls and hearts lay beaten and empty on the pile of burning ash.
It’s been four and a half years since my husband and I separated. We have since both moved on to new relationships and lives. I have become quite successful in a number of my endeavors and I have grown both emotionally an intellectually. I will never regret my decision to walk away, but I don’t think I will ever be able to forget those ten years. They were some of the best as well as some of the worst parts of my life. I will probably never get married a second time, but I will always cherish the marriage I had.