During that strange period between when my former partner and I had decided that we would be getting divorced and when we actually separated, I (obviously?) had a lot of conversations about marriage and divorce with various friends and relations.
In the midst of one rather long and freewheeling conversation, I had one friend mention that – while they liked the idea of marriage in some ways – they didn’t understand how people could ever make the decision to do it. Because, after all, how do you know it’s going to work out?
I didn’t manage to articulate an answer at the time, but at it’s heart, this question always seems to miss the point for me. Because, um, of course you don’t know for sure it’s going to work out. Whether or not it works out isn’t ever going to be entirely in your own control even, since there’s another person involved, plus just the unpredictability of life in general. And anyway, in my case even if I had thought I knew for sure when I got married, I was proven wrong in the end.
But I never thought that in the first place. I actually went in with a very clear awareness that we might not be married forever, that getting married was just one of many choices we were going to be making throughout our lives about our relationship and what togetherness looked like for us.
I went into that marriage not knowing where it would lead us. But I also went in knowing a whole lot of other, much more important things.
I knew it was what I wanted.
I knew that the idea of us being together for the rest of our lives, as married people, made me happy.
I knew I liked the idea of sharing our lives and growing old together.
In short, I knew that if it did work out, it would be great.
I knew that based on the information I had available at the time, I was making a good decision.
I knew that if I didn’t at least try to have this thing with this person, I would regret it.
And because of all of that, I also knew that if for some reason it didn’t work out, I wouldn’t regret having made the decision to try.
And even now, I know that it was the right decision.
I know because, when we were married, I never doubted that it was what I wanted. Every day, I knew I wanted to be with this person, for the rest of my life.
And, nevertheless, it didn’t work out. I still have feelings about that, because of course I do, it’s an emotional sort of thing. I spent a lot of years planning for and make decisions around building a life that is no longer an option, and that will never come to be.
That really sucks. It just really, really sucks.
But, all of this also means that now, more than ever, I trust myself to make good decisions about who I want to marry.
So, while experiences of divorce – whether it’s our parents’ or our own – most often make people more reluctant to make that leap again (or at all), everything that has gotten me to where I am now, planning my second marriage, just makes me more sure that I’m doing the right thing, for me.
Because I know what I’m getting myself into, and I know that it’s what I want.
I know I want to try to have this thing, with this person.
So that’s what I’m going to do.