Our marriage relationship is ever evolving. They never stay where it starts. Nor should we want it to. We are evolving as a person which means our marriage will evolve as well. When we said “Yes” to his proposal, we were so naive and didn’t fully realize exactly what we were truly signing up for. Marriage was after all our reward for dating. (makes me chuckle bc it’s so much work) But it’s ok that we didn’t know the depth of the commitment at the start bc our intentions were good. Love as we understood it then was strong and we felt such a bond with someone we felt very strongly about. That’s a great start.
I loved what I heard TD Jakes say once, “When you’re dating, you are only meeting their representative.” It’s so true. He met our representative & we met his. We didn’t reveal all of ourselves upfront and neither did he. We wanted to make a good impression so we could earn the reward for dating. So we went above and beyond to care, help, ask, promote, promise, smile, consider, do, be, and show. We did all that to impress. And he did, too. We were both fronting for real. What’s ironic is all the ways we showed up when we’re dating soon becomes the exact stuff we complain about being asked of us in the marriage. It’s true. On the evening of my marriage, my Granddad said to Chuck, “What it took get her is what it takes to keep her.” I listened boastfully like “Tell him Granddad.” Truth is Grandma should’ve been saying the exact same to me bc Lord knows it goes both ways. So keep that representative flow handy.
What we discover is a daily need to recommit to one another as our marriage evolves and changes. Daily bc it gets real... Ok. Life is so fickle, guaranteed to be full of so many highs & lows. It’s generally not the highs that trip us up though - it’s those doggone lows. Circumstances, situations or conditions come up that challenge our daily decision for our marriage. Those challenges come at us hard as heck, often making us wonder and flirt with whether or not it’s worth it. Finances. Family. Sickness. Loyalty. Something else. Doesn’t matter - when any of it hits a low, we begin to question our relationship’s worth. We question our decision to marry, we question ourselves and we question him. Everything gets questioned. Was it the right choice? Is it the right thing for me to recommit today? You may not use language like recommit daily. Maybe you say, should I stay? And if you’re like me, having been raised around nothing but independent divorced women, you really begin to question his necessity in your life. You know, “I can do bad all by myself.”
I’ve lived and experienced all that. I’ve even acted on it as Chuck and I were separated for a time early on. There were a couple of things that stopped the wavering for me. While the feelings and realities that I had to deal with didn’t go away, I was settled and I stop flirting with leaving my marriage. Simply put, around year 5 of our marriage, I made decision that divorce was not an option. Period. And I never backed down from it even when things got bad. We still had rough patches but I’ve never put it back on the table. Interestingly, I made that decision for myself. To this day he & I never talked about it. I wasn’t interested in trying to make a pact with him on that point. Truth is - we already had a covenant. I had to settle myself.
I believe if you leave divorce as an option, you’ll flirt with it & be tempted to play that card. I believe that if remain open to divorce, it will always be a consideration you flirt with. So I took it off the table for myself which meant I had to figure things out otherwise. Making that decision for myself allowed me to fix my focus on till death do us part. It allowed me to embrace growing old together. It allowed me to look farther and always begin with “We’ll get through it” rather being surprised that we did. No way does this make things easy - it just helps me to focus on true solves to our problems rather than leaving.
Here at First Wives Club, we are for you & your marriage. Our goal is to support you as a wife. We recognize being a wife is likely one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but we believe you can win. You’re in the right position to do so. Stay together. Grow old together.
Author: Denise Taylor
I’m on a mission to help professional women thrive. Hear me loud & clear... Don’t Settle. You can have it all. I live a blessed life & you can too.