I admit it! I hated men after my marriage went south. I didn’t really acknowledge this fact. Maybe it was the depression or maybe the anxiety of being pregnant, but men represented evil for me. It wasn’t until my friend asked why I hated him all of a sudden? Did I realize that I was wearing a man-hater medallion around my neck? But being as stubborn as I am, I told him that was poppycock. I told him I was angry in general, but I freely admit his statement was true.
My marriage was a battlefield and not in a good way. I allowed myself to be walked over, abused, berated and embarrassed all because I didn’t want to fail. Failing in marriage is one of my biggest fears, but I should have had more important fears than that.
Becoming an empowered mother of an amazing girl has taught me a few lessons:
1. Never let one person change your views of a group of people.
In my case, men. Not all men are bad or are going to make your life miserable. Lashing out at someone because of your anger isn’t going to make you feel any better. In fact, it may leave you facing more difficulties than you planned for.
2. Not all compromise is good.
When you begin to “compromise” to avoid fighting, you’re not compromising, you’re giving in. Compromise means actively coming to agreement, but when your compromises are accepting your mate’s terms just to get them off your back, you’re losing.
3. Sex does not equal intimacy.
Although sex is a vital part of a marriage, having it doesn’t mean your marriage is okay. My marriage lacked intimacy. My husband needed his own set of covers at night and ran away from me when I tried to come close to him. I never realized how much it hurt until I realized it was a symptom of the intimacy problem in our marriage. I needed to feel safe and close to the person I had pledged to love all my life, but instead I felt as though we were roommates or maybe just good friends. This person was the last person I wanted to be stuck in a room with, let alone a bed.
4. Know when to say “uncle.”
I wanted so many things. When our marriage fell apart, we were in the process of adopting. Then I discovered I was pregnant with our miracle baby. But even before her creation, I had checked out of the marriage. I didn’t like my husband. I loved him and I wanted, for the sake of the family we had and were creating, to make it work. We’d lost a lot in the years that we were married and the last thing I wanted to lose was him. I wasn’t ready to admit that marriage required the commitment of two people and no matter how hard we tried, we weren’t committed to each other anymore.
My marriage ended without much fanfare. We cried in each other’s arms before I drove away, back to California. We had failed each other in our promise to love one another until death do us part, but we had finally recaptured the ability to be ourselves. We had reclaimed our lives. And, above all, I learned that being committed to not failing in marriage is good, but you can not make someone do right by you.