I asked Nora to share what it was like to be preparing for her marriage while I, one of her closest friends, was in the process of dissolving mine.
|Nora and I are the ones in the fuchsia shoes.|
When Kat asked me to write a guest entry on her blog, I was both extremely honored, and also very nervous. Discussing my wedding and marriage is one thing, but discussing how I felt about another person’s divorce is entirely another. But Kat has assured me that my honesty and perspective is welcomed and appreciated, so I will do my best to do this blog justice.
As many of you reading this know, planning a wedding is exhausting and time consuming, and by default, you become the center of attention. Because of these things, I constantly had to remind myself to stay grounded and to keep things in perspective…my wedding was not the most important thing happening ever. This came into play a lot with Kat. Don’t get me wrong, Kat was incredibly happy for me and supportive throughout my entire wedding process. But, I’m human and not an idiot, so I knew that watching one of her best friends start her life with the love of her life, while she was ending hers with the person she thought was the love her HER life was not easy, and at times, almost unbearable. At times, it was unbearable for me to even think about it. I admit to containing my excitement over certain things, mostly when it pertained to knowing how right my decision to marry Craig was. But at the same time, I also knew that Kat WANTED to hear about the band, and the photographer, and the fun party van I hired to drive the bridal party and their dates. Not just because she was happy for me, but because she is one of my best friends, a bridesmaid, and a huge part of my life. And for that, I will always be eternally grateful.
It was not easy to read her blog and find out that she had a meltdown at my bridal shower. I felt sad and like a self-absorbed idiot who was fawning over the 6th of the same place setting while her friend was crying her eyes out in the bathroom. This sentiment was echoed when I read about her meltdown at my wedding as well. It got to the point where she would ask me “have you read my blog entry this week, I promise it won’t make you cry.” But she always assured me that her intention was that I did not know she was crying while I was in my own little utopia and that I was not a self-absorbed idiot.
But the height of my realization of what a good friend Kat was to me and just exactly how difficult watching me plan my wedding while she was planning her divorce was happened when I asked her to come to my final dress fitting. I know that this sounds like a stupid thing for me to ask her, but she was doing great, had just told me how much happier she was and that she knew her decision to divorce Max was the right one. My mother and sisters could not come and she had not been to one yet, so I thought it would be fun. She told me that seeing me in a wedding dress was going to be very difficult and asked me if she could think about it. I said to her “Kat, you are going to have to see me in a wedding dress on my wedding day, don’t you think that is going to be difficult.” But of course, I let her think about it. I was hoping she would decide to come with me, not for my benefit, but for hers. She thought about it and in the end, she came with me, and told me that she was totally fine with it and was glad she came. And so was I.
I am told that blog readers like lists, so I will leave you with one. My sister finalized her divorce not too long before Kat filed for hers, so I’ve learned from both of these marriages/divorces.
Here are my top 5 lessons that I will remember in my marriage:
- Sometimes you just can’t fix what’s broken. Both Kat and my sister knew before getting married that they had at least one huge obstacle to overcome in their relationship. I’m not saying that the marriages should not have happened, but it is important to know that some things cannot be fixed and it is up to us to determine the deal breakers from the not deal breakers. Or what to fight over and what not to fight over. I will learn to pick my battles.
- Don’t sacrifice who you are, even just a little. Both my sister and Kat, to a certain extent, sacrificed a little of themselves. Both of their husbands were not very social (although for largely different reasons) and as a result it forced them to sacrifice nights out to stay at home with their husbands. In Kat’s case, I found that she did things or did not do things because of him that did not reflect who she was, what she believed in, or what she wanted. I know she ended up resenting this, and even if she didn’t, I did. Compromise is one thing, but when you are the one that is always doing the compromising, that’s a problem.
- Don’t give up too easily. The thing I admire about both my sister and Kat is their attempt to honor their commitment to their marriages. My sister held on because of the two children she shares with her ex-husband, and Kat because she truly loved Max and didn’t want to give up without giving her marriage the shot it deserved. I know there will be rough times in my marriage, but staying committed and keeping the lines of open and honest communication can be the difference between working it out and losing out.
- Sex is important. Both my sister and Kat were basically in sexless marriages. In Kat’s case, this ultimately led to the demise of her marriage. While I know that Max’s lack of sex drive had little to do with his well, lack of sex drive, and more to do with personal demons that he has still yet to face, it made me realize that it is important. It’s important to feel sexy and wanted, to make your partner feel sexy and wanted, and to be intimate in a way that only you and him can be intimate. It also makes me feel extremely grateful instead of annoyed when my husband wants to rip my clothes off after I’ve had a long and tiring day. At least he wants to, and I’m fairly certain always will.
- Don’t ever forget your family and friends. In the aftermath of my sister’s divorce, she has had to rely heavily on her family and, at times friends, for childcare. Kat and Max never had children, but she has expressed over and over how lucky she feels to have such supportive family and friends. As one of her supporting cast, I can attest. She has surrounded herself with a fantastic group of individuals. And this is largely because she is such a loyal, reliable, and wonderful friend. And most importantly, a fun ass person to be with. I know it is easy to get wrapped up in loving my husband and the life I am carving out with him, so I am making a solemn vow to make sure I stop to hang with and appreciate my wonderful family and friends who have been there for me through the good and the bad….even before I knew Craig.