After 14 years of marriage–in 2003–my husband and I filed for divorce. The circumstances of our divorce were not the typical circumstances. However, like all divorces, once the paperwork was signed, we were no longer married.
I did not want to be divorced in public; I wanted to be married at home.
Dating seemed more complicated at 35 than 21. To say I was totally unprepared for what single life would be like is an understatement. What happened to I love you; do you love me; check yes or no?
I felt like the comedian Ron White as he told his infamous story about getting arrested one night. He was thrown out of a bar for fighting, and when he made his way outside a police officer arrested him for being drunk in public. Ron, in his humorous voice, tries to talk his way out of the charges by saying he did not want to be drunk in public he wanted to be drunk in the bar. Well in Ron White fashion… I did not want to be divorced in public; I wanted to be married at home.
I soon realized that the “I” in divorce stood for–if things got done–I would have to do them myself. There was no more team. It was just me. When you get that first glimpse of reality, it makes you start to think about all the things your spouse did that you did not recognize. Better yet, it makes you realize what you now have to do. Here is what I learned.
1. There Is No Lawn Fairy
I am not sure who I thought cut the grass, but during the time we were trying to sell our marital home, I noticed the grass was knee high. It was that moment that brought clarity to me. There was no Lawn Fairy. The only way the grass was going to get cut is if I hired someone, or if I got brave enough to cut it myself. I think knowing that our lawnmower was self-propelled would have been nicer. Instead, I spent three hours attempting to cut the grass myself. I felt utterly defeated when I called the lawn guy.
2. The Grass In Not Greener On The Other Side
People often look at other’s lives and think the grass is greener on the other side. Having been on the other side of marriage, AKA divorced, I can tell you that the grass is not always greener on the other side. If people have green grass, it is because they took the time to fertilize, water and maintain the grass. You have to continuously pull weeds, and put Weed and Feed on your lawn so that the weeds don’t overpower it. That is what one must do in a marriage, too. You have to feed your relationship. You have to continuously do the things that keep your marriage healthy and alive. The minute you forget to do those special things in your relationship, then problems pop up.
3. Objects Are Not That Important
A lot of couples place a high value of obtaining more things. I will be the first to say I like nice things. But in the end, having a big house, a fancy car, and the membership at the country club are not as important as having a good relationship. I think people sometimes get lost in the American Dream and forget that things can be replaced but people can not.
4. Parenting Is Plural
I came to realize that all the little things that my husband did were actually things that freed my time.
There is a reason kids are born with two parents. Parenting was meant for two. Being a single mom was perhaps one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. I know a lot of single parents out there that do a wonderful job, but for me I will say having a partner to share the joys of parenting and responsibility is a lot easier than doing it alone.
5. Little Things Mean A lot
After 14 years of marriage, and 11 years of divorce, I came to realize that all the little things that my husband did were actually things that freed my time. If I could tell the younger me one thing about marriage, I would tell her to not take for granted all the things that her husband does, because all the little things mean a lot.
Photo credit: iStock
Marcie & Daria both sound like low-toned, catty, basic females. If all you took from that was that she didn’t want to mow her lawn, it’s time to do some self-reflection and some serious work in the personal development arena. You’re the same females who probably leave nasty comments on beautiful womens’ pictures in the Facebook newsfeed. Please hide under a rock. There are enough women like you out there. She clearly wrote this in admiration and respect for her ex husband as I’ve felt the same, too.
Dee, thank you for the kind words on my behalf. I hope you enjoyed my article. Have an awesome weekend!
Just saw this article- frankly I’m not surprised you divorced. If at the age of 35 you had to “get brave” to mow the lawn clearly you were missing some life lessons that even marriage and children somehow failed to teach you and in fact it makes you come across as (having?) been very entitled.
Haha I could see that too- I felt most the article was about “[I don’t have a live-in gardener/maintenance man/nanny anymore and I need that in my life]” lol Nothing about who they are as people really.
Marcie, I love gardening. I have never had a gardener before and if given the chance I would pass it up. It is very therapeutic –but I have also never had a manny before. Now that, I will be honest with you, if that was offered… I would be all over that. That is too darn cool to pass up! My ex-husband will be the first to tell you he was for sure not a maintenance man. He is an awesome Dad though. You are right about the article not saying what kind of people we are. I however have… Read more »
Daria, I just saw your reply. The article was written to show gratitude for my ex-husband. Too many time couples take to social media and or other platforms and start bashing each other. That is not my style. I chose to write this article with a humorous tone. Everyone knows there is nothing to “get brave” about when cutting grass. As far as being entitled, I don’t think I am entitled to anything. I am sorry that is what you took from the article. Check out my profile and learn a little about me. Wishing you all the best! -Michelle… Read more »
Michelle, outstanding article and so nice of you to give perspective on such a sensitive subject. My wife of 15 Years woke up one morning and said she was “done with our marriage” and that she didn’t love me anymore. This was early last year. After a very emotional few months and intervention from her parents, she came back to our marriage but only to officially check out last September. My world just shattered. I’m 42, she’s 35, we have four young children together under 13 years of age with the youngest being 4. I honestly feel that she’s going… Read more »
Cortez, I appreciate getting feedback from those who read my articles. Thank you for the kind comments! I am sorry for your situation. When you love someone and feel you have done everything right in trying to take ownership of your part of the relationship… it can be confusing when they don’t respond as we would expect/like them to. I am not sure of all the circumstances in your marriage. Based on what you have disclosed, she might need to take the steps that you did and find herself. Unfortunately, that is something she will have to come to the… Read more »
Thank you for your reply, Michelle. My divorce is still in the legal process and I’m already in a better place today than one year go. Turns out, wife was having an emotional affair with an old high school friend. She denied that there was ever anyone else involved. Eventually, she got caught by me. She and the guy made their relationship public soon after we sold home. In reality, although she put my heart through the shredder, I’m so much better without relationship with this guy lasted about three minutes. Veryy sad, tragic, and selfish that she put herself… Read more »
SRC, I am so very sorry for your heartbreak but excited that you were open to trusting another person with your heart. Congrats on the wonderful woman in your life and to you finding the happiness that we all deserve.
Much Love and Light,
So inspiring, encouraging and timely. I’ve been on divorce for almost 2 months after my wife left me without any eplanation or complain, even after apologising alot even infront of her parents she shot me down and she didn’t even want to hear me. I forgaved her though she ddnt want to come back, i did all i could to get her back because i loved her soo much but she decided she won’t and i’m now ok after stress, loneliness, sad, waste of 3years with her, and now i’m waiting for KARMA to do what it takes. Thanx once… Read more »
Naftaly, Sometimes the hardest part is letting go. Letting go to what was and what could have been. We can’t make someone love us.What we can do is love ourselves enough to move on and look for a love that will fill our souls. If you follow my writing on other platform you will see I mourned the loss of my marriage without even realizing it. I was not able to have successful relationships because I was unable to let go of my past one. When I made a clear choice to focus on my own faults and decide to… Read more »
Your last sentence ..”..now I’m waiting for KARMA to do what it takes..” made me have a “No wonder she wants to divorce him” moment. You cannot make someone love you and wishing ill against someone you loved before is immature. People think they have the right to hate others simply because their heart isn’t feeling them. GROW UP. Stop demonizing women who ask for a divorce. It’s usually not done light-heartedly.
Michelle, Many would have read the ‘taking for granted’ and ‘realization’, some cynics would have even read ‘needs a man to be happy’ but I read an important thing – the courage that would have taken for you to not just write this article but reach to this realization and even before writing, deciding to share this with the world. More importantly, I see a grown woman, who found the courage to find hope in what she broke off long time ago, and put it back together in stronger, wiser bonding for a lifetime. A big part of this process… Read more »
Szebastian, I am so glad you enjoyed the article. You are right about forgiving. It is more important to forgive ourselves. Whether it be for our part in a broken relation or whether it be allowing ourselves to be in that relationship. Forgiveness does not come easy and the act of doing to not doing it can consume outlives and hold us back from living the life we have before us.
As always thanks for following my work! I appreciate you!
Thank you for the share and congratulations on making it work. Are you able to share what changed in the 11 years to make it work a second time around?
Hi Todd, I don’t think it was one thing. I think it was a lot of growth and healing that needed to be done. We did not separate because we did not love each other; it was due to unforeseen circumstances that we both had to learn to deal with very differently. Here is a link to a Huffington Post Article I wrote that shares a little more. Also I am very honest with everyone when they ask. This is everyday deciding to try to do what we can to make things work. If you have more questions after my… Read more »
David, I am sorry to hear this. I think we should all act as respectful adults especially when kids are involved. I hope later you will be open to love again and even marriage. Not everyone is compatible I have learned. Best wishes to you and your kids. -Michelle
If I could tell my younger self about marriage, it would be to run the hell away….
The only good thing that came out of my 15 year marriage is my kids, and even they are being used against me!
Reena, I so appreciate your gratitude! Wishing you a wonderful day!
thank you for writing this piece 🙂
While you may seem ‘free’,
Low conflict divorce makes your life harder, not easier.
Yes, it does. You are correct , Al. I will share that after 14 years of marriage and 11 years of divorce in 2013 me and my husband got back together. :O)
That is great news, congratulations! Loved this article.
Thank you, Cathy! Thanks for taking the time to read my perspective of life.
Thanks for sharing this. That is really impressive that you were able to reconcile things. I am guessing your children are ecstatic! All the very best success and happiness in your wonderful marriage!!
My daughter is very excited… Some times. As you might know Daddies are very protective of their daughters so while I am strict her Dad is very protective and watches her like a hawk. She has her adjustment moments. :O)
Hi Michelle, don’t mean to appear intrusive, but just curious as to what happened? What made you decide to get back together? Did you realize in the end that you had made a terrible mistake?
Hi John, Sorry I am just now seeing your question. You are not being intrusive at all. There were a number of factors that we took in consideration to determine to try again. I wrote an article on The Huffington Post about it. Even though we divorced we coparented very well together. Our daughter is special needs. Let’s face it, having an “A” typical child is difficult in itself, add special needs to the mix and you learn that there is something bigger than your differences. In 2013 I had the person who ran my company quit without notice and… Read more »