Because Marriage is Hard

Marriage is hard. Harder than math. The algebra kind. Of math… not marriage. I don't know if there's an algebra kind of marriage. If there is, that shit would be exponentially harder.

Mr. Jones was getting on my last nerve just days before we boarded a plane to a resort in Baja Sur. It had been building for several months, beginning with the move and leading up to just two weeks prior to the trip, where it finally subsided, but in no way had disappeared. Several times, I came close to sending a lie via email to my PR contact. I had it all planned. I would tell her that Mr. Jones had to work and that he couldn't get out of it and we would both say, of what a bummer for Mr. Jones, but the trip will still be very enjoyable. 

But my deep seeded Catholic guilt won out and I wasn't able to A) lie and B) punish Mr. Jones for being a jackass, even though I thought he deserved it. 

Why was I so mad at him?

Because life LIFE IS HARD!!! 

Throw in a few months of unemployment and of picking the last pennies from the "extra money" account and moving an entire home into storage or across the border, not to mention losing all of my plants that kept me calm in times of stress… and all of life's regular hardness has an extra sharp bite that hurts. It makes you fragile and it makes your relationships even more fragile. And hot headed Latinas should NEVER be around fragile relationships when they are particularly… hot.

Within a day of arriving at the resort, I could feel my shoulders relax. I let out the breaths I had been holding and I breathed in the fresh air. Within a day of being there with Mr. Jones, I remembered the thing that we promised each other so many times before. The one promise we have not properly honored.

"Let's make sure we get away together often," we always promise.

We make that promise because we know that we need that time to be a couple. We need that time to get away from life and kids and laundry and car problems and bills and just be a couple. We need to carve out that time and that money and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Otherwise, we'll find ourselves spending that same money on lawyers.

Again. 

I'm organizing all the pictures I took from our fabulous trip to Villa Del Palmar in Loreto and I will have a wonderful post about our experience up shortly. But I couldn't tell the story without unloading the truth about the days leading up to the trip. And I certainly couldn't put it in the post that I'm going to write for the very nice people that flew us there. So here it sits. Judge or nod your head. It's all good.

And if you're in a relationship, you'll read about Villa Del Palmar Loreto and you'll want to go there and I'll say, "GO THEN!" Because marriage is hard… but love is sweet.

And we need the love.

And all the feels.

For Better and For Worse

~"The choice to follow love through to its completion is the choice to seek completion within ourselves. The point at which we shut down on others is the point at which we shut down on life. We heal as we heal others, and we heal others by extending our perceptions past their weaknesses. Until we have seen someone's darkness, we don't really know who that person is. Until we have forgiven someone's darkness, we don't really know what love is. Forgiving others is the only way to forgive ourselves, and forgiveness is our greatest need."

- Marianne Williamson

Eleven years ago, my husband and I made a mistake. We got married. We really shouldn't have (we both had our issues), but you know... fools rush in and all that.

After that, we compounded our impulsive decision by adding more kids (I already had two) and a mortgage. The kids were a blessing, but the house... oh, the house. I often wonder how our lives might have been different if we would have been more patient and not tried to keep up with The (other) Joneses.

We went back and forth so many times. Separation was hard on us. And then one day, it wasn't. I went back and forth from hating him to loving him. Then one day, I felt nothing. My feelings toward him were, for the most part, neutral. I began a new life, as did he. We were both finally seeing our hard work come to fruition. We even began dating other people. Why not? We were pretty much divorced. Just not officially.

When we were just a couple of months away from finalizing our divorce, something crazy happened. We got back together. This time, for good.

It's so hard to explain how it all came about. I used to pray that God would soften his heart to make things easier through our divorce process. Well, his heart did soften. I guess mine did, too. He finally agreed to go to counseling. There, with a neutral party, we shared our feelings and concerns... and fears.

We talked about officially divorcing (since we'd already racked up all those legal fees) and starting off with a new marriage... a new date to celebrate. But a wise friend reminded me that it's so important to celebrate the whole thing... the good, the bad, the better and the worse.

Today, we celebrate it all. From the first mistake to the eleven years of learning and growing, separations, reunions... and healing.

Our past and our future.

Happy Anniversary, Larry. I love you.

The Conversation

While I was on my trip, I had a chance to read a book that was sent to me by a friend. It's about building trusting relationships. I know... I know... I'm in the final stages of divorce so what am I doing talking about relationships? Divorce is no fun, so if I can help people avoid any mistakes I've made by sharing my stories or passing on resources, I figure we're all better off.

Hill Harper has recently wrote a book that takes a look at relationships called The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships. Although the title speaks to the African-American community, there's a lot of great insight into many of our communities where the family unit is disappearing.

Before a Relationship

Relationships are tricky business, one made even more difficult when we don't care for ourselves before meeting someone. In The Conversation, Hill talks about loving yourself before loving someone new. When we give "good love" to ourselves, we are less likely to settle for a less than righteous and fulfilling relationship.

Friendship First

The Conversation also goes into friendship in a relationship. Hill says that in order to have a healthy relationship, the train should be Attraction, Friendship, then Intimacy. Unfortunately, some times we go from Attraction to Intimacy too quickly and never have the pleasure of becoming Friends.

On Commitment

There is nothing a woman has to do to get a man to commit. The Conversation talks about being the best version of ourselves and that will attract a man that sees that special spark and will value her. She does not need to be anyone other than who she is.

AMEN!!

What to Look for in a Mate

The book talks about how people tend to look for status when they should be looking for potential. I get a wee bit squeamish with the word potential. I think it might give you the idea that they can change someone or that someone might "settle" for a partner that may not see their own potential. Rather, the book discusses how two people in a relationship can buoy each other during times of growth and improvement, working together towards their goals.

"There's a power in partners that really reinforces a family and marriage. When you look at all the data, people who are in partnerships tend to be happier. They tend to be more successful. They tend to have less stress overall."

Harper also goes into the problems he sees facing the African-American Community. He believes that "Black men have failed int the area of male responsibility and accountability... We as black men rarely hold other men accountable when we clearly see they are not living up to their responsibilities with the women they are dating or married to, and even worse, with the children they have fathered... At times, we even cover for them."

Hill starts the conversation with frankness about the demise of the family unit and what he sees as the challenges and opportunities to help build stronger communities through stronger relationships.

Do you have a book club? Would you like to discuss this with friends? I'm giving away five copies for you and your friends to read and discuss and maybe pass on the word to others about The Conversation they should be having.

Leave me a comment below. I'll pick a winner Sunday, October 3.

In his own words: