You remember that episode of Divorce Court? The whole episode was amusing and depressing at the same damn time. There is something to be said about marrying the wrong person. And Brother Lucas married the wrong person . . . . . again. Throughout all the stupidity that Ms. Lucas displays, I couldn’t get my mind off the fact that this was the second marriage that Brother Lucas subjected himself to. Did you catch that line about his first wife scaring him? Evidently, he didn’t learn any lessons from his first marriage because Ms. Lucas is probably just as delusional as the first wife! Sadly our inability to learn from our mistakes leads us to make the same mistakes . . . . just with different people.
Going through a divorce is one of the most painful things anyone can experience. I’ve been single now for over six years and I have yet to remarry. Trust, it’s not because I don’t want to. Far from it. The losses that I have incurred have made me wiser and I don’t believe in making the same mistakes twice. Getting divorced and going through separation from my children is painful and confusing. But what I have gone through has taught me five valuable lessons . . . . . . .
Lesson One: Love Yourself First
I think Mary J. Blige said it best when she sang “How can I, love somebody else, if I can’t love myself enough know when it’s time, time to let go?”. All Mary wanted to be was happy. Don’t we all? Happiness in a relationship cannot exist if you don’t love yourself. In my previous marriage, I didn’t love myself. I placed my low self-esteem in the hands of a female who was happy to manipulate and command my every movement. Like most men, I didn’t want to argue or bring discord to the home. I just wanted to be able to pay down my student loans and watch PTI. After a while working, going to church, and watching television wasn’t enough for me. I was afraid to birth the talent and gifts I had inside of me because I didn’t want to trouble the waters. I was tired of existing and wanted to live life. I started to believe in myself and the dreams that I had. I was evolving. Unfortunately, this did not make my spouse happy and love didn’t live with us anymore.
Lesson Two: You Need A Sponsor
Marriage is an investment of one’s time, talent, and labor. It can seem like it’s not yielding a profit most days and you have to continue investing. There are days you want to withdraw and invest in other stock. This is where you need a sponsor. And I wish I had a sponsor, counselor, or support team that was there to help me when my marriage was going through its storms. Ladies, you are constantly telling your business to other females. However for guys, we tend to keep certain things on the hush. Kinda like when you ask someone about the political affiliation? Yes, we are like that when it comes to our serious relationships. We don’t necessarily want to disclose issues of the heart to our boys. I know I didn’t. However, I needed a support group. Scratch that. I needed a male support group. Every relationship is going to experience highs and lows. It’s how you deal with the lows that determines whether or not you will stand and grow. I didn’t handle my lows very well. I dealt with them privately and then I began to tell other women about my issues at home . . . which was a BIG mistake. I had one guy friend that I would retreat to whenever I felt I was going to go off the deep end but by the time I looked for assistance, I was already too far gone. There is something to be said about having guys who are married who have been in the trenches for a long time to impart wisdom to you. I wish I would have gotten that knowledge before hand. Now I know better.
Lesson Three: Accept Your Failure
Ouch. Most people don’t believe that they are at fault when their marriage comes to an end. When I talk to females about their previously relationships, most (and by most I mean all) say that it was the guys fault. Always. When I ask the female what she did to add to the destruction of the relationship, she says “nothing”. Let me say this very clearly: It takes two for a relationship to go bad. Two, not one. I can talk about what my exes didn’t do in my previous relationships all day but true maturity is exhibited when you can say what you did wrong in the relationship. I remember that prior to the divorce papers being signed that I apologized to my ex-wife for the failure of our marriage. She was upfront in the person that she was and I thought that she would change when we got married. Good sex does not equal good communication. That right there should be an honorable mention . . . . . . .
Lesson Four: Communication, Communication, Communication
Sounds elementary doesn’t it? Funny thing is communicating effectively is one of the most difficult things to do in a relationship because people are so busy trying to win your vote for spouse. Something will have to sustain you once those perky breasts start to sag and you can’t make your little man jump on command anymore. Mental stimulation is a need. The ability to convey one’s heart in a non-threatening environment is the key to a healthy relationship. Don’t get married if you don’t feel safe sharing your thoughts.
Lesson Five: It’s Not About You, It’s the Ring . . . .
Now, I’ve talked about being taken before. And the reason why I talked about the situation is because this is what I lived. I have never, and I mean never, had so many women wanting to compromise my integrity until I was married. Now check it. I was the humble, quiet, round guy in school so I didn’t have a lot of females coming my way. In college, I discovered confidence and a healthier lifestyle and began to have some women on the payroll. When I said I do and the ring united with my finger, I got hit on frequently. I was approached by women so often that I started to believe that I was the shyt. Divorce didn’t bother me initially because I had my choice of women to choose from afterwards. Don’t you know when the divorce was finalized, my phone stopped ringing? There were no more hotel getaways. No late night creeping. Nothing. It was then I understood that it was all about the committed relationship I was in. And if I had a sponsor, I could have avoided this lesson.
“In the end MARRIAGE isn’t about Happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come”