Thursday, January 5, 2012

I did not marry well

When I say my marriage was not part of the river of my destiny, I usually fail to mention that during those years I had a great many experiences I would otherwise have missed. With my ex-husband I traveled around the world - literally. That's something I would never have done otherwise, I'm quite sure.

Maybe, if I hadn't been married to my ex, I would never have learned to cook, something he encouraged me to try. I love cooking, entertaining and feeding people. Learning to cook was and has been a wonderful, marvelous, deeply enjoyable experience. Cooking is fantastic, I LOVE cooking, but is cooking part of my destiny? No it is decidedly not. Learning to cook was a side-effect of my marriage, a lovely side-effect, should say.

What do I mean when I say my marriage was an off-ramp that side tracked my quest? My marriage was "wrong," ill-fitting, like a barrier I had to find my way around rather than a situation in which my ex and I could evolve and become better suited to life's exingencies. For instance, my ex discouraged me from going to massage school. He said the idea of me as a successful bodyworker was inconceivable. OK, did I have to listen to him? I guess not, but I did take his word quite seriously. He was a smart, creative man and I trusted his opinions.

Also he was staunchly opposed to getting a dog. What he said was that if I got one, he would have nothing to do with feeding, walking or caring for the animal. So I didn't get a dog. After we divorced he adopted a shelter dog who looked so much like Jake it was weird. Who knows what THAT was all about?

It was while I was married that I began to study shamanism in earnest - with no encouragement from my ex at all. He thought I should study Buddhism. He had nothing kind to say about my teachers, dismissed my budding spirituality as total crap, refused to allow me to build an altar in our house. Should I have fought for the altar? Who knows?

It's fair to say that my ex couldn't in any way perceive my talents, my potential. He was incapable of encouraging me to do the very things that have helped me become authentic. He was opposed to all the ways in which I've become whole, happy and fulfilled in my life. My role in all that was to take him so seriously, to trust his view more than what I wished for in my heart of hearts. I'll own that bit, for sure.

I guess it could be argued that my ex was a kind of guardian at the gate, someone I could have/should have challenged, or maybe it wasn't time yet for me to find my authentic destiny. I guess, maybe I was meant to sit around twiddling my thumbs for the better part of ten years. Looking back on it, it's hard not see my marriage as a complete waste of time.

My ex is not a bad person, was not a bad person, only blind to the real me, as was I.

I think of him now like the crazy blind man guarding the bridge in Monty Python's The Holy Grail. Just as with that character, he was jettisoned from my life when I finally questioned his opinions.

I row, row, row my boat these days, gently down the stream of my destiny, single and grateful.



tut-tut said...

feeling your way to the end of the wall. but, as you way, there are always some things to be learning as you go. interesting

ellen abbott said...

some men feel threatened by the success and accomplishments of their wives and do what they can to prevent such. Sounds like he was one of those.

tut-tut said...

as you say; learned. what was channeling through me?

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen, he was so controlling. And he resented my success. Walked out of the hall the first time I played ringmaster at a huge ritual. Later he said he had to pee but really he couldn't wait 5 minutes? It was very mean of him.

Steve Reed said...

It's so hard, in a relationship, to know when fair compromises stop and unreasonable demands begin. I can't imagine telling Dave he couldn't do something in our house (like build an altar). I would never just say NO, though I might try to suggest an alternative to a proposal I didn't like. I think Ellen might be right, too -- your husband may have felt threatened by you and your creativity.

Angela said...

I like the Monty Python sketch. It`s exactly what we should do - challenge the one who hinders us. But oh, it takes courage. You have to have a strong belief in yourself, and how hard is that to gain, when you are always told to listen and behave.
I feel like writing you an eight-page handwritten letter, Reya!

Nancy said...

I could never live with a man that wanted to control me. I'm uncontrolable. Now that is not to say I'm not influenced by what my husband thinks about certain things. It has taken until my fifties to finally declare who I really am, and that I'm not hiding it anymore. Thank goodness he is good with that, otherwise I'm not sure what would have happened.

nerima roberts said...

Your statement, "He was incapable of encouraging me to do the very things that have helped me become authentic. He was opposed to all the ways in which I've become whole, happy and fulfilled in my life." parallels my own failed marriage. Exactly.
Reya, how long were you married? I was married for too long. The sheriff served my husband with divorce papers on our 10th wedding anniversary. That was in 1995. I've never looked back, and I've never been more satisfied. I'm not going to say I'm HAPPY. But I am very satisfied now.
Thank you for sharing.

nerima roberts said...

One more thought. I was too young and stupid to not see a BIG RED flag when I was getting ready to marry: My husband-to-be couldn't stand his own mother. Imagine that. Any man who does not respect his own mother can't make a good husband. Huh.

Kerry said...

I think you were right to get out when you did. What would you have become had you stayed in this situation? To some degree, I do think everybody who is married sublimates a part of the self. But not every thing.