What is it like to wed, twice, before you hit 30?
It’s uncommon to be in your twenties and pursue marriage, but doing it all over again before thirty? It could be considered insane. Well, maybe I am.
In 2005, I began dating a girl connected to what could be considered the most dysfunctional and broken family in Australian boxing. We dated for three years, got engaged, then married in October 2008.
The dating period was interesting. I was uneducated, never having had a relationship before, and thought it was all flowers and gifts. But we grew closer and closer, and then moved in together. We were in love so we married.
As it turns out, I was not ready to embark on what I consider to be the most sacred connection between man and woman. Twenty-months later, we separated.
I entered the darkest period of my life. Little did I know it would be the most transforming, as well. At one stage I felt like killing myself. I tried, but it wasn’t for me. I tried drowning my sorrows with alcohol, girls and a holiday. It still wasn’t for me.
I was convinced that everything that happened was my fault. I was to blame; I destroyed the marriage; I needed the help; I’m the complete and total screw up. It may be true in some way, but I know it’s not entirely. It takes two to embark on the journey, it takes one to walk away.
What was the sticking point? It was commitment. If I have learnt anything since, and I have more to learn, it’s that commitment is more than just saying, “I do”.
There wasn’t one occasion that resulted in this discord but a recollection of multiple events, words, actions and moments where trust was broken and forgiveness was absent. Neither of us wanted to forgive because neither of us knew the true meaning of it. I say that with utter respect, of course. Marriages don’t fall apart because people are always right, they crumble because neither can reprieve each other’s shortcomings. There lay the second sticking point; we lacked the ability to be honest and admit our wrongs.
We brought the issues into our marriage, and the conflict that arose from this couldn’t be resolved. I thought it was our age, our immaturity, but this isn’t about feeling sorry for me, it’s about what we learn. In the last five years, I’ve learnt a lot. The deepest regret I have, that ushered our downfall, is the lack of education into our marriage.
I’m embarking on a new journey with a new woman, now. We may know little about each other and we are aware that we don’t know everything there is to know about marriage but, why do it all over again? Because, I want to commit to one person, every day, whether that’s a good day or a bad day. I’m not that good, but the best me comes out when I’m living for someone else.
If you’re in your twenties and want to embark on the most incredible journey in life, then do. But do it with wisdom, strong friends and the curiousity to learn what marriage really is. I might have fallen the first time, but I’m taking my second chance. At best, I have that. This time I won’t let it go. – Marc Summers
Photo from Lel4nd’s Flickr photostream.