Late yesterday my friends JS and her wife invited me to dinner at their place. This was a real treat because their lives are so busy that get-togethers are usually planned way in advance. It felt really special to be included at the last minute. This says something about the way I was raised because I've always gone out of my way to avoid intruding on friends' lives when they are busy. And here they were saying, "come on over," as if I lived just next door. (g)
The burgers were good. I got to see their back yard for the first time. They have a gazebo that I love. They are picking really fragrant flowering plants so I look forward to seeing how their yard progresses. I met a couple of the neighbor kids who popped in and out to play with theirs. But the best time was after dinner when we sat on the sofa and I got to hear all about their wedding and see the album. They really put a lot of thought and planning into it making every detail special. It was obvious that each detail meant something to both of them and both felt equally vested in the ceremony.
That wasn't the case with my marriage. My ex's aunt and I did most of the planning. My ex had veto power on things he didn't like. His feelings about the whole thing were, "I want to be married, I just don't want to GET married." What a difference!
I remember when my sister got married. She invited me to be her maid of honor. When she walked down the aisle she and her future husband had tears in their eyes. I remember dancing at a good friend's first wedding. We all had high hopes and joy for him and his bride. I didn't get to dance at his second wedding but I like that wife much better. He is happier now than I've ever seen him. My sister's in her second marriage now and happier too. So is JS.
It seems most of my friends have been through more than one marriage. Looking back on the joy I see in my friends' second marriages, I guess we really do learn from experience. I learned a lot from the breakup of mine. Since then, I've figured out some of the things I don't want in my next marriage. I've learned a bit about what really suits me and what's good for me in a relationship. I've learned what kind of constant work such unions take. Most importantly, I think, I've learned the need to remain a separate individual in my own right even in the midst of trying to grow together as a couple. So, when I get a view of a marriage such as I had last night, I want to drink it all in and ken from my friends' joy what it takes to make a strong, happy, and lasting relationship.