The Death of a Marriage
Til’ Death Do Us Part
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part.”
Those were the words spoken, man, and we meant them back then, in pressed suits and marriage gown all white and shiny lace, smiles all around, laughter, gaiety, a future of happiness awaited us both, we showed up, we said the words, we kissed, tossed bouquets, drank with our buddies, danced the dance and then rode off into the sunset.
Red sky at night, sailors delight….red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
Was the sky red that night for you? For us? Did we heed the old saying or ignore in blissful ignorance?
We were going to have it all, the two-point three kids, white picket fence, two cars in the garage, credit card debt and big screen television, all the finest sprinkled with a healthy dollop of love, man what a future, man what a life, two of billions but the only two so fiercely in love and absolutely certain it would last forever.
Roll out the red carpet, the anointed ones have said “I do,” let the trumpets blare and let the games begin.
Why was I such an asshole? Why wasn’t I willing to bend just a bit, complain a little less, do a little more, be willing to compromise occasionally? Why wasn’t I willing to compliment her more often on her cooking, on her appearance and on all the things she did? Why wasn’t I willing to toss aside the ego and embrace acceptance? Why wasn’t I willing to hold her, stroke her hair, make love to her, kiss her, tell her I loved her, show her I loved her, all just a little bit more?
Why was I so willing to put her down so often? Why was I so dissatisfied with what she did? Why did I feel the need to pick at her, tear her down and toss her aside? Why was I so demanding, do this, don’t do that, can’t you be quicker, can’t you be more assertive, can’t you be more loving, can’t you be more…more…more?
When did I stop seeing her as the most beautiful woman in the world? When did I stop telling her about her beauty? When did I decide to put her down, beat her down, tear her down, and turn my attention to another? When did I find more comfort in the arms of other women?
Why couldn’t I just learn to communicate, to share my feelings, to tell her about my fear, my anger and my insecurities? Why did I have to strike out with my words, make her feel less than, make her feel stupid, unsafe and unloved?
Was it really necessary for me to try and change him? I loved him once. I thought he rose above them all when we met, his charm, his good looks, his sense of humor, the way he made me feel special each and every day….but I couldn’t stay satisfied. I had to ask for more. I had to keep prodding him to do more, earn more, be more, and why was that? If I loved him when I met him, why did I try to change him?
Dress nicer, stop acting like a kid, pick up around the house, stop being such a slob, why do you spend so much time with your friends, why don’t you work harder, why don’t you take life seriously and provide more?
Honey, the lawn needs mowing, honey, the trash needs to be taken out, honey, there are errands to do, stop watching the football game, dammit, and help me with the shopping, can’t you just be more responsible? My mother says you should be more like my dad, did I really say that, did I compare him to my hero and make him feel lacking? Was I really ashamed to be with him because he always wore jeans and a t-shirt? Did it really bother me that his hair was always un-kept and he had a couple beers at night? Were those really issues worth fighting over?
I could have been nicer to his parents, didn’t have to insist that every major holiday be spent with mine, didn’t have to ask for the best products and make him feel bad when we couldn’t afford them. I didn’t have to tell him he wasn’t the lover he once was, hurt his ego, steal his confidence, and crush his spirit.
What was I thinking? What was I lacking in myself? Why wasn’t I happy with the way things once were?
The Little Ones
Why is daddy always angry? Why is mommy always sad? Why are there so many tears? Why don’t we all watch television together like we used to? Why don’t we go for drives or go for walks or go to the park like we did when we were young?
Why is mommy always angry? Why is daddy always sad? Why are there so many tears?
And why do I feel like it’s my fault? If I had only been a better little girl, mommy and daddy would be together again. If I had done my chores when I was supposed to, if I had been more polite, if I had cleaned my room more often, if I had hugged them more, then maybe they wouldn’t hate each other so much and maybe then they would love me more. Maybe I wasn’t pretty enough. Maybe I wasn’t funny enough. Maybe I wasn’t loveable enough.
Why can’t it be the way it used to be? I don’t like spending weekends with just daddy and weekdays with just mommy. I want daddy to read me stories at night, every night, and mommy to make dinners at night, every night, and I want them both to tuck me in at night and kiss me on the forehead and tell me I’m special, just like they once did, so long ago, so many days ago, so many happy days ago.
Why am I crying all the time? Why can’t I be happy again? Why is life so horrible?
Till death do us part, or not!
Visits to the counselors and shrinks, visits with the priest and the parents, lonely days and lonely nights, just barely holding it together, reconstructing lives with duct tape and baling wire, hoping the patchwork holds for another day, just keep it together in public, at work, out shopping, then home where you can fall apart in peace, maybe a couple glasses of wine and sweet oblivion, any Port in a storm to keep you from remembering how it once was and how it never will be again.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda, the holy trinity of regret, weighing you down, at times suffocating, at times restraining, invisible bonds holding you in place, keeping you from making progress, binding you to a past that continues to harm long after the death of a marriage.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)