To my younger friends I always say…”the most important decision you will make in your life is deciding who to marry.” This is a lesson I learned the hard way because no one ever told me how careful I should be. The first time around, I married because…it was time, everyone else was doing it, I was sure I could fix whatever was wrong with the relationship, and well, my clock was ticking. I have two amazing children from that marriage so I will never really regret it, but it wasn’t a very smart choice. I stayed for almost ten years in a bad situation because I thought it was the marriage I deserved and because I was afraid to fail.
Fast forward to the present day and I am married to my second husband. The one who dropped into my complicated, single mom life out of the sky when I had given up on love. THIS is my true love marriage, my second chance marriage. The marriage I always dreamed about but never thought I would have. We’ve been together for seven years and married for almost four. Of course, it isn’t perfect, but it’s really good.
Being married again has taught me some things I didn’t know before…important things that are good for everyone to remember:
You deserve a partner who loves the real you
“I like you, very much, just as you are.”
These are the words the dashing Mark Darcy says to Bridget Jones in the movie Bridget Jones’ Diary. It surprises her that someone could feel this way about her because her spirit has been crushed by love. Nonetheless, this is what we all deserve…to be loved and appreciated for exactly who we are, because trying to be anyone else is way too exhausting.
Trust and inherent goodness goes a long way
What I learned from my first marriage…you cannot fix the broken parts of other people. If the person you choose to share your life with is not honest and good at the core, you will know it very quickly and though you may try to fix it or ignore it, it will always be the elephant in the room. Listen to your gut and jump ship early if you think things aren’t right. My second marriage has taught me what it’s like to live with someone who is indeed good at their core.
Humble, honest communication is critical
It’s easy to disagree and not communicate about the tough topics. It’s much harder to eat humble pie and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Staying humble is a lesson I’m learning over and over and over again in my second marriage. We remind each other to come back to this place of humility when things get heated. It lays the groundwork for productive discussion. It allows your heart to stay open. With humility, communication, and compromise, you can solve almost any problem. I am so grateful for this lesson.
Understanding how each other needs to be taken care of will get you to the finish line together
There’s a book by author Gary Chapman called “The Five Love Languages.” In it, the author explains how different people show and respond to love in different ways. If you can learn to understand your own and your partner’s Love Languages, you can figure out how to best meet each other’s needs. This time around, I’ve learned a whole new way to show love and receive love and, most of all, to be my authentic self in the process. This lesson of learning how to love and be loved is something you can only do with a person you can be completely vulnerable with and who you know you can trust.
Some people are fortunate enough to meet their lifelong companion early on and stay happy and in love for their whole lives. For others, the road is rockier and it can be more complicated. No relationship is perfect, but if you value and respect each other, your relationship can be a great success story because you put in the work to succeed together. Everyone deserves true love, everyone learns lessons along the way, and at one time or another, we all rely on second chances.