**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
After my first marriage ended, it felt like I had just survived a major car accident. I walked away from the whole thing both completely traumatized and utterly incredulous that I had made it out in one piece.
My first marriage was an abusive one — a total disaster from the get-go. The relief that I felt after finally leaving that relationship was like going outside into the sunlight for the very first time.
It was an exhilarating and eye-opening experience to realize that — yes — there is still a whole world outside of my abusive marriage to live in and to discover without fear, misery, or physical violence.
What a concept.
It was during this time that I decided I would never get married again. Not necessarily because my first husband had ruined the idea of marriage for me but because I had always been pretty firm while growing up that marriage was just not for me.
I never idolized the idea of marriage when I was growing up like so many other girls around me had. I never thought much about weddings or what mine might be like.
Marriage had never been one of my main goals to achieve in life, so deciding that my first marriage had just been a freak accident and vowing that I’d never get married again was an easy mental jump to make.
And then, several years later, I met my current husband.
We had both been married to other people and subsequently divorced by the time we were in our late 20s. Neither of us was too keen on the idea of entering into marriage again.
However, something had happened to both of us along the way.
We had both come to realize that marriage didn’t have to be a perfect blend of all of our hopes and dreams put into one big basket of unreal and unattainable expectations.
When we think of marriage, many of us have preconceived ideas about what marriage is supposed to be like when, in reality, a marriage is only as good or as bad as the elements, intentions, and baggage that two people bring into it.
The act of getting married won’t magically change a relationship.
Getting married won’t solve any existing problems or issues within a relationship.
This is what my current husband and I eventually realized and why we decided that we were both ready to embark on the journey of a second marriage with the full acknowledgment that the act of marrying wouldn’t fix problem areas in our relationship. We knew that the relationship we already had was strong — with or without marriage.
Our relationship was resilient enough to exist without marriage but it was also flexible enough to welcome marriage into the folds of what our relationship already was at its core.
Neither of us wanted to ‘fail’ at marriage again and I think, deep down, that’s what both of us really feared, mainly because there’s so much pressure placed upon the idea of marriage by society or even by our friends and family.
Once we embraced the idea that marriage wouldn’t save our relationship but also that marriage wasn’t an enemy to our relationship, it became less of an issue.
Once we eventually did marry, it was indeed an important event but it wasn’t the be-all-end-all of our relationship. It was just another step and milestone that we took together.
A healthy long-term relationship with mutual trust and communication either with or without the marriage certificate is an often overlooked gem amid our sometimes unrealistic fantasies about decadent weddings that usher in impossibly ideal marriages.
Despite my conflicted feelings about marriage, I’m glad I tried it for a second time around — and this time for the right reasons.