The worst advice I ever received before getting married.
I got married at nineteen.
My best friend had already been married for nearly a year by then; she got married at eighteen.
So, when I was contemplating marriage myself, I turned to my friend for advice. “What’s being married like?” I asked.
She smiled. “It’s like a date that never ends,” she replied. “You get to see the person every day.”
I had to admit, that sounded pretty good.
While it’s certainly not my friend’s fault that I went through with the wedding despite my many reservations, her romantic description of marriage did push me in the wrong direction.
I know she meant well. I’m sure she believed her advice was sound. For her, marriage was a date that never ends; or at least it was until her marriage ended in divorce a full decade later.
She remained happily married right up until her husband left her for someone else. That’s not a criticism of her or her marriage or her husband. It just is what it is.
Throughout her decade of marriage, I could see that she and her husband truly were on the date that never — well, almost never — ends. They had a great time together taking vacations and making memories.
I was envious.
Their relationship truly looked like it would stand the test of time. They were best friends, and they seemed so happy together. I think their happiness was real for the first few years.
But there came a point where he started cheating on her. Not only did he cheat, but he continued to do so even after his wife discovered it. She confronted him about it, and as soon as she did, he prepared to move out of the home they shared.
In retrospect, I can see how this all happened. He must have known she would find out eventually. But it still made me angry to watch it happen.
He was supposed to be her soulmate.
Now, if I’d had any sense at all, I might have said something along these lines: “If you really love your wife, why are you doing this? Why don’t you try to work things out instead of leaving her behind?”
Instead, I did nothing.
I watched it happen.
And when it finally ended, our friendship crumbled into dust.
As I write this, I wonder if I should apologize for not speaking up sooner. Or maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I am partly responsible for the way things turned out.
When I look back now, though, I think it’s clear that I could have done more.
I could have told her that he wasn’t worth staying with. I could have talked to her about the pain he was causing her.
Maybe I could have helped her somehow.
The truth is, I didn’t know what to say.
All I knew was that I loved her. And I wanted her to be happy. So, I kept quiet.
Even though she was miserable, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that he wasn’t good enough for her.
Maybe I was afraid of hurting her.
Or maybe I was afraid of losing her as a friend. Turns out, that happened anyway.
I think it’s safe to assume that we weren’t close friends anymore after that.
That’s too bad. We used to talk about everything.
We used to go shopping together, and gossip about people we knew.
She was my best friend, and I wish I’d done something to help her.
It’s easy for me to sit here and blame myself. Easy to lay the blame at my feet.
After all, I was the one who stood silent while she suffered.
I wonder how she’s doing now. I hope she’s okay. I hope she’s happy. I hear she remarried. I hope she found a man who loves her as much as she deserves to be loved.
I hope her second marriage is like a date that never ends.