In 2003, I was in my homegirl's wedding in March and attended another friend's wedding in September. Of the three of us who married that year; only the one who got married in March is still married.
Marriage is hard. I think that because people make such a big deal about getting married; they don't realize that after the wedding and honeymoon; it takes work to cohabitate, procreate, and build a life with someone.
I was probably a part of that group. Thinking that because I was in love that everything else would fall into place.
I'll be the first to admit that we were too young to get married. I was 22, he was 25. Although we were mature for our ages; we weren't ready. I think I needed more experience in being an adult before getting married. He needed more experience on what it meant to live in America.
My then husband is an African immigrant. When we got married; he'd been here less than two years. Looking back; I know that our culture differences played a huge part in our downfall.
I was a submissive wife; he was looking for a wife who would be subservient.
(Supposedly) both of us were Christian so I naively thought that that fact by itself would take care of the obvious gaps that kept us from really bonding.
It didn't help that Paul and I only knew each other six weeks before we got married. We met mid to late June and got Married the first week of August.
I remember that day well.
We got married at the City-County Building in a civil ceremony.
Looking back; it was really random; it was a Thursday in the middle of the day. We had seen each other earlier that morning and I told him not to be late since we would be riding separately to the ceremony. He got mad for me saying what I knew would happen; he would get there late and we'd miss our appointment.
While I was waiting for him; I remember sitting in the corridor thinking back on everything. Realizing that my life was about to change in a major way. Thinking about how much things had changed over the past few months and how much they were going to change once Paul and I were married.
I sat there for a long time; I really don't know how long because I wasn't wearing a watch and, I left my cell phone in my car.
In my mind, Marrying Paul solidified my transition into being straight. It was a miracle for me to no longer desire women. Getting married would be beyond miraculous. I was ready, willing, and ecstatic!
Paul was intelligent, employed and in love with ME! What more was there to consider?
Eventually, he showed up with his brother, apologizing for running late and smiling big because he liked my dress. We wanted to wear black to signify that we were dead to our old selves and that our marriage would be a new beginning.
Paul and I with Juan
Paul and I with my Mom and [would be] Step-Dad
Even though we eloped; we had an audience. Danny; Paul's Brother, my mom, brother Juan, my sister and my mom's would be husband all came to witness the ceremony.
Unbeknownst to me; Paul wanted to get married in the mass ceremony, but because he was late; we had to pay for a private ceremony with a judge that was held in a courtroom.
When it was over; there was no honeymoon, we just bought some Chinese food, went home to my apartment on The Boulevard and ate it in front of the TV.
Calling our wedding day/night anticlimactic (no pun intended) would be an understatement. We took three days off of work pretty much for nothing.
In truth; that would be indicative of what was to follow in our married life.
Our first argument upset him so much that he slammed the door to the office in my face and called his ex-girlfriend. He made sure that he told me who it was and why he called her. I'd made him do it. If I hadn't pissed him off; he wouldn't have needed a reason to call someone who would be happy to hear from him.
Within a few months of us being married, he began seeing someone that he met while out playing basketball.
She would be the first of countless inappropriate relationships that Paul would have while we were married. Most of which I knew about; all of which I dealt with.
I meant what I said in our vows. "For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death parts us (I do)." The problem was, he didn't.
And in truth, I wasn't doing it for him. I was doing it because I had made those vows to God.
When I did leave, I was sure that I had exhausted all of my energy. I had given him every chance that I could muster. I left at the 3 1/2 year mark. By then, we'd had a daughter and the stakes were a lot higher.
I didn't leave for me; I left for her.
They say a father is a daughter's first love and a son's first hero. I refused for my daughter to grow up in a home with the example of manhood that her own father was putting in front of her.
I not only brought home the bacon, I cooked it, served it and washed the dirty plates. He contributed so infrequently that it didn't really count.
Looking back, I....
Truthfully; I don't look back. If and when I do; it's only to reference how fortunate I am now to be away from that whole deal.
When I see him, inside I shake my head thinking "Wow... you used to sleep with that dude? Gross."
I learned a lot being married to him though. Because of him, I know what men are thinking when most men would be smart enough to close their mouths to avoid hurting someone's feelings. Because of him, I am a much better cook. Because of him, I have Asheley.
And because of him, my next husband is gonna hit the jackpot.
Anita Baker - "Fairy Tales"