Soon, I will celebrate four years of marriage. However, I’m not married to the same person I married those four years ago; nor do I plan to remain married to the person I’m married to today.
Sure, I formed the statement this way for the shock value, but in all honesty, I’ll never be married to the same person day-to-day. In fact, my husband is not married to the same person he married four years ago.
Neither of us have maintained anything but our names and a few nature-provided traits. When I look back even further to when we first started dating, seven years ago, I see memories of 17-year-old Stephani and 19-year-old Calvin. I see two children unaware of the heartbreak, horror, success, love, and other experiences we have faced since.
No one could have prepared me for the time when we thought our dog had been killed after she ran off for the first (and thank goodness, only) time. No one could have accurately described the weight of my maternal grandmother’s absence from our wedding day. And no one, not a single person, could have detailed the immense pride either of us felt when I graduated from community college, then my undergraduate University, and more recently my graduate school program.
With every lesson I’ve embraced, with every tear I’ve released, and with every damn experience I’ve gone through, I’ve changed my opinion, my story, and my inner-most self.
So, no: I don’t plan to remain married to the person I’m married to today. I’m not so naive to believe that I’ll be married to him forever. And I would hope that he doesn’t want who I am today in 10, 20, 40, or even 60 years. As I grow, adapt, learn, gain/lose memories, gain/lose weight, fail, stumble, or fall, I want him to love me again every day for the new person I will become. I hope that he vows to re-marry me every day, with a promise to accept whatever illness, health, wealth, or poverty I possess. Likewise, I plan to re-marry him, every day, for the same reasons and expectations.
I don’t think, in all instances of divorce, that people give up too quickly on fixing the marriage. I don’t judge people for divorce –I can never fully live the life or experiences that led anyone to their own decisions.
For my personal experience, I plan to accept the difference, work through the issues, and re-marry my husband. In the unwelcome event that the marriage turns into an emotionally, physically, or spiritually unhealthy relationship, we’ve agreed to mutually end the relationship. Of course, we’re not planning for it to go that way — we do accept the reality that it can happen to anyone.
But again, until then, we have agreed — rather, vowed — to recommit ourselves to one another daily. To explore and understand the new person that emerges every day.