A couple of days ago was my 10 year anniversary. Makes me want to cry. Makes me want to yell at my 18-year-old self and say, “DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!” to which she would probably reply back, “I want to!”
I’d look at that starry-eyed girl with pity and wonder where her parents were to tell her “no”.
My mother actually almost begged him to marry me, had we been living in the 1800s, she would have offered the fatted cow, a hen and a pig just for him to marry me. My father was non-existent, so even if he didn’t agree, I never heard otherwise.
It was the epitome of a fairytale. He was handsome, charismatic and came from the “right” family. He liked me, I liked him back, after five hours of interrogation from my cousins, he was suddenly in love and he was gonna save me from the life I was living… yes, he was to be my knight in shining armor. It was a fairytale romance, he would come to New York for five days to spend all his money on me and then go back home to work and do it all over again. The five days were filled with “i love you’s” and “you’re the one” and “I’m gonna marry you”. Looking back at it all, we were doomed for failure from the get-go.
But Ryan was perfect. Ever the kind gentleman, ever the friend of all and ever always eager to tell me of my beauty and perfection. Looking back, I should have known that he was perfect for someone other than my restless self.
Marriage came as an eye opener. He didn’t listen to me… my family convinced him so much that I needed saving that he saved me not knowing how to listen to me. I would say things, express how I felt, what I wanted and it was returned with what he thought was best for me. It was just a transfer from one cage to a bigger, shinier cage than what I was used to. He thought that since I needed saving that I also needed help thinking.
The thing that kept me sane was my trust in God and my will to survive. I survived being away from my family, I survived living with my mom, so I survived being married. He is a good man for the most part, we just have different work ethics. Whereas career, education and self-worth are top priorities to me, Ryan just got by. Did what was “good enough”, never doing the best, always mediocre. And really that’s what ruined us, not so much the infidelity… because I could do without love (there was affection) but respect, I cannot do without. So, him being unemployed, not actively seeking employment for over two years while I worked pregnant and stressed stripped that away. But I made him, I molded him. Anything of worth that he is, is because of me. I don’t say that to boast, it’s a fact. I taught him the Pentecostal doctrine, I dressed him, told him what was acceptable in the Pentecostal world, I taught him how to preach, how to be taken seriously, taught him how to be a man… furthermore, I pushed him to go to higher education, I pushed him to be something of worth, even the job he has now is because of me. I’ve provided, I’ve put a roof over our heads… it is my name that is solely on the mortgage, my name that is primary on the car note… anything of value is my doing and my hard work. While he’s mucked around and chased his dreams, I made the world turn.
I think it’s because his parents never pushed him, because he was “perfect”…. you know prince charming embodied… they never pushed him for any real training for the world. Whereas my mom pushed us to no end for survival, his parents pushed him to be himself… if you talk to his family, he is right below God… they all adore him, he can do no wrong and the things he lacks are just covered by praises. And for the most part, I am also to blame because I’ve also catered to his behavior of “good enough” because I am great. I have a career, I moved up the ladder from a marketing assistant to Director of Marketing in two years, I work with civic, business and community leaders and I am not only well-liked, I am respected. I am trusted in my industry as an expert and my opinions carry weight.
The fact is now, I am realizing that we were never friends. He swept an 18 year old girl into fairytale but never worked to keep the “happily ever after”. He destroyed my supposed “happy ending” where marriage is a partnership and not just a huge boulder.
So, here’s the moral of the story, boys and girls, find a friend, be a friend, before you go saying “I love you” and “I do.”