Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Marital Gains

It is a good thing there aren't taxes on this, although my marital gains are largely priceless. I am a better person for having married and loved B and I need to remember that. I am leaving this relationship a richer person and that has nothing to do with finances. I have found that it helps to focus on the positives in this and always keep your eyes looking forward. I do need to take responsibility for my failures in this relationship, but tonight? I want to think about more positive things and how, even in this really difficult period, I can still appreciate how much I gained from my relationship with B.

I was so young when we married and didn't really know who I was. That wasn't helped by being "B's wife" for the past 12 years, but over the last few years, I have really started to examine who I am and who I want to be (and how to get there). I realize that because of B, I like who I am and who I am becoming and who I will eventually be. Setting aside all of the pain, hurt and rage, I get to walk away with the following:

  1. Generosity - not just of money, but of heart. Although I was rarely the recipient of his emotional generosity, B taught me how to live outside my own world and give of myself to others. I can isolate with the best of them but he doesn't. Ever. B cultivates relationships with a long term view (yes, I appreciate the irony here) and never forgets a face or a story. As gregarious as I am, I can be remarkably self-centered in my thinking and by his example, I am better at connecting with acquaintances. It is a work in progress, but I am better for his example.
  2. Staying in motion: Moving every two years of my life, you would think I already knew this, but in reality, I tended to nest and stick with the status quo (hell, this is turning into my confessional about my faults in the demise of our marriage). I am a creature of habit, to say the very least, and left to my own devices, would follow the same routine day after day, week after week. By watching and learning from B, I slowly managed to break away from my comfort zones. B simply cannot sit still and that was utterly frustrating but am am better for his shove to my inertia.
  3. Appreciation of family: This one is hard, as B has a different appreciation for family. He feels responsible for his mother and he generally throws money at the problem, rather than any direct emotional involvement. In some ways, I used our marriage as an escape from my family but they continue to astound me with their support now. B never bonded with anyone in my family and had no interest in sitting around, shooting the shit with them. I ignored that flaw for entirely too long and am so very grateful that I have such a loving family who would do anything to see me happy and can overlook my absence and indifference over the past twelve years.
  4. Thinking outside the box: Lordy, this is a big one. My dad is very much a "play-by-the-rules" kind of man and I was certainly an adherent. B has no concept of the box and is truly an entrepreneur at heart. Because of him, I live in both worlds now -- I can see and think in the box, but also can find solutions and unconventional opportunities because I learned from him. My dad did say, when B asked for my hand in marriage, that I had met my match in terms of smarts. You never have to worry about B - he will create opportunities even when the horizon seems utterly bleak.
  5. Cleanliness and the importance of an orderly home: I admit it - I was a packrat when I met him. B is......not. On a scale from one to ten, where one is a horder of the Jerry Springer order and ten is an OCD-freak cleaner, I was probably a three when we first met and married, and he was more of an eight by the end. I am now a more balanced six, I think, and appreciate how an orderly home helps focus the brain. I also now understand how a three hour cleaning session can be good for the soul.
  6. Taste: Truth be told, I had little to none when we married. I didn't think about it too much one way or the other and certainly had no vision. Hell, I remember when we bought this condo, I thought it move-in ready. B spent months getting hardwoods, concrete countertops and slate installed. He picked out almost everything in this place, with little if any objection or input from me. He was better at it, but I paid attention. I paid attention on a lot of things (and others, not so much), but I learned from him.
  7. Taking care of your belongings: I grew up a little overprivileged, at least by his standards, and things and objects were replaceable and/or reparable. I would park where I wanted, oblivious to door dings, never wash the car unless the mood struck and ignore coffee stains, trash, and whatnot. When you work for what you purchase and realize that you are trashing your own hard-earned dollars, you treat stuff better. B is still an 11 on a scale from one to ten, but I'm now more of a seven on that scale.
  8. Indulgences (food): Ingrained in my brain is a host of foods I can't eat because I'll get fat. I can't think of the last time I ate dessert, but that was always B's favorite course. If B had a craving for pizza, he ate pizza. Not everyday, but if it sounded good, he went for it. I need to eat dessert more, scale be damned.
  9. Nurture your long term relationships: Yes, again, I am struck by the irony, but B doesn't have temporary relationships (yeah, I know). B has a group of friends he has known since he was a teenager and, as a third-culture kid who moved all the time, relationships for me tend to be nomadic. I maintain them much better now and understand how those relationships help to define us.
  10. Partnership: I believe in it. There is no set formula and all couples are different in terms of their boundaries and operations. I can walk away from this knowing that I was always his partner and biggest supporter. I just know that the next time? I want someone like me, who is somewhat like him, but more dedicated and loyal to the marriage. I want as good as I can give.

No comments: