Last weekend I met Marie at a housewarming party. She is the motherly neighbor of my friends who hosted the party. When she learned that I officiate weddings and coach communications, she maneuvered me to a table and proceeded to tell me about her daughter, Clarice, who had filed for divorce just six months after her wedding. Marie asked if I would meet with her.
I doubted Clarice wanted some stranger to “reason” with her; but I felt sorry for Marie and agreed. And out of respect for her mother, Clarice, who had moved back in with her mom, also agreed.
When I stopped by the next day, I reassured Clarice that I had no intention of trying to talk her out of her decision; but, since we both agreed to meet, we might as well spend fifteen minutes together. I admitted that it was none of my business, but just out of curiosity, I wondered what had happened in the span of six months to want her to dissolve her marriage.
Embarrassed, Clarice told me that she and her husband Frank had dated since high school. They continued on through college. Everyone just presumed that some day they would marry and once out of college, the pressure was on. She then told me something that initially shocked me: “We didn’t want to disappoint our families and so we decided to get married and we just got caught-up in it all.”
Then one day, some six months later, they realized that while they still loved each other, they had no desire to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
And once again, I was reminded that life can get very whack-a-doo!
The self-help guru from the 1980s, Leo Buscaglia, maintained that, “Not very many of us are really, in the real sense of the word, alive and living fully. I’m certain that as long as you leave your life in the hands of other people, you’ll never live. You have to take the responsibility for choosing and defining your own life.”
As odd as Clarice’s story first sounded, I later realized that she really wasn’t any more “stupid” than most of us are at one time or another in our lives — and I say that respectfully! I think most of us can be sloppy when caring for our lives, going along with decisions made by others because we don’t want to hurt feelings or accept the consequences of hard decisions.
Ironically, Clarice and Frank deciding to divorce was the kindest and bravest thing they could do because finally, they were choosing and defining their own lives.
What about you? What kind, brave thing can you do for yourself?
Please send your questions to JP Reynolds at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter: @jprweddings