Do you ever feel like you are the one trying to ‘resuscitate’ your relationship and breathe life into it when things start to go stale? I can commiserate; my experience from my first marriage made me feel the same way. The difference is my husband now will rally when I ask him to. I’m not going to lie to you; in the beginning, when we were both busy with demanding careers, travel, and deployments, it wasn’t easy, but we but knew it was worth the investment.
Being in a relationship must be easy and magical; this gives you a strong foundation for when times get tough because inevitably, they will.
If your significant other plays games with your heart at the beginning of the relationship, trust me, they always will. Don’t think you can change someone. Marriage is a work in progress, and you must work at it all the time. It’s like exercise; you can’t do 100 sit-ups one day and have a flat stomach for the rest of your life. Marriage is a “practice” or “exercise” you regularly work to improve.
My ‘mulligan marriage’ led me to embrace my next chance, and I ended up marrying my true partner six years later and we will be celebrating 25 years of marriage.
“The Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman shared many valuable lessons and is a resource that I cherish; however, I have added my own interpretation to the book to make the lessons more adaptable to my everyday life. Per the book, everyone has the best way to give love and the best way to receive love.
My husband’s two love languages are quality time together and words of affirmation. I speak his love language regularly as those are easy for me to give. Unfortunately, I would prefer words of affirmation and physical touch from my husband, and those are not easy for him. He gives love by acts of service. He would rather build me a patio than hold my hand or tell me I look good. Funny but true. Once I was all dressed up to go out, and I said, “you need to say you have a hot wife,” and he said, “To who?” He was serious. He just doesn’t think like that. I overhear him all the time saying nice things about me to his friends or family, but it just isn’t up his alley to say it to me directly.
If I added another chapter to the book, I would encourage people to revisit how you receive love vs. trying to change your partner’s love language. I practice accepting my husband’s love language (acts of service) and now value his actions and see them as love.
Words of Wisdom to Share
My friends, family, and support group surrounded me with love. Some of their most helpful words of wisdom included:
“I have been through this, and it does get easier, it just takes time, and everyone heals at their own pace.”
“You can’t make sense out of nonsense; what he did is nonsensical.”
“It is not your fault, and it is not a reflection of you.”
“Don’t blame yourself for his actions; you cannot control someone’s actions, only your reaction.”
“Once I was on the road to healing and acceptance, I realized I was lonelier in my marriage than alone.”
I sincerely benefited from a support group run by a licensed therapist. I also went to a counselor before we divorced to see if the marriage could be fixed. When I realized it could not be fixed and divorce was the right answer, it made me feel like I had done everything I could have done to see if the marriage was worth saving. I also read many self-help books, which made me realize I certainly was not alone with the myriad of feelings and phases.
I hope this helps you move along your journey. Just remember, you are never past the point of finding a relationship that is easy and magical. You are worth it.
*The ‘Elizabeth’ who contributed this post was the original inspiration for the title of my blog, The Mulligan Marriage. By the time we connected, years had passed since her mulligan. The words of wisdom she shared and classifying my first attempt as my ‘mulligan marriage’ gave me the hope I needed to move forward.
Cheers, Elizabeth, you truly inspired me!