The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.~Theodore Hesburgh
In the past month I found out that three marriages of close friends are in trouble.
When I heard about the first one, a husband who recently left his marriage, I cried. It seemed worse than death. With death there is love. With separation or divorce, there is often anger, despair and fear.
I found out about the next one, a marriage in trouble for the second time (that I know of), and I felt sad. They had tried to improve a trouble spot, but it seems they fell backwards again. Why aren’t they holding on for dear life? I asked myself.
By the time I heard about the third one, however, I felt resignation. Or at least I didn’t feel as shocked. I suppose when you hear about something repeatedly, it no longer surprises you.
The last time I felt a true sense of regret I was careening off the side of the road into a 30-foot ditch. For a split second I thought I might die.
That day there was a downpour, the road was collecting water, and, while I was going the speed limit, it was too fast for the conditions. I wanted to get to the next business destination.
Suddenly I could feel the car hydroplaning, and I struggled to keep the car straight. I’m guessing I kept the car on the road for 50 feet or so, before it caught enough ground to veer to the right, over the edge of the embankment.
I was eight weeks pregnant, and my daughter was 20 months old. It was a frightening experience, yet my feeling of fear paled in comparison to this powerful sense of regret.
Lessons in finding love can hurt and they can be a steep learning curve. Sometimes I wish I had more answers, sooner, especially when it came to discovering the source of true love.
In my late teens and early 20’s, I thought I knew love, but was far from it. In a quest to finding love, I would always try too hard to make the relationship work. It was an effort based on social ideals, but nothing to do with myself. I feared I couldn’t live up to someone else’s expectations. My expectations–for both of us– would fall short.
Despite trying hard to find love outside of myself, I realized at some point I had become who I thought he wanted me to be, not who I really was. I made mistakes. In making up for them, I spent so much time trying… trying to please, trying to be happy, trying to make it work… I no longer knew who the real me was.