They Do Exist.

What No One Told Me: Before My First Marriage

Editor’s Note: I began the Good Women Project because I believe young women are in desperate need of wisdom, passed along from smart, sexy, successful older women. We don’t get much honest, open advice from those who have already struggled & dealt with the pain that comes from mistakes made. Very few women are being mentored, and even fewer are mentoring others. It is my heart’s desire to provide a platform for this. Today’s post is written by a woman whose first marriage was disastrous, and is now in a healthy, love-full marriage. Theresa’s submission is straight-up truth, no fluff. Please read, take it to heart, and let it add to the good woman that you are. – Lauren

Like you, I’ve made mistakes in my life. One of my biggest whoppers was my first marriage. I try to teach my children (from my current healthy, happy marriage) that mistakes are what really teach us. They are less about regret and more about what you can take from them. In that light, here is what I now know:

I know that if someone has serious issues that they have not gotten help for or tried at all to resolve, they are probably not ready to get married. I am a potential spouse, not a potential therapist. I most likely can’t change ’em or fix ’em. One unhealthy person + one reasonably healthy person = an UNhealthy marriage.

I know that the opinions of the people who have loved me for a long time really matter. If I find myself trying to avoid their opinions, or notice that they are not giving me any opinions, that’s a sure sign that they’ve got some heavy duty opinions. Their opinions may or may not make me change my mind, but they will always help me view my own thoughts and feelings more clearly and honestly.

I know that I can change my mind. No matter how far along I am on a charted course, I can change the path. Even if it’s the day I’m putting on my makeup to walk down the aisle, and I know somewhere deep inside that this isn’t right, it is MY life and MY responsibility to say no if that’s the answer that is true for me.

I know that I am responsible for my own happiness. I am NOT responsible for anyone else’s happiness. They are. I have found someone who understands this and we definitely do things daily for each other and with each other that contribute to that happiness. If he’s having a rough day I support him, but I don’t feel guilty about it or try to fix it for him. I don’t adjust my moods according to his moods. I don’t assume that if he’s mad / sad / angry that it has anything to do with me. If it does, I expect him to tell me and us to work it out together.

I know that true healthy love leads to more true healthy love. People are drawn to it. I want to share it. When I realized I was seeing my family and friends less and less, and becoming more isolated, all in the name of love, it felt like anything but that. My life became smaller and smaller. My life now is huge and full and blowing up with love. That FEELS like love. To me, that IS love.

I know that I am worthy of beautiful love. I am worthy of creating a marriage and a family that fills me with pride. It sometimes takes courage, and certainly hard work, but here I am. Exactly where I feel I’m supposed to be. Exactly where I now know I want to be.

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7 Responses

  1. I can testify that every thing Theresa has said is true. I've had several years since I found the courage to walk away from an unhealthy marriage to reflect on the lessons learned, and to learn how to live my life in the way it was meant to be lived. Everything that has been shared on this page are things that I also learned / realized. It's sometimes tough to delineate what feels right vs what feels wrong when you're young and believe you're in love, but when you figure out what it is, and in some cases, realize you're in an entirely young situation, it is so very important to summon all the strength you have to try and make the situation "right", even if it means walking away. You are in control of your own life, and your own happiness.

    May 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

  2. Correction: the above should read … "and in some cases, realize you're in an entirely wrong situation, …"

    Sorry, folks!

    May 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

  3. Krystafre

    I have been married a little over 2 years and there have been ups and downs. The biggest down was the day I found out that my husband made out with someone else. We were in a separation was his excuse along with "i was drunk" and "I wanted to forget you." Needless to say, I took MY vows seriously and decided to try and forgive him as long as he promised to have nothing more to do with these people. Well, things were fine for about a year until I surprised him at lunch and saw that she had messaged him. I was appalled. When I asked him about it, he told me that he couldn't control who messaged him. Now I can't help but wonder if he's still messaging her and he has gotten to the point where he tells me that I am not his mother and I cannot tell him who to be friends with. Am I a fool? Should I leave him? I mean, I'm happy as long as I know where he is but as soon as I don't know, I am miserable. I hate lies and I really hate being with someone whom I cannot trust.

    September 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

  4. Is there a way of getting a hold of Theresa? Want to chat with her about this…

    November 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

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