Marriage Advice From An Idiot
Hi, I’m an idiot and I’d like to give some advice to those that are considering marriage. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, although you wouldn’t know it by the current divorce rate (45%! That is nuts!). It is important to know that your significant other is the right person for you. The Yin to your Yang. The Cream of your Crop (I’m not sure that saying works). But first, how about a horror story about marriage? Sure, why not!
In my early 20s, I was lonely and really just wanted someone to love and start a family with. I wasn’t great at starting conversations with girls in person, so I resorted to meeting girls online first. If we hit it off, we would meet up in person and see how it went. It usually didn’t go that great due to various expectations, from either party, not being met or the chemistry just wasn’t there. I was on all of the major dating sites and constantly refreshing and trying to meet girls. Looking back, I was more desperate than I was willing to admit. Life was not turning out how I had planned.
This went on for a few years. In 2005, I decided to join the Marines, so I started working out to get ready. In December of that year, I met a girl online and she seemed perfect. She said all the right things and the chemistry was definitely there. We met up a couple of times and I fell hard for her. Within a few weeks, she called me while she was walking out of a doctor’s visit and told me she was pregnant. I never went to followup doctor visits with her to confirm. I was an idiot.
This wasn’t the way I wanted to start a family, but a family was something I wanted very badly. Since I was going into the military, I knew that she and my child would be provided for if we got married, so we decided to elope. I didn’t realize it until that day, but we eloped on Friday the 13th of January. How’s that for a heaping pile of foreshadowing? Ya, I didn’t care and I’m not superstitious. I had a wife, a baby on the way, and I was going to be a Marine. It wasn’t the order of events I wanted, but there I was.
During my time in boot camp, I received several letters from my wife. One of which was an ultrasound of twins. She told me she was pregnant with twin girls. I was so excited I could barely contain myself and focus on my training. Everything I did, I did with the thought of my wife and those girls in mind. It helped me get through the crappiest parts of boot camp.
Then it all fell apart. About 1.5 months into boot camp, the chaplain called me into the Drill Instructor’s house (where they slept). He explained to me that my wife had called and was demanding they send me home because she had a miscarriage. I was distraught. Those precious babies I had been fighting for were gone. My world crumbled in an instant.
The Marines sent me home for 1 week. If you know anything about boot camp, this is extremely rare. Another recruit’s brother died while he was in training and they sent him home for 24 hours.
I flew home with the intention of caring for my wife. What I found was a bubbly wife that was happy to have me home. There was no grieving, trauma, or anything that I now know is the expected behavior of a woman who miscarried.
After a week, I returned to training. I was broken. When the training got tough, I broke down and cried. I didn’t know how to deal with the trauma of what I had been through and I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I spoke to a chaplain, but that didn’t help. About 1.5 months after returning to training, I graduated and earned the title of Marine. I was proud and my family was there to celebrate with me.
Hope in a Time of Inconsolable Sadness
At graduation, my wife surprised us with an ultrasound and announced that she was pregnant again. I was elated. My parents were dumbfounded and confused. It was highly unlikely that she could biologically be pregnant again so soon after miscarrying, but I only saw her and the baby. Again, I was an idiot. After graduation, I worked recruitment duty and then went onto infantry school. While in infantry training, I had medical issues and they decided to discharge me.
The Nightmare Continued
Two weeks before coming home for good and about 8 months after we got married, I found out that my wife had faked both pregnancies and the miscarriage that she used to bring me home from boot camp. In addition, she was using our income to rent a trailer home for her and her boyfriend to live in. I was furious, which hid the brokenness I felt inside. She took me on the most volatile emotional rollercoaster ride I could imagine.
Who does that to another human being? What were her reasons for doing all the things she did? Was I really that ignorant and gullible? Unfortunately, I was and that made me angrier, but also completely embarrassed. Embarrassed for the hardship that I put my parents through. Embarrassed for the stupid decisions I made throughout the last 9 months. I was not perfect during this time and I made lots of stupid decisions, but I certainly didn’t feel like I deserved what was done to me.
A Happy Ending
Eventually, we got a divorce, and soon after I married the woman that I will be married to for 12 years next month. I had 2 stepkids and we had a baby together (a real one! yay!).
It has taken me years to process what my first wife did to me and I can’t honestly say that I have dealt with all of it completely or correctly. I have scars from that traumatic experience, but I’m less ignorant and gullible now so that is an upside.
Funny story (sort of); my ex-wife messaged me several years into my current marriage to apologize. My wife and I looked at her profile and found that she was faking another pregnancy with some other poor soul. She made the mistake of posting the ultrasound (of twins again!), which I was able to find in Google Images within minutes from a textbook pregnancy from the 1970s. She hadn’t changed a bit, which meant that this communication was likely an attempt to start something. Blocked. Done. Goodbye forever.
Advice from an Idiot
I hope and pray that you don’t learn the hard way as I did. Don’t make hasty decisions based on unverified, big, life-changing “facts”, even from those that you love and trust. If the military is in your future, then know that it is a very big commitment and is not family-friendly, no matter what your recruiter says. Be prepared for hardships and challenges at every level.
Most importantly, don’t rush it! Take your time!
Don’t make big, life-long commitments with those that you hardly know. Date them to see if they are a compatible life-partner, then get engaged, then get married. It is best that each of these phases be long enough to get to know one another. You have the rest of your lives to enjoy one another. Make sure they are the person you want to spend your life with.
A year or more of dating/engagement is a small price to pay for decades of happiness.
While dating and engaged, learn what stresses your significant other out and what expectations they have from marriage. Untold expectations are a very common issue in new (and old!) marriages. Be open. Communicate your feelings. Share what is on your mind and heart.
I highly recommend marriage counseling.
While it sounds cliche, marriage counseling is an important exercise that will point out weak points in your relationship and communication. Love is blind. Counseling will help you see clearer.
I believe that love is a wonderful gift that should be enjoyed and cherished. If you have found that special someone, then I’m beyond excited for you! I hope and pray that you will start your journey together in a wise, thoughtful way and not rush as I did.