Illuminated

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Marriage is presented as the pot of gold over the rainbow, the golden egg, a magical wish granted by a fairy godmother. And, in the beginning, it often is a blissful bonding of two souls who have decided to spend their lives together. Newlyweds are so caught up in romance that they often overlook fatal flaws which can lead to the death of a marriage.

I’m not trying to be cynical about all marriages. I’ve known plenty of couples who found their happily ever after and spent decades together. However, the reality is that half of marriages fail and lead to divorce. And I say, “Hoorah!” to those couples who were brave enough to get out when they accepted their ill-fated relationships. I was one of those fortunate ones who escaped marital misery. It took me many years to leap out of the fire, but I did it.

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What I find terribly concerning is that I meet people every day who are discontented in their marriages, yet they don’t know how or they aren’t able to exit. And often, what I observe is that one partner is willing to work hard to attempt and save the marriage, but the other partner is unwilling to try. I was in one of those situations and it took me years to get out. I kept thinking that my ex-husband would change, but he never did.

I knew things were bad, but I didn’t realize how dim they were until years after we finally divorced. I had become accustomed to certain living conditions and I wasn’t conscious of how much brighter my life could be. One day, my current man was at my house helping me with home improvements when literally, a light bulb went on and changed my perspective.

My ex-husband didn’t have 1 lazy bone, he had 206 lazy bones, and a severe lack of motivation to do anything to improve our lives. Often unemployed, he lived his days glued to the television, creating a permanent imprint on our couch. Over the summer, I started to renovate my home to make it mine and to remove all traces he left behind. That couch and the shadow of his ass were hauled off to the dumpster.

My ex also was sensitive to light, cocooning himself by shutting all the blinds and turning off lights. He had even removed half of the light bulbs from the fixtures in our home, claiming that he was helping us save on our electric bill. Wallowing in darkness, it’s no wonder he had no motivation.

I had lived in darkness for so many years, that I had come to accept that was the way it was to be in my home. I kept my blinds shut and didn’t replace the missing light bulbs after he moved out. And yes, my electric bill was always low, but was it worth being shrouded in darkness?

Last week, I was finishing some of the final touches on my renovations, and my man took me to the hardware store to buy light bulbs. Eighty dollars later, we left the store, my pocketbook hurting from burning so much of my hard-earned cash. We got home to my place and while I was cooking dinner, he replaced all the missing lights. My home was slowly being transformed from a dank depressing house to a warm and inviting retreat.

woman dancing on terrace with lights turned on
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The most incredible transformation was my guest bathroom. Years ago, I had bought some coral paint thinking it would liven up the room.  My ex did a shoddy job painting the walls, and I dreaded going into that bathroom. It looked like a murder scene. Somehow that cheery coral had turned crimson, looking like something out of a B horror movie. If one stayed in that bathroom too long, they might have been swallowed up by some creature in the walls. My plan was to eventually repaint the walls.

My man had the same disdain for that bathroom that I did, and he was anxious to show me the change. As I was cooking, he grabbed me from the kitchen, covered my eyes, and walked me to the bathroom. I squealed as he slid his hands down from my eyes to my waist. The bathroom was beautiful. Ten sparkling white bulbs lit up the vanity mirror illuminating the room. I was taken away to a tropical paradise. The blood-red walls had turned to a warm, inviting coral. I looked in the mirror and my face was bright, cheery. I giddily kissed him and thanked him for illuminating my world.

 

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After getting divorced, I challenged myself to a year-long dating project: 52 First Dates. The goal was to go on 1 date a week for 1 year on a search to rediscover myself and to hopefully find love. Join me on this adventure as I share my dating stories.

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