Mulligan : a free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played.
No, I'm not a golf fan. (Sorry, Dad!) Mulligan is just the first word that pops into my head when I think about my marriage. Valentine's Day is coming up and this week's GBE2 topic is "do-over", so it seemed the appropriate time to write about one of the two things I cherish most in this whole world: my mulligan.
Let me start by saying I'm not advocating divorce. I hate that I've been divorced. But it was also the best thing that could have ever happened to me & my daughter. And I did not enter into it easily or without thinking about the effect it would have on everything & everyone around me. My ex-husband & I managed to stay married over 8 years. I don't know how, or really even why, we stuck it out that long, but I believe it was all just a prelude to when my life would really begin: February 28, 2006. Fat Tuesday. The day I met Justin.
Justin & I have never been conventional when it comes to how our relationship progresses. We started out as friends who wanted to be more than friends. But I was stubborn. I felt like there needed to be a time frame before I could fall in love & start seriously dating. After all, we met less than 2 months after I ended a relationship that began when I was only 15 years old & lasted 10 years. I was of the opinion that I had to be single for a certain amount of time & I really did try to stick to my convictions. But dammit if I didn't love Justin in a way that made it absolutely impossible to deny. We were exclusively dating (without calling it that) for a couple weeks before I finally "upgraded" him to boyfriend. 7 months later we moved in together. 2 months after that, he proposed. And 5 months after that we enjoyed a week in Las Vegas where we had a 5 day honeymoon, got married on the 6th day, and flew home on the 7th day. (We refer to this week as our "reverse honeymoon".) We've created our own normal and I have to say, it's worked very well thus far.
We refer to our marriage as our mulligan b/c we both had awful first marriages. So you can imagine that we came into our relationship with baggage. But we also came into it with wisdom. Having experienced what a marriage shouldn't be, we each had a list of deal breakers; things we weren't willing to settle on. One of which is respect. That was seriously lacking in our previous marriages and in the end, it was one of the big factors in our divorces. Something else we are unwavering on is friendship. That's right, we're friends. Best friends, in fact. I truly believe that we have and will continue to overcome many challenges b/c the friendship that is at the core of our relationship is too precious to lose. If we ever split up, I wouldn't just be losing a husband, I'd be losing my closest and dearest friend. I would be utterly devastated.
Sure, I suppose marriage is something you should get right the first time. And in a perfect world, we all would. Then there are times you give it your best shot and it's just not enough. You need a second chance. A do-over. A mulligan.
BTW, if you want to read more about our love story, I posted about it here and here and here. Oh, and also here.