‘Marriage 3. I asked him why he treats me the way he does. He said, ‘Maybe because I like it and I thought you wouldn’t leave.”

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“A few weeks ago I agreed to write my stories on my 4 marriages. I was a bit hesitant but I felt people would be able to see that love comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s about walking away. Sometimes it’s about putting in the hard work and making it better. Sometimes it’s tough and sometimes it’s smooth and warm. I believed my stories wouldn’t necessarily be something that would give people warm fuzzies, but I did think they might be able to see that sometimes doing the hard things in life result in others finding a better love – and possibly help you love yourself a bit more.

I am combining my last two marriages and I’m going to be brief.

MARRIAGE 3 – I met him at the shore on a girls weekend. He was fun and outgoing. He lived about 90 minutes away but we started hanging together whenever possible. About a year later he moved in. We got married. We adopted a baby girl, and a year after that had a baby girl. Life was wonderful for 2 years. Then things changed. In a nutshell, he was mentally and emotionally abusive. We had the big house, the friends, the dream. He thought that would be enough to make me stay. After 9 years of marriage, two of those years in counseling sharing with him what he was doing to me, I made the decision to leave. This is the sentence that made me walk away. It took place in our kitchen (I will never forget). I asked him why he treats me the way he does and he said, ‘Maybe because I like it and I thought you wouldn’t leave.’ This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, or at least my will to keep trying. I decided it was time to go. Things were not going to change. I did not want my four daughters to think it was OK to be treated without love and respect.

MARRIAGE 4 – Last but not least, my 4th. We met in passing through a mutual friend and I liked him from the start. He was quick witted and had a dry sense of humor. A few days after we met he sent a group email to a bunch of people and I was in the mix. It was meant to go to one of us – not me. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but I sent an email back to him explaining that everyone got his reply. That email started more conversations between us. We dated for 8 years until we finally decided we were ready to get married. We had an intimate wedding and headed off into the sunset. We have been marred for 5 years. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t make me laugh. He gives me space to breathe but we also love hanging together. We love jazz and traveling. We love wine and Dateline. He is my best friend and I think I’m his. He is my definition of love.

Those are my stories. Each of them with parts that define love in one way or another. Whether it was letting go, saying I made a mistake so they could move on and find true love, loving myself more than my ‘stuff,’ or finding the one that has taught me the definition of love that I feel deep inside my soul.

I am on this page because I think it is a place to see sadness, joy, mistakes, good choices, and everything else in between. The good, the bad, the ugly. What are they trying to share in the story they are telling us? What do they want us to know? What have they screwed up in their lives but had the guts to put it out there for the world to see, hoping what they would get in return would be love, and understanding?

I don’t believe love is always happy or always has a wonderful ending. I believe love is so much more. It is trying to do what’s right. It is about learning to love who you are. It is about going through hell so you can climb out on the other side and see the brightness of the light you would have missed if you had not pushed forward. Love is accepting. Love is not judgmental. Love is about embracing those that make mistakes. It is about lifting people up. Love is about seeing the good in others even when the choices they make don’t make sense.

The true meaning of love is loving one through all their imperfections. That is love! In the end, it really is love that matters to all of us.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Becky G. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories in our free newsletter here.

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