There is one rite of passage that I wonder if I will ever pass through….maybe I am not supposed to. But, I was meant to be married four times; each one a right that I will treasure.
Of course, I wished to have one long happy marriage, as a “born again” christian, married as a virgin at age 22. I bore two magnificent daughters by this husband, who is kind and supportive throughout natural childbirth. But, it was unnatural for Chuck to be married to a woman, so he left us for his gay partner now of thirty years, Kimber.
Unconsciously, I had wished to experience other men sexually, so during the grief of losing an intact family, I was having sex with boyfriends, along with my guilt. I would sit on the toilet the next morning, asking god not to punish me. I was also dancing (god forbid, my mother’s voice) during this time of questioning my “faith” that I had been brain-washed into since a toddler.
Seven years later, I married Reid, a space sciences Phd. Candidate at Cornell, where my dad had been a research associate analyzing the first moon dust, as I was challenging and analyzing my need for religion. Although we went to a few sessions of marriage counseling, my spirit would not let me stay married more than two years; I was finally liberated from religion through arguments with Reid; my spirit had to be free to be ME. We parted amicably, and a few years later he was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer, and died at age 44. I attended his memorial, tears thanking him for being a rite of passage out of religious abuse, as Matthew Fox, ex-catholic priest and well-known author has put it.
My third rite of passage-marriage was-to-be another seven years later to Alain, an owner of an auto repair business. We met roller skating; I’ve always been attracted to the physically fit muscular guys, which he was except he smoked and drank more than was healthy. I thought I could help him. By being a Marriage and Family therapist by then, I learned to pay more attention to my own needs for emotional intimacy. We participated in marital therapy for about 6 months, when Alain, said, ‘If you can’t accept me as I am, then we are done.” Another amicable parting, as I listened more to my heart-spirit.
On to Gregory, only three years later, my soul mate. After 2 months together we were committed in a spiritual marriage, then legally three years later. During this time, he became very depressed over losing his house, and his job, unemployed for 2 years, as I tried to help this sensitive father-worthy man. I gained a stepdaughter, Sara when she was 10, and advocated for father’s rights by writing to newspapers. Gregory’s weekly therapy and medications were not enough as our marriage was suffering from his verbal abuse and great distrust, Gregory thinking I was having affairs. I was crying and stomping like a toddler. Mostly, helpless. Mostly, the greatest rite of passage to my true Being.
A last ditch effort to save our marriage was to travel to the Primal Center in California where I would train and both of us be in intensive therapy. Gregory dropped out of therapy saying, “I am too afraid to feel my pain, I will have to come back another lifetime.” I had shut down my successful therapy practice, moved across the country, and cried like a river, a waterfall of shut-down pain I had buried. I have always loved waterfalls, and at present live as a single chick, (still looking for the rooster) between two gorges where many powerful waterfalls symbolize me as I cry at ‘the drop of a hat? Or is it ‘at the drop of love’….being happy that this rite of passage feels like forever-love.
“Love is eternal; its character may change, but not its essence.” – Van Gogh