My first husband and I divorced after only 5 years of marriage. It seems that he wanted me to be the "June Cleaver" of the modern world, yet he wanted me to work a full-time job at the same time. His idea of "family time" was coming home from work, sitting in his lounger and waiting for me to finish cooking dinner. We'd eat dinner together, then he'd disappear to his workshop in the basement or back to his lounger while I cleaned the kitchen - all of this after working a full day, myself. On Saturdays, he was awake and out of the house before I could wake myself up from a night of multiple baby feedings, and he would re-appear in time for me to fix lunch, having been at Home Depot or some other store all morning, without so much as leaving me a note as to where he was. There were many other issues that led to our marriage's demise, but those are for another story. However, I was blessed with the most beautiful daughter 2 years before our divorce, and I thank God for that.
The story of my current husband is a bit more interesting. I first met Matt in the summer of 1992 when he was dating my cousin, Laurie. They lived in another state and we didn't see them that often. In 1993, I became an official divorcee. In 1994, my daughter was the flower girl for Laurie's and Matt's wedding. The years went on, Laurie and Matt had a little girl, and they moved to Atlanta (my hometown) in 1997. Laurie and I spent much more time together and established a close relationship - more like sisters than cousins. Honestly, Matt was simply Laurie's husband in my eyes. My boyfriend at that time, and I, would meet them for dinner or go to their house for gatherings, but I never really spent much time with Matt. In 2000, Laurie was diagnosed with cancer, and we lost her in 2001. Suddenly, Matt is left without a wife and is a single father. His parents live half way across the country and he felt a disconnection with us as Laurie's family because of some issues with Laurie's mom, my aunt. Those issues are too many and too complicated for this story. Suffice it to say that my aunt decided she was going to raise Matt's daughter, without consulting Matt, and also decided she was going to move in with them, also without discussing it with Matt. This, unfortunately, is the attitude she has always had toward him. Fortunately, Matt put his foot down on those issues. I became Matt's support and help with his daughter, assisted in the decision to move or stay in his house, and became his sounding board for dealing with my aunt.
During all of this, it occurred to me, having faced the loss of my cousin at such a young age (she was only 40), that life is too short to play the high-school dating games or any other games, for that matter. That led to a very serious discussion in late 2001 with my boyfriend of 4 years, resulting in his decision that we should break up. Let's just say that his subtle references to our future together were simply ways of keeping me around, he had no future in mind for us at all, and I called him on it. It was the best decision I ever made.
Matt and I became good friends in the months following Laurie's death, and he became my sounding board when I was struggling with approaching my boyfriend about my concerns. By 2002, we realized, after some struggles to actually verbalize and face it, that Matt and I were experiencing something more than just friendship. So, once we admitted it to each other, we had to break it to my family. This was not as difficult as we thought - I was convince that my aunt would have a very hard time with it since Matt had been married to her daughter. It turns out that she had been pushing for it all alongâ€¦you just never know!
Matt and I were married on a beautiful day in April 2003, with the many well-wishes from both my family and his, and all of friends (who, it seems, also knew we were a "thing" before we realized it). Through all of this, Matt's main concern was always our families, and we were both genuinely and pleasantly surprised by how they all seemed to know before we did that we had a special relationship.
Matt has, and always be, the ultimate family guy, which I knew long before we ever dated. When given the choice, he would rather stay at home with me and his daughter and stepdaughter than go out with "the boys". When he used to play in a local band, he would make every possible effort to be sure I could go with him by arranging for a sitter if my daughter was not with us that weekend or by asking family to come watch him play then arranging for her to go home with one of them.
Matt prefers to be involved in the everyday activities of life with me than for us to spend our weekend running errands in different directions. He always goes with me to the grocery store, when clothes-shopping for the girls, and even to the mall when I just want to do my research shopping. I know there are many times when he's really not interested in the shopping and those everyday errands of life, but he always makes an effort to be there with me.
When there is a school event such as his daughter's chorus concerts, open houses, or my daughter's orchestra performances, he will rearrange his schedule to be sure he leaves work on time to be there. When my daughter attended homecoming last year, he was sure to be home to take pictures and be there when her date picked her up.
I have to say that I am married to one of the world's ultimate family guys. Through all of his efforts to be there for us, he has maintained his sense of who he is and what he wants, and tells me he has never feels like he gives up anything to be so involved in our lives so much of the time. For me, we are a perfect match, and we both went through many struggles to get here. I couldn't ask for a more devoted, family-oriented, loving, caring, and source of support than my husband.