I was checking out a Tumblr post by a web buddy (okay, really we are sisters of the heart) of mine. She was talking about the 10+ club. It's a wife thing for women married 10 years or more. What a bitter-sweet read for me. Matter of fact, I didn't read the post through, because just seeing it literally put an ache in my heart.
One thing I took from the post was thoughts about love, marriage, divorce and life stages; choices, decisions, regrets, and acceptance.
The ring I put on as a first-time newlywed was more a symbol of hope and trust than it was of love. I didn't understand any of those three things. I had no clear plan of hope; trust was a concept I'd only learn by having it broken; and my love was not mature. I think now about the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer.
The ring I put on the second time I married was given all the respect the first ring deserved. That second marriage was penance of a sort. I paid for every childish mistake from before and probably put a down-payment on future mistakes I haven't even considered yet.
There are times now when I wear a cheap band or solitaire on my ring finger. I wear these when I don't want to be "hit on", or when I want to remind myself of what I've cost myself in missed memories and milestones.
Maybe, one day, I will wear another ring that is an echo of the first. If it's true that there really are no mistakes - just learned lessons - then I will be so much wiser. I am wiser anyway.
For women who have made it into the 10+ circle, I want to congratulate you. You hung in there and stayed even when the romance waned and "real life" took over. You can look back with smiles at the photographs of a dress and cake that were only symbols. Your time with the one you bound yourself to, the doubts you endured, the struggles - all those are what count. You chose to grow old with the one special person who also chose you and now, these however many years later, you can say you made it this far. Keep going. I hope all those ladies make the 20-year Club and beyond.
For the other ladies, like me, we've also endured journeys of our own. That we are still able to find happiness of our own is our special testament.
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