A friend of mine happened to be walking on a California beach cliff the other day, saw the inscription on this bench and thought of me. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps, she thought I could write a blog about “Remembering Past Spouses”. At first, I thought this couldn’t possibly be a fit for my favorite topic of “multiple marriage”. Obviously, a woman who was thoughtful enough to memorialize her former husbands on a park bench must have had two wonderful marriages and was now widowed twice...not divorced! Attempting to tie this person and her message to a multiple marriage theme would, most certainly, be a stretch. But wait! Couldn’t there be a message about spouses who touch our lives in some way, regardless of the way they departed from our lives? If divorce is a permanent detachment from a union that once was, then it could be considered a death -- in some sense.
I thought about how each of my former “four” husbands had influenced my life in some way, shape or form. And, by George, the more I dug deeper into my recollection of those marriages; I had to admit that those husbands actually had contributed to my personal growth path…knowingly or unknowingly. I must give them credit now!
Husband No. 1 practiced patience and forgiveness in his daily life. My first husband was actually showing me the way (some 40 years ago) by his example in almost everything he did. I did not appreciate his values and personality characteristics then, but certainly do now. I remember these aspects of him with fondness today.
Husband No. 2 had a love for the Fine Arts. He encouraged me to share in that joy. So, our time together was spent planning getaway weekends to New York City to visit the plethora of museums, scout out the architectural wonders and to catch the latest theatrical productions.
Husband No. 3 exposed me to a different continent, a different culture, a different way of thinking about those having grown up outside “America the Beautiful”. Today, I have an open and balanced view about world affairs, love international travel and crave exposure to people who are different from me. I truly feel like a “Citizen of the Globe”, thanks to Husband No. 3.
Husband No. 4 taught me the importance of emotional and financial independence. During that marriage, I began reading self-help books on both subjects as he was not able to partner with me in those areas. He suggested I learn to be more “independent” and take personal action where there were gaps in my life that needed to be filled.
As one multiple marrier (interviewed for my book) reminded me, “Pam, there must have been some good in each of your marriages”. And, indeed, there was. I realize that each of our spouses brings something unique into our lives, whether nor not our marriages were fulfilling.
So, to all those past spouses “Remembering” is something I must do from time to time, while acknowledging the contribution you made to my personal development and to who I am today.