Sunday, January 4, 2015

In Defense of the Starter-Marriage

Good morning, everyone...this blog is generally a "knitting and life" blog, but sometimes the life stuff comes front and center and it is more difficult to see the influence knitting had on it.

So there I sat a few nights ago with a lovely friend at my local Starbucks, and we were talking about marriage. I told him about my trials of getting a divorce agreement hammered out, and about agreeing to my ex-husband staying in my house until he found a job in another state (which was well after we got divorced). My friend didn't think I was nuts. The bottom line is that two things were at play:  sometimes, fighting takes more energy than waiting for karma and destiny to do their jobs, and I got married too late for a first marriage.

See, I have a theory. I think you can get married for the first time between 27 and 32 years old, and have a much higher likelihood of making it work than if you get married before or after that for the first time. Before you are 27 years old or so, you have no idea who you are. After 32, you tend to know exactly who you are, and it becomes more difficult to adjust to melding your life with another person.

Understand that I can rattle off plenty of people who do not fit into this age category, but I bet if I plot out a graph of everyone I know, there would be statistical significance to my theory.

My friend was married for quite a bit longer than I was, but he said he should have gotten out of his marriage ten years sooner. He got married when he was 21, and then stayed married for fifteen years. Just 39 years old...he is starting to get to know himself, but he is happy.

Even looking around the dinner table at a recent event, all of us but one never-been-married guy had a starter-marriage. One couple's second marriage has lasted for 28 years, another for seven years, and the third couple is engaged for the husband's second marriage.

Does it really matter when happiness shows up? Yes, feelings get hurt in the process of discovery, but hurt people will find happiness at some point as well. I knit so I don't smoke, fall into bed with a different guy every night, drink myself to the point of lack of responsibility, cuss too much, and avoid thinking. The amount of self-realization that happens during the steady click-click-click of knitting needles is astounding, and it produces happiness one stitch at a time.

This past year, I have changed jobs twice, residences once, and spent the first six months interacting with kids who did not give a crap about things like work ethic and moving up in the world. The second half of the year, I traveled by myself about 1,200 miles per week, met over 1,000 new people, and did so much more finding than losing. Throughout all of it, I knitted like crazy.

Knitting at bars makes people uneasy, by the way. I have yet to figure out why, but whatever...I see people read at bars, play cribbage at bars, have intercourse (seriously) at I am unclear as to why knitting gets the looks that it does. But whatever. I am happy.

After ending the first marriage, many people get asked, "Do you want to get married again?" The standard answer to that question, in my experience, has been "Hell, no!" and yet many of these people get married again eventually.

Right out of the starter marriage, there is plenty of questioning. What could I have done differently? Did I marry the right guy? If not, why did I marry that guy? Did I do everything I could? How can I prevent from making this mistake again? Should I be looking for someone new, getting to know myself first, or just letting life happen?"

I didn't realize how much of my knitting and driving time I spent pondering these questions until talking with my dear friend at Starbucks the other night. I was finishing my niece's poncho while telling him I do feel I had done all I could, I thought it was the right decision to get married at the time, too many factors came into play (including the opinions of others, which are quite frankly none of my business but were welcomed into the marriage anyway), and I am a better person for going through the starter-marriage even though both my and my ex's feelings were stomped into the ground because of it.

He sipped his cinnamon dolce latte and told me about his two kids, how his wife still treats him, how he lost friends, and how he is now dating again.

Going into marriage thinking you can always get divorced if it doesn't work should probably not get married in the first place. But if you find yourself half of a tandem in a failed marriage, then learn from it. If it weren't for knitting, I would not have processed all I needed to process regarding my marriage. And while I have no plans to get married again, I am certainly open to the idea because I think that this time, I would be a better wife to a better husband for me than the first time around.

Do what you like. My activity is knitting, but if yours is basketball, running, playing solitaire on your laptop, or whatever else, do it. Use that time to get to know yourself, and ask yourself the tough questions before you have the confidence to ask others what they may be thinking. And then however much time it takes, remember that a failed marriage is not the end-all be-all. It is just a learning experience.


  1. This was a very interesting post.
    On a completely different topic, I noticed that you are a sales rep for Cascade Yarn. I am wondering why they discontinued the pastel multi colored blend called fruit salad.

  2. Generally, palettes for hand-paints are rotated and updated every few seasons to keep colors fresh. Especially with sock palettes; sock knitters are always looking for what's new, so it helps both the companies and the knitters/crocheters to change up the colorways every once in a while. You can usually find discontinued colorways at Webs, or on Ravelry in personal stashes. Hope this helps!