Three words that I never in a million years thought I would have to say. Yet there they are. Maren and I are no longer married.
I have been, and continue to be, pretty private about everything that led up to and followed our decision to split. I certainly don’t plan on going into minute detail about it on my blog. But I’m always just a phone call or an email away if anyone wants to talk about it.
That said, I want to attempt to explain myself a little bit. Due to my private nature, I fear that people may be learning about our divorce with little context to go with it and that can breed misunderstanding. There’s a lot of stigma attached to divorce and I would love to dispel some of it if I can, especially for Maren’s sake. There is absolutely no reason that anyone should think any less of her as a result of this (and I’m sure no one does). I was really the root of the decision to divorce.
Several years ago, I began struggling with some serious doubts about the Mormon church and my involvement in it. At the time, I was very confident that it was just a test of sorts and a phase that I would pass through easily. Armed with that confidence, I courted and married Maren without any serious reservations. It was a very happy time for me. Unfortunately, the doubts were not just a phase and I was unable to keep ignoring them, so I told Maren about them.
At this point in the story, I half expect many still-active Mormons to start losing sympathy for me, and I can hardly blame them for it. I really kinda pulled a fast one on Maren. She thought things were wonderful but I turned her world upside down. I was really scared about what the outcome would be. I thought I would be out in the cold as soon as she knew that I wasn’t actually Peter Priesthood. Instead, she tried to understand and insisted we keep working together. For that, and many other gestures of love, I will always be grateful to Maren.
So we worked together. We both tried our best to understand and accept the other and, in a lot of ways, we succeeded. But in other ways, it was becoming evident that our paths were diverging. In a way that few people outside of the Mormon church understand, religion and spirituality are so very integral to a marital and familial relationship and we began to realize that neither of us would be entirely happy with the current spiritual state of our relationship. There was the very real risk of the shadows of resentment and dissatisfaction lurking over our relationship for the rest of our lives. Neither of us wanted to feel that way and neither of us wanted to live in a way that would require us to hide part of ourselves. So, we finally admitted (again, I kind of lead the way), that it would be easier for us to find our happiness if we went our own ways.
Something about saying it that way sounds so cliche and weak. I hope that it makes even a little bit of sense. In the months since the split, I’ve heard a lot of pearls of wisdom about marriage and divorce, often advocating very different things: “Marriage is not something to be taken lightly.” “If it’s broke, you fix it!” “You have to do what makes you happy.” “If it’s not working, don’t keep punishing yourself.” None of those maxims are very satisfying when you actually have to make a decision like that. I hope that whoever you might be, and whichever of those philosophies you subscribe to, you can appreciate how personal this decision was and the amount of soul-searching and effort that went into it on both our parts.
I made my decision. I don’t regret it but it still makes me sad. I will always be deeply sorry that I hurt someone that I care about. And I will miss my friend.