I have never made a toast at a wedding before. Shocking I know as I think I would be perfect for it with my sarcastic wit and obvious humbleness. But today I make my first.
My toast came about last week as I received the notice of my divorce being final on Monday. Of course on Friday my ex was remarried. Fortunately the judge used quick drying ink.
While her remarriage was expected, and expected fairly quickly, it was still a shock. It is like jumping into a cold swimming pool. You know it is going to be cold but when you hit the water it still takes your breath away.
Now this is the point in the column where many expect me to do the easy thing and make fun of her new husband's looks or take jabs at my ex-wife for her bad decisions, which could include me. But I'm not. Instead I am going to going to publicly wish them well.
The woman I vowed to make happy 13 years ago is happy and that is a good thing. Only it is with somebody else. While I may not see why, her new husband makes her happy and as much as I dislike him, I have to call off the hitman and wish them well. She has chosen a path that has led her to a job she likes, a place she likes to live, with a man that makes her happy. Who am I to argue with that? All I can do is wish her well, hope that she has made the right choice and that she continues to find in him what she didn't with me.
We were happy once, at least I felt we were. Maybe she disagrees. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. But people change and we grow comfortable and find ourselves wanting and doing different things. Just like a man, I didn't read the marriage manual and neither did she. We both did our best to hold our marriage together, just at different times, and timing is everything.
I wish I could say the divorce was all her fault but everyone who has ever been through it knows that it takes two to screw up a marriage. I certainly played my part. I'm sure neither of us wanted it to end, but it was inevitable and, looking back, probably for the best.
While it ended badly, I wouldn't change a minute of what we had. Both the good times and the bad. I carry with me great memories of our marriage. We shared plenty of laughter, whether it was her clumsiness, my silliness or sharing in our animals that we both adored. Our Sunday barbecues, day-trips or just sitting listening about each other's days won't soon be forgotten while bizarre things always seemed to happen to us that we will always remember.
And while there were bad times, those taught me invaluable lessons. I learned you can't take someone for granted and you have to prove your feelings, not just say them. I learned that yes means no and maybe means probably if you do this and no means absolutely not unless the moon is full and then it means yes. Okay, I still have a lot to learn there.
I learned that women give more signs than a third base coach in baseball and I can't read them, and that sometimes sarcasm and trying to be funny can cut a person deeply. Unfortunately I learned that you have to be careful who you trust and that once that trust is gone, all is lost. And forgiveness, while amazingly hard sometimes, can lead to moving on.
The most important thing I learned was that I have an amazing group of friends and family that are willing to do anything for me at any time. I have been told that it is not the quantity of friends you have but the quality. I am fortunate to have both and who knows, maybe one day my ex-wife may be among those or maybe she will only be a part of fading memories. That chapter has yet to be written.
But today is not a day to look at anything negative. While she is happy I am also happy. Not just for her but for myself and it wouldn't have happened without us going our separate ways. I am enjoying myself again, something I honestly didn't do for years. And with everything I've learned I might make a pretty good husband to somebody some day. Although that ink will definitely be dry and the paper may even be yellowed by the time I decide to jump into the world of matrimony again.
But now, while the ink is still wet on her marriage license I want to give my sincere wedding toast and thank her for the 15-plus years we were together, 13 in marriage. I wish her and her new husband the happiest life imaginable, a good life where they have the passion, comfort and support she always wanted and gave to me. I hope all their dreams come true and that they live happily ever after, just like in a fairy tale.
David Jenkins can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.