The “Complete” Life: Five Essential Lessons Marriage Has Taught Me

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Yes, I’ve tackled one complete year of marriage. We’ve had a lot of fun, been through a lot together. And we are continuously learning about each other. And ourselves.

When we’re in our teens we think we know everything. And, of course, we’re eventually woken to the reality that we know almost nothing. Yet it’s so easy along the way to get cocky again. To think we have a clue. And those quick moments of wondering whether or not we have an idea of what the world’s about, they are eventually crushed. They are left unrecognizable.

This post is dedicated to five things I’ve learned about myself in my first year of marriage. Five bits and pieces about my life that I was unaware of, and now, for better or worse, I am painfully aware of.

1) I’m Still Quite Vulnerable

Divorce can have an interesting effect on a person. I walked away from the experience feeling small. Feeling like I had no place in this world. I had lost everything that was valuable or important to me. And if I wanted to be depressed, all I needed to do was find a moment without distraction. The awful thoughts would come rushing back to me.

So I built up walls. I reestablished myself. And tried to turn myself into essentially a heartless robot, who cannot be hurt. I had felt enough pain in my life. I didn’t want to leave myself open for any more suffering.

I entered a relationship and marriage feeling bulletproof, and quickly realized how incredibly wrong I was. I had successfully put up a facade. The facade was so convincing that even I thought it was real.

But I’m still fully capable of hurt. My heart is wide open and it wouldn’t take too much to cause me agony and suffering.

2) I’m Not as Strong as I Thought I Was

I was certain that I had built up enough strength and fortitude to handle just about anything life could throw my way. I had felt emotions that were more painful than any I’d ever experienced. I had been through the ringer and managed to dust myself off.

So what could possibly hurt me?

The answer: Almost anything.

I could spend half my week in the gym. And I could give an outward appearance of extreme stoicism. But when real feelings and real emotions were back in my life, I realized that I wasn’t anywhere near as strong as I may have thought.

3) I’m Stronger than I Thought I Was

Yet at the same time, I was also far stronger than one might expect. I was stronger than most may have thought, considering how I got to where I was.


Logically, I should have crashed under my pressure a long time ago. I should have crumpled up under all I had been through.

A short time ago I was convinced that I could never get married again. There were too many bruises that were just not healing up, or that I learned to not consider as relevant.

I even stopped dating. It seemed pointless to me. It wasn’t causing me suffering. No… suffering involves being invested in the endeavor. I was disinterested. It didn’t matter to me in the slightest.

And yet only a short time later I was able to push myself to be in a committed relationship. I was able to allow myself to be emotionally evolved, enough that I could easily be hurt. And I had the strength to go down upon one knee and change my life forever.

And on top of all that, despite everything that has happened, I get up every day and try and make the world a better place, for me and the people who mean the most to me.

Yes, there are times I feel weak. And yes, I am beyond any doubt quite vulnerable. But I have persevered through so much, and despite knowing there are a whole lot more challenges waiting right around the corner, I know I’ll conquer them as well.

4) I Don’t Want to… but I Need to Fight Back

There are major complications that have plagued the last several years. Some of them I’ve learned to deal with, some of them I’ve learned to ignore, and some of them I have just coped with silently. This last category has chipped away at my soul, just a little bit here and there. Every single day.

But complacency is so much easier than taking up arms and reclaiming one’s life. It is so much simpler to just sit back and enjoy status quo than to face reality head on.


But sometimes life backs you in a corner. You are left incapable of just letting the world harm you anymore. There is just too much at stake now.

And so the time has come to find that place within me, to face all my fears and concerns, and to restore some balance to the world. Will it be easy? Not a chance. Will it come with complications along the way? Most definitely.

But there’s no longer a choice.

5) I’m Still Incomplete


I’ve often stated that marriage is not meant for two incomplete people to complete one another. That notion to me is both naive and childish. Marriage is for two complete souls to come together and create something greater than either part would be separately.

I still believe this. In fact, I’m pretty darn certain of this.

What I’m not as certain of is how complete I am personally.

I sat back in Kansas, alone, working on myself, trying to become a better and stronger person. And to be sure, I became a better person. And a far stronger one as well.

But I was far from complete. I am far from complete.

I have a massive amount of work to do on myself, and a lifetime of reflection ahead of me. No, marriage won’t complete me or anybody else. But it certainly does help shine a light on oneself, and gives a more accurate perspective of where you’re truly holding in life.

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1 thought on “The “Complete” Life: Five Essential Lessons Marriage Has Taught Me”

  1. I tried to google and didn’t succeed Dennis Prager’s views on marriage. He said it is necessary for growth to take place, because you now have to make compromises for disagreements to work, you have to consider another person and you are not solely focused on yourself. It is the ideal situation for growth to take place. And of course, you having such an amazing wife, it will be a great adventure.

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