Saturday, February 12, 2011

An anniversary dinner with my former wife...

Last Saturday my former wife and I had dinner together, the first time in several months. It was our wedding anniversary and so we thought that sharing an evening out would be appropriate--a time to celebrate the wonderful years we enjoyed together and the fruit of those years, our children.

The meal was cordial and the discussion candid, but as the evening wore on it was clear that rather than enjoy each other's company, we were merely enduring. After only an hour or two, my wife suggested that she still needed to do some shopping and so it would be best to call it an early evening. Honestly, I was relieved.

Since our separation and divorce, now six months behind us, much has happened in our lives.

For the first time, I have felt the freedom and relief that comes with living an honest and open existence. I have made new friends, joined new organizations, begun new hobbies and transformed my life into something with meaning, purpose and ultimately, fulfillment. I am truly a happy man.

My wife, on the other hand, has retreated. She has withdrawn inside a barricade of anger and fear. She is angry that her life of predictable comfort has been taken from her, that she is forced to make decisions for herself and bear the consequences of those decisions. She is angry that she can no longer count on the Priesthood in her home to assure her salvation. She is angry at the fact that I am gay and bear no shame because I'm gay. She is afraid that all this will force her to change, to live her life differently, and there is nothing more fearful to her than change.

When I see the impact all of my decisions have had on my wife, it honestly breaks my heart. To see her in so short a time transformed from a vibrant, confident, caring woman into something so different pierces me to the core and I cannot help but feel tremendous sorrow for what my choices have wrought in her life. How I wish things could have been different.

But they could not be different. And I could not continue to live my life as I had.

And so the piper must be paid, and unfortunately, my former wife must in the end stand holding the bill.

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to "For Good" from the musical Wicked. As I listened to the lyrics, I thought of my wife and of my love for her. I wept as I recited these beautiful words because they captured in totality my deep appreciation for the woman who sacrificed so much so I could ultimately be whole, and that in the end, because I knew her, I have been changed for good.

For Good

I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those who help us most to grow
If we let them and we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true, but I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun;
Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you I have been changed for good.

It well may be that we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So let me say before we part
So much of me is made of what I learned from you,
You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea;
Like a seed dropped by a skybird in a distant wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you I have been changed for good.


  1. Clive,
    Even though you two didn't have the best time ever, the fact that you are trying to maintain an honest relationship with each other is significant. You do your best, and try to provide whatever emotional and spiritual support as appropriate, and then let time and the Spirit work through the rest. You both have many years ahead of you to forge new relationships, and those will probably happen, but honoring her and giving her respect in a consistent manner is a great goal. And, I might add, your children are watching you navigate these uncharted waters.

    My parents divorced when I was 11, and they had their ups and downs, yet my father always gave my mother a Mother's Day gift. Through the years she made a collection of them, and these were quite meaningful to her. It was very important and stabilizing to me, even as an adult, to watch the committed friendship my parents had one for another.

  2. Thanks, GeckoMan, for the wonderful perspective and advice. I do want to retain a meaningful relationship with my wife and realize that it will take time and special care. You are a wise man.

  3. I'm glad you're still able to do this. My X has no interest in anything of the sort and I can understand, she has to go work through her own issues. Oddly enough not coming out and accepting who I was and what it meant for our lives was largely affected by how I imagined it was going to hurt her and in the end, I suppose nothing was going to make a difference. She even said she didn't want to keep getting gifts and to stop sending them...ouch!