From One Divorcee To Another

Tiffany Biles

© Copyright 2002 by Tiffany Biles

What is a marriage? Is it what our parents have exposed us to our entire lives? Television sitcoms? Chick flicks? Or is it what we make it? Is it being best friends, raising a family, sharing both the bills and your most intimate thoughts, having a sexual relationship that is exciting yet still based in trust, and loving another human being as much as a young child loves its mother until the day death separates the two of you? That seems pretty simple, don’t you think? Love our lives, love our kids, love our friends…and most of all love each other. 

Photo of Tiffany, Steven, and daughters Aspen and Bayley.
Because, really, that's all we have eventually. Our lives will change, our children will grow, our friends will fade away…but as long as we love one another, we will continue to prosper in a life of immeasurable happiness. Right? To quote a cultural icon of modern day reason, "I don’t think so Tim."

Darwin credited longevity to "survival of the fittest". I have to disagree just a tad with our dear friend and put forth instead "survival of the emotionally fit." In a world of prozac-hooked, viagra-craving, plastic-breasted, steroid-filled, ecstasy-crazed people forced on September 11th to realize that Ally McBeal’s weight is not as important as we thought it was the day before… "survival of the sane" is not a hard concert to grasp. It’s those who are best able to cope emotionally with the trials and tribulations of life that come out on top. And that’s where partners come into play.

You partner is your safe-haven, your go-to-man, your anchor…he or she is Stephen Hawkins’s event-horizon where everything goes back to zero and nothing else matters but that one instant. Your partner is your cubby (or binky or woogie) or whatever it is you called that beloved treasure of childhood that you couldn’t sleep, eat, or even shit without. Your partner is what keeps you sane.

Then life throws you for a loop with a little cosmic John Wayne joke called Karma. It takes every little off colored remark, side-ways glance, and romantic faux pas you’ve ever made and shoots it right back at you like the shot gun blasts on a Sunday afternoon western. Suddenly that safe-haven has become synonymous with Nurse Ratchet shock therapy flashbacks and your anchor has left you afloat in an emotional flood even Noah couldn’t have been prepared for.

Only you don’t know it yet. No matter how intelligent an ape we are, we are no better than a cat who pisses in that same corner of the room despite having the shit kicked out of it everyday of its life. It’s animal instinct. We are so accustomed to turning to our "cubby" whenever we start to feel a little uncomfortable or (dare I say it) emotionally vulnerable, that we are magnetically drawn to the warmth and safety of a bed that, by morning, has become a wasp nest of stinging accusations. Of course we all know the conclusion. No matter whether the conversation starts with "What do you want for dinner" or "Why do you always do that?" it always ends with those infamous ten little words, "Why does it always have to come back to this?" "This" could be anything from a single act of debauchery that occurred ten years prior to the fact that you just aren’t romantic enough. Every relationship in our past has had a "this" and every relationship in our future will have a "this" for as long as people make mistakes, are individuals, and can’t both forgive and forget…in essence, as long as we remain human beings.

So we play the emotional ping-pong game of splitting up that leaves us wondering if the words Love and Hate share the same Latin root word, until one morning we find ourselves waking up on "their side of the bed" and realize we didn’t wake up even once during the night in a panic because there’s no one there to spoon. And thus begins our journey back into singularity.

We’ll skip the whole being "single aspect" of it because we’ve all been there before. Even as hormone-high adolescents driving around in our haze of artificial invincibility, we understood how the game worked…who the players were. And, for a while, you’ll even enjoy the independence and the "thrill of the hunt" (to be cliché); but, even the Rolling Stones knew it’s a lonely place to spend any large amount of your short life in.

And then you meet them.

The One. (or the second, or third, or forth…but still "The One" at the time).

Only this time, you think it might actually work. This time, it’s going to be Ward and June Cleaver meet William Wallace and the woman who died so early in the movie no one remembers her name. You’ll make love every night and never say an unkind word to one another because you are (drum roll please) "In Love".

Yeah, riiiiiight.

So that brings us back to "what is marriage?" If you’re expecting some sort of god-whispered epiphany based on diligent sociological research conducted over a period of 30 years, you are sadly mistaken my friend. The fact of the matter is, this is nothing more than enough reading material to get you through the average shit and if you wiped your ass with it I wouldn’t blame you a bit, because all this comes down to one person’s opinion. But that opinion is mine so listen up.

Marriage is a little of the very best friend you’ve ever had in your life, a little of the most beautiful person you’ve ever made love to in your life, and a little of the family that raised you. Sometimes you talk about bodily functions over dinner, sometimes you make love under the stars, and sometimes you wonder how Rosanne’s family was able to invade the bodies of everyone in your house without leaving behind slimy pods. It’s not always pretty, but it’s not meant to be…it’s life. Only you’re sharing it with someone who became a member of the insane little world you call "my family" by choice instead of by circumstance. Hey…your kids have to be born into it.

None of us are "emotionally fit" by default…it’s not in the double helix hard-drive. That’s why we need each other to stay sane. Our spirits need a partner like our lungs need oxygen. Only, realizing it works both ways is the true epiphany. Knowing that you’re their anchor too is what keeps us together. Is love enough? Of course not. You can’t make bread with just flour. A marriage takes an infinite list of ingredients that is unique to every couple in history. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That doesn’t mean we starve ourselves. We learn from our mistakes and we try again. And maybe…just maybe…we’ll muddle through this life one way or another… "Right Al?"

I'm a 26 year old Comanche Indian, the mother of two daughters, a wife (for the second time), and the marketing director of Native American Casino in Oklahoma. I have a BA in Communications with a minor in English Lit., and before my current position at the casino I was in local television news (reporter, then producer, then manager).

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