Relationships: Some are poems (short, gorgeous, carved onto tombstones) and others are novels (long, complex, taught forever).
This morning, Andy and I drove to court together, stood before a judge together, and answered a series of questions we’d rehearsed earlier with our shared attorney.
It felt strange to answer simply “yes” to questions so complex: Are there irreconcilable differences in your marriage? Are you satisfied with the distribution of property? Do you approve of the plan for co-parenting your daughter?
But it was, in ways, a familiar moment.
Ten years ago: Will you be faithful and honest? Will you respect, trust, help and care for one another until death comes between you? Will you forgive as you have been forgiven?
“Yes” was the answer then, too. Or, to be more precise: “I will.”
There was an ironic difference, though, between the morning of our divorce and the evening of our marriage. Today, we left the courthouse and shared a meal – just the two of us – no crowd, no party, but interesting and intimate conversation between two people who have known each other longer than they haven’t.
Our breakfast extended for three hours as we talked about everything from faith and family to March Madness and social media, and we prolonged it by a trip to Lowe’s to buy things for each of our houses. Twice – me at breakfast and him at the hardware store – we saw people we knew that the other did not. How do you introduce your ex-spouse in a culture where “ex” means the end of something rather than a transition to something new?
We talked about that. Are we “Lily’s mom” and “Lily’s dad”? “My friend, Knight” and “my friend, Andy”?
Maybe just Knight and Andy.
In the last few months, Andy and I have grown closer to one another as we’ve dissected ourselves as individuals and focused our energy on our family – regardless of what form it takes. We have concluded it’s fair to say we love each other in many ways, but not all. We have concluded it’s possible for relationships to change but last forever. We have concluded we are special and that our daughter is lucky.
We have, in the midst of divorce, tended to one another with faithfulness and honesty. With respect, trust, help, care. With forgiveness.
Our lives will continue to twist and turn from this point – down some familiar roads and others untraveled. We don’t know what the future holds, but we have faith there is one – for each of us independently, as well as both of us together.
Ours is the novel.