Following the wedding they lived happily ever after...don't I wish! The truth is that Jim and I did get married three years after we met, but the fairy book ending is not quite as simple in the real world. One thing standing in the way of our marriage was the Catholic Church. I applied for an annulment of my first marriage, and spent the next year jumping through hoops that had been created to make an annulment anything but easy to obtain. Many times I felt the priests with whom I met from the marriage tribunal acted as though I had awakened one morning and casually decided to get a divorce. That was so far from the truth! For me there was nothing casual about filing for divorce. Being an adult, I understood the gravity of my decision and took none of it lightly. In fact, it had taken me many months of living in an emotional state of distress, heartache, shock and confusion before the path I needed to take came into clarity.
After continually being told my case was in the "judgement drawer" my annulment was finally granted, but not until my mom and dad were also summoned to meet with the marriage tribunal requiring them to answer two hours of very personal questions about my relationship with Jon. After receiving the annulment, I was asked to give a donation to this same marriage tribunal that had already extracted a pound of flesh from my parents and me. I told them I would return home and put their request into my "judgement drawer." Does that give you a sense of how I was feeling about the Catholic Church after the humiliating treatment we had received?
Another obstacle we had to face was presented to me by Jim when he asked, "How long do I have to pay for Jon's mistakes toward you?" Yikes! How could one small question pack such a powerful punch? I didn't know how to respond other than, "The smell of shit lingers a long time." This was a wake up call for me to become more aware of how my past experiences were now having a negative affect on my current relationship. There was work to be done, and I was up to this challenge, especially since the work would pay off with a more solidly grounded connection based in the present and not the past. Wow! Being an adult can sure be hard work sometimes.