I'm home from a run, and tired. I've got the Cal football game on in the background (we are trailing Oregon, disturbingly), and am settling in for a quiet weekend of grading, napping, exercise, church, and playing with the chinchilla.
I'm not in a blogging mood, but did want to respond to this query by Fred in the comments below my previous post:
I hope this is not too personal, but four is a lot of times to get married. Is that something that you've ever written about?
I've made no secret of the fact that I've been married and divorced three times, and am engaged to be married for the fourth time. I've often contemplated writing in more detail about these past marriages, but several things continue to hold me back:
First and foremost, I have the highest respect for my fiancee. As I've mentioned before, I zealously guard her privacy here on the blog. I don't even mention her name (it is an unusual one), and though I did so in the past, I no longer post pictures with her in them. She has her own life, and I want to protect her from those who might be curious about our relationship after reading my posts. It takes courage to take on a thrice-divorced man, after all. Thus, for obvious reasons, I leave off details of my sexual and romantic past in order to honor her.
I don't know if any of my former spouses read my blog, though it is entirely possible that they have stumbled across it. I have no contact with any of them, but from a distance, I wish them well and have no desire to write or say anything in public that would place them or our marriages in an unfavorable light. And of course, I have students who read this blog -- and while I think a small amount of personal disclosure is often helpful in humanizing a professor, too much can make folks more than a little uncomfortable.
Here is what I can say:
I have always believed in marriage. From the time I was a teenager, I expected to marry young. (My first was shortly after turning 23.) This certainly was not the norm in my family, but for whatever reason, I felt called to commit early on. Of course, there was a huge disconnect between my desire to commit and my ability to live into that commitment in mind, body, heart and spirit! Though there were related issues that cropped up with all three of my wives (who were markedly different women), I can say that my own behavior improved enormously over the course of these three marriages. My third divorce was far more loving and civil and kind than the first two -- and there is much to be said for a graceful, gentle separation.
Some info I can provide: Aside from the four-legged variety, I never had children with any of my first three wives; that made divorce much easier in each case. Each marriage made it to a first anniversary; none of the three made it to a second. The first wedding was Catholic, the second two Episcopalian, and my fiancee and I are keeping our current wedding plans private.
To sum up, I don't think experience is always the best teacher. I don't think I am necessarily wiser about life and love than my friends who got married once and have stayed wed. But everyone's journey is different. Though I would never hold myself up as a model of virtue, I do know that the bitter experiences of my past have made me gentler, kinder, more patient and infinitely less judgmental than I was when I was young. Someday, when my future kids ask me about the women I was married to before their mother (they will surely ask, I know kids), I will simply tell them that it took their father a long, long time to discover what kind of man he wanted to be. And he had to find out who that man was in order to be ready to marry a woman as marvelous as their mother. And that's all the information they are going to get.
And folks, that's as much as I'm sharing on the blog.