My hand naturally glided into his as though it had been there before—snug, warm, comfortable. My future husband guided me to the dance floor
with ease, somehow knowing our bodies would fit together like yin and yang. Corny as it sounds, I felt like Cinderella meeting my Prince
Charming. When the music stopped playing at the stroke of midnight, neither one of us wanted to say good night. So, unlike Cinderella who
dashed away to her awaiting pumpkin, I agreed to venture onto his cousin’s well-worn pontoon boat and we leisurely puttered into the pitch
blackness of the Monongahela River.
It wasn’t until we were in the middle of the river that my prince realized his cousin had neglected to tell him that one of the pontoons had a major
leak. Not that it would have mattered. As the boat’s exaggerated tilt sank deeper into the murky waters, we talked until dawn.
A mere year after our meeting, we had the word forever engraved inside thin wedding bands that would be paid off in just twelve easy
We didn’t care that he had another year of college and I had my first teaching job at a salary of a whopping five thousand dollars a year. What we
didn’t have in money was made up for with fiery chemistry that could split an atom. Convinced our love would conquer all, we called our parents
the morning we planned to elope. This was by no means a spontaneous decision. We had previously found a little church in Maryland where there
was a kind minister who spoke with us about love, commitment, and the sanctity of marriage. We talked about the future and how we would be one
of those old couples who always hold hands, finish each other’s sentences, and call each other “Mom” and “Dad.”
In truth, we had no idea what we were doing. Time proved that love wasn’t enough. Through the years, outside factors and meddlesome people
cunningly seeped into our lives, playing manipulative games under the guise of caring. The future of our marriage was doomed; we just didn’t
know it. Just as I had ignored the sinking pontoon, it took me twenty-three years to take responsibility for the underlying feelings of lies and deceit
that came to define our marriage.
By the time we sought counseling, the relationship was far too fractured to be repaired. The gray, dingy clouds aptly predicted what was to come
that fateful day as we walked up the steps of the therapist’s office building. I, for one, had high hopes that he could save us. During that one-hour
meeting, we first met with the psychologist together, then individually, then together again. At the second together meeting, the doctor told me that
he needed to see my husband by himself. He said that his issues had to be dealt with before he could help us as a couple.
With a brief sense of relief that my suspicions were confirmed, I felt a deep sigh release the tension I had been holding firmly within my body. But
as I recovered, I realized that there was no real cause to celebrate. I felt the counselor’s gaze through his thick, black-rimmed glasses. His smile
was gone. Neither did he give us any word of encouragement. Not one word. His solemn tone told me that we weren’t fixable. My glance moved
to my husband as I searched for a sign of hope, but he was mindlessly staring into space. The man I shared my life with couldn’t even look at me.
Intuitively, I knew we were over. It was a very quiet ride home.
For the longest time, being divorced bothered me. The word stuck in my throat like a frog that couldn’t hop. The first time I had to check “single”
on my tax return made me physically ill. Divorce shouldn’t happen to any couple as much in love as we had been. Not to us. Yet, it did.
Granted, I’ve been told that I look at the world through rose-colored glasses, and while I readily admit that I have a tendency to be gullible and
naive, the one thing I had learned was the value of discernment, the necessity of setting boundaries, and to seek help sooner rather than later. So
when I married again eight years later, and a boundary was broken, I offered him a choice—therapist or attorney. He chose the attorney.
While I never imagined I would be writing the intimate details of my personal life for all the world to see, I’m grateful to be able to share the
lessons I have learned and for the spiritual guidance that led me to know that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. What began with an idea, a
yellow tablet, and determined desire to help couples honor love, this guide developed to prevent and identify problems before they reach the point
of no return.
There are many mindfully ever after marriages and yours is most likely one of them. By becoming aware of the snags and snares ahead of time,
you’re certain to gain sure-footed confidence on how to keep the sanctity of the vows you made to one another.
The challenge for couples is blending embedded tribal beliefs, desires, and expectations to create the ideal marriage. Although there’s no one-size-
fits-all set of rules for everyone, reading this book offers the opportunity for meaningful discussion. Matrimony requires supernatural vigilance to
recognize seemingly insignificant issues, prevent them from escalating, and reach resolution before they become a volcanic mountain of
irresolvable differences. If you take the same tender care a winemaker exerts as he watches over his vineyard, your love is destined to mature to a
ripe old age.
Naturally you’re going to have differences of opinions. There will be changes in job situations. And, people will float in and out of your lives who
prove to be influential challenges. You may even have a strained living arrangement. Know that whatever has happened to you has happened to
someone else. Pay attention and learn from others! You are not alone. By keeping your values and goals intact, you’re certain to stand in truth with
one another for now and always.
Although there are no guarantees in life, living in the zone of mindfulness is truly a pathway to a loving, calm, and caring tomorrow for an ever-
after lifetime of happiness. Thank you for taking Mindfully Ever After on your magnificent journey of love. I applaud your commitment.
As you embark on this incredible adventure, I wish you Godspeed. Just as the astronauts did when they rocketed to the moon, as you cross the
threshold to a life together, strap in for the ride of your life!