Chocolate ice cream
One
of the great things about being married is that there is always someone to
point out your flaws and someone nearby to blame on them. One of the great
things about being divorced is that neither is present.

All
of us have habits. Some good. Some not so good. My longstanding habits include
planning ahead, working hard, and brushing my teeth before I go to bed. Those
are the good ones.

The
“not so good” habit list appears a tad longer. It includes: hurrying on to the
next task before I’ve completed the last, leaving a trail of messes behind me;
seeing a brilliant opportunity in everything I read and thinking I need to hold
on to it. I could go on but using too many words is a habit I’m trying to
break.

I
was married for over twenty-five years. Imagine getting a quarter of a century
of feedback about your habits. I got plenty. Sometimes in an ever so kind
invitation that I consider an easier way of doing things. Other times, in
vicious words that left me weeping for days.

Having
a spouse provided someone to point out my flaws. But it also gave me some one
to blame them on.

When
he noted that stacks of papers had overtaken every available surface in our
home, I could claim it was because I was busy doing things for him or the
children. I could blame my polishing off the ice cream in the freezer on him
having bought it.

Like
any decent lawyer, I deflected, defended, and denied my failings. But today the
words stay with me. I observe myself and see the truth of what was being said.
Not about who I am, but about my habits that got more entrenched with use each
passing year.

With
no husband at hand to blame, it’s all on me. That’s the bad news. And the good
news.

With
no one to shift my excuses to, I finally tell the truth. I can take my
imperfections which I once so vigorously defended and see that there are,
indeed, longstanding behaviors I’d like to change.

Whether
we couldn’t bear the thought that we were disappointing our spouse or whether
we were constantly under attack and felt the need to protect ourselves by not
listening, we may have ignored that our spouses were our teachers. I was given
an opportunity to grow in ways I did not see at the time. No longer married, I
admit there is no escaping that I could benefit from learning, growing, and changing.

Without
the luxury of a spouse to point to, I have the choice to face them on my own.
Stacks of paper still manage to crawl onto my dining room table when I’m not
looking. I’m on day 10 of my newest 90 day fitness plan. And I still plan to
keep a pint of chocolate obsession in the freezer. Some things require no
defending.

Coach Koenig

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