My Five Hour Marriage at 29

​Of course, experiencing pain in life is inevitable. Was the first day I put on my wedding band the only day I would ever wear it? Did I fool myself into thinking that my relationship would allow me to be complete? That night, I sat contemplating how my dream had turned into a nightmare. Was this going to break me? I didn’t know the answer. We met at a 4th of July party when I was 21 and she was 20 and eventually began dating. We were young and did a lot of growing up together. Her two sisters became the sisters I never had, and she became the daughter my mother always wanted. We made a lot of memories over the years, but I always understood that feelings and circumstances could change. In the fall of 2013 while apple picking, I proposed, and we got engaged. 3 years later surrounded by family and friends we were married. Little did I know; my fairytale was about to end. At midnight, back in our room, after all the celebration had died down my new wife slept while I waited for a pizza to arrive. It is true what they say, you never get to eat the food at your own wedding. That’s when her phone began to buzz. I thought it was her mom or one of her sisters, so I checked. When I noticed the number wasn’t saved and the last text this person sent was ‘I love you’, I assumed it was some congratulations from a family member thanking her for a wonderful time. I scrolled up, and everything changed. I went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows after reading just a few text messages. The texting ended with one she sent, ‘I love you back’. I won’t get into what the rest of it said, only to say it was clear she was unfaithful. I was truly shocked, we had said our ‘I Do’s’ about 5 hours before. Since you might be wondering, I didn’t suspect anything; ever. I woke her up and she froze for what seemed like an eternity, and then she spoke. Her story was as follows: She had met a man while at her bachelorette party in Las Vegas, just months before our wedding. He lived in Los Angeles and she had been in the area traveling for work only weeks before our wedding. She had spent the entire trip with him. They had stayed in touch for the few months in between her bachelorette party and her business trip. They continued to text back and forth up to, and even on our wedding day. She told me she didn’t want to get married, maybe that she had never wanted to, I honestly cannot remember. Understandably I was upset, and not at my best when I called her a coward several times, grabbed my stuff and left the room. I spent my wedding night in my brother’s room on the couch, but I was never going to sleep anyway. Instead I spent the time reliving and examining the previous 8 years. I also kept replaying her vows in my head. She sold the shit out of those vows and it had me thinking, maybe she was destined for Los Angeles after all. As I thought over how and why this happened I came to a few causes and they are as old as time. First a lack of communication, second and probably more important, was the fear that she had gone too far to correct a past mistake. Finally, the fear, and this is speculation, but the fear to hurt someone with your truth. However, over time the questions changed from how and why did this happen? to, how was I going to rebuild? and try to turn as much of the situation into something positive in my life. How was I going to design a new mindset? One in which I could put this whole thing behind me, so I could function, while still allowing myself to heal. Healing while building. Another message here it that when you can recognize that you are unhappy, and know what would make you happy, you have an obligation to yourself and the people in your life to chase the change, chase the discomfort if it means finding your happiness. Embrace your truth. Do not hide from that hard decision or conversation that could make a positive change in your life. In my situation, I think she simply didn’t have the courage to break things off. What she did have though, was clarity. After she got caught, it was the first time in a long time that she decided to speak her truth, and it took until that moment where she told me that getting married wasn’t what she wanted. If she had communicated her truth when she realized she didn’t want to get married, sure I would have been extremely upset, but she would have been able to chase her happiness and I wouldn’t have had my life flipped upside down. Life can be tricky though, because when we get too comfortable and we aren’t growing, we tend to avoid the uncomfortable thoughts of change. This is where self-awareness becomes key, and at this point in my story I was unceremoniously dumped into forced discomfort and change. I had a choice to make. I could take the time to think deeply about what in life would make me happiest and then attack the change with a positive outlook. Or I could stay in my same lane. It’s been over a year since my wedding day. I am now 30 years old and grateful that it happened when it did. Not only that, I am so grateful for the perspective this life experience has given me. Life is too short for hate and regret. I forgive her. We are human, and we are flawed. The most important thing is that we push ourselves to embrace change with a positive perspective, every single day. I pondered the very question myself and now I ask you. Is your decision making aligned with your happiness? I discovered after those first several weeks of reflection that I was right where I needed to be in my next chapter, and happy again. Two months after my wedding day I resigned from the company I was working for and I started my own business. Prior to my wedding night I thought I was 4–5 years away from setting out on my own. This life event woke me up to the changes I have and continue to make to create a better version of myself, every day. I challenge everyone reading this to live in their truth, be kind, be grateful, and always stay positive and remember don’t shy away from positive change. Until Next time. A forever optimist,

Adam Burke


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