The D Word

It’s a bit strange to be talking about divorce – especially when I’m doing a wedding series based on my sister’s wedding in October.  But maybe it’s just as important to talk about the end when you talk about the beginning?

I’ve been thinking about this subject for awhile now based on a conversation that TMB and I had with Baby Gurl and the Boy coming home from town one day.

TMB and I were talking about divorce.  Not our divorce, but divorce in general.  Suddenly, we hear a small voice from the backseat ask, “Mom, what is divorce?

My 7 year old daughter does not know divorce.  How awesome is that?

Very few students in the kids’ classrooms last year had both moms and dads at home.  Very few.  I remember when Baby Gurl was in Head Start and The Man Beast went to go pick her up after school.  When they came home, he told me that as he walked into the center, the children in the classroom literally swarmed around TMB.  Why?  Because they all came from single parent homes.

We all know the divorce statistics – over half of all marriages end in divorce.  The question is – why?

Watching divorces happen all around me is hard, especially when they concern family and friends.  Each person has their own story as to why their marriage ended in divorce – and every person feels justified in their decision.  And they are.

But what if you took divorce out of the equation when you entered into the sacred bond of marriage?

Back when TMB and I got married 12 years ago, we made this commitment to each other.  We had both been affected personally by divorce in our own lives and we didn’t want it for our children.

What does it mean when you take divorce out of the equation?  It means that you’re forced to deal with situations, sometimes very difficult, and not run from them.  Sometimes, it’s very hard.  Sometimes, you want to run.  But you stay and stick it out.

All marriages, especially the good ones, have problems. Perhaps this is another reason for such a high divorce rate – we expect the honeymoon feeling to last and when it doesn’t, we feel like the marriage isn’t good anymore.

I believe the honeymoon love that couples have when they first get married is a very selfish kind of love.  He makes me feel…she makes me feel… Me.  Me.  Me.  This isn’t a bad thing – as I think that everyone has this immature love when they first get together.  I believe it’s perfectly natural.

But then you move in together.  You find out that you new groom leaves the toilet seat up or leaves his clothes lying on the floor.  You find out that your young bride doesn’t look perfectly put together all the time.  In fact in the morning, she looks down right scary!

You begin to realize that the person of your dreams isn’t so perfect.  The honeymoon is officially over.

We are ugliest to the people closest to us – who is closer to us than our own partner?

All of this is a huge ice bath to our hot love affair with our new spouse.  Bummer.

But when you get past that selfish what-have-you-done-for-me-lately love, you enter something beautiful – a love that lasts through the bad moods, the sleepless nights as new parents, the endless carpools and the snarky teenage years.   That’s the easy stuff.  You also have a love that lasts through sickness, financial troubles, unemployment and midlife crises.

Anything worth doing is really hard!  Marriage is hard. I’m not sure where we got the fairy tale marriage idea (is Disney to blame?) but the fairy tale marriage is dead wrong.  There’s no such thing.

But as hard as marriage is, it’s truly wonderful.  I look back through difficult periods of my own marriage and think to myself, “Wow, that was hard.  I’m glad we made it through.  We’re stronger now because of it.”

Certainly, taking divorce out of the equation is not a blanket solution for everyone.  It is just what TMB and I have decided in our marriage.  I’m definitely not advocating staying in an abusive marriage or one that is not healthy.  I’m just suggesting that if both spouses have equal expectations of the marriage, if they both have that basic foundation, marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce.

Imagine how wonderful a marriage could be if the wife gave 100% to her husband and the husband gave 100% to his wife?  In our selfish, modern woman’s lib society, putting a man before yourself is something that goes against our very modern nature.  Or at least that’s what society would have us believe.  Chivalry is dead.  Opening a door for a woman?  Standing up when a woman gets up from the table?  That is so old fashioned.

But what if…



12 thoughts on “The D Word

  1. Great post! Obviously, I don’t know how hard it is to be married. But I know that it is. I think part of the problem is we’ve bought into the idea that love is an emotion. It’s not (or at least, not ONLY). It’s a choice. We can choose to love our spouse, or we choose not to. They might not make it easy, but no matter how difficult it is, it’s our choice whether or not we’re going to love them and choose what is best for them over what is best for ourselves.

    1. Right on, Ronnica. The Love Verse in Corinthians says that love is patient, love is kind…it never says that love is a ooey gooey feeling that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. (Please don’t get me wrong…a hug from TMB still makes me weak in the knees. It’s still romantical – but it’s not ONLY romantical)

  2. Wow, Iva, that is MARVELOUS!! And so spot on (as the British say). I agree 100%.

    Steve and I have been married 30 yrs next month. It hasn’t been all sweetness and light. But, we’ve hung on and something permanent has replaced the “what have you done for me lately” phase: real love.

    I hope lots of people read this. Put this at Facebook! You should be a marriage counselor, no lie. Absolutely excellent writing there gal. Thanks. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Sparky. Being that I’m relatively new to this whole marriage thing, it makes me proud to know that I ‘get it’…at least a little bit.

      If the whole teacher thing doesn’t work out – I’ll consider being a counselor, Sparky 😉 (Actually, I had debated going into counseling)

  3. This is an excellent post…and a very “controversial” topic. Not that it should be. You make some great points.

    My husband and I will be married four years in September. We’ve dealt with some tough things in that short time, and I expect there will be more, but our key to overcoming marital problems is communication. We’ll talk through things even if it takes hours! And prayer. It’s true that the family that prays together stays together 🙂

    1. Thanks, Rachel. I understand that it’s very controversial. But you know – I just like to live my life on the wild side. TMB and I have been the ‘old married couple’ since the day we got hitched! 😉

  4. Hi Sweetie,

    This is a great post. I really do believe that people give up in marriage too easily. There are soooo many options available to people who are struggling. Turn to a pastor, a therapist, towards each other. When it becomes so easy to just give up it makes it more likely that it will happen. My hubby and I have had some really difficult times, but we are in this together. I will fight for him and he will fight for me, we are each others best advocates. People need to seriously consider all the options before leaving a marriage.

    Having said that I think there are some cases in which divorce is necessary, abuse, etc. And so I do not believe we should do away with it all together.

    And I did jut recently hear that the divorce rate in America has come down, I believe it is in the 30%s range now. And that to me is a good sign 🙂

  5. I dont know where you got your smarts (maybe from me?) but you are GOOD…ever thought about being a therapist??? Man..where were you when I needed you??? I know…you were younger…would I have listened??? probably not.. You are order for a marriage to have to work at the marriage..BUT at the same time…do not lead your children to believe that parents do not argue. I was raised in a household where the mom and dad NEVER raised their voices in front of the children…Never thought about it till later…that was WRONG..I thought marriage was the “fairy tale” boy was I wrong. Thanks Iva for being so level headed. Mom

    1. Hi, Mom –

      TMB and I argue in front of the kids…but they are usually just tiffs and last for a few minutes (yes, really). They don’t get abusive (heaven forbid) and there is no name calling.

      Hopefully, the kids know that grown ups do argue…but just because they argue doesn’t mean that they have to be mean and hurtful to one another OR breakup.

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