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…