Monday, September 26, 2011

The Power of Divorce

It's interesting, over the past few weeks, I've found myself engaged in conversations revolving around the topic of divorce a lot.  Now that we're in our mid-thirties, some of our friends are getting divorced or remarried, others are finding themselves in rough patches in their own marriages, and some are reflecting on their experiences growing up as children of divorce.

My parents divorced when I was four-years old and my brother was an infant...approximately, the ages of my second and third children.  My dad married our neighbor and they have been married for over 30 years.  It wasn't so strange.  Many of my friends growing up had divorced parents.  They understood what it meant to share holidays, cart your stuff between two houses on the weekends or summer break, and many of them inherited step siblings and parents.  It was the early 80's and lots of folks were getting divorced.

Most of us didn't know how those experiences would shift the pendulum when it came to our own marriages.  For me, I didn't get married until I was almost 30 (by that time, my mom had been divorced for three years and had a seven and four-year old child to raise) and even though I thought I wanted to be married in my 20's...the truth is that I probably wouldn't have known what to do with myself.  I'm glad I had the chance to travel and to finish grad school and to live in an apartment, alone.

Now that I've been married for seven years and have three children, I think, "Man...divorce is paralyzing."  While I can't argue that for some relationships, there is no hope for reconciliation...for many there is.  I just think that we're selfish creatures by nature.  We want what we want when we want it.  We use jargon like "soul mates" and not "in-love" with you anymore to justify our temporary whims. 

Let's be honest.  Marriage is hard, not a little bit hard, a lot hard. Take into account jobs, mortgage payments, kids, illness, health coverage or lack thereof and a myriad of other demands and you have a recipe for disaster on any given day.  I'm not sure what the trick is...I'm still learning how to communicate and how to pick my battles...but my hope is that I won't throw in the towel. 

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