Crossroads of Divorce

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i am currently reading a book called “The Magic Room” centered around a bridal shop that has been in operation since 1934. they talk about the brides of the past and of the present, what they hope for and how their dreams for the future come to fruition or fall apart at the seams. how the ideas and longevity of marriage have changed almost drastically through the 77 years the shop has been opened.

i’ll talk more about in later in a future post for the BlogHer book club
but i have been thinking about it a lot in relation to the new Stronger Marriage article that was published called,
Crossroads of Divorce

with the divorce rate steadily increasing, it’s hard to comprehend why so many marriages and couples who once were filled with so much hope and love can seem to be ended so easily.

of course, each relationship is different and there are some circumstances that truly warrant divorce.
the intention of my article is not to place judgment or force couples to stay together.

but i do want to make people think
to question
if divorce is really necessary in all circumstances

in a national study, over 75% of couples who reported being unhappy in their marriage but chose to stay together said they were very happy 5 years later.
and on average, in 75% of divorced couples at least one partner has regrets about the decision to divorce one year after break up.

so my question to you is:
are you doing everything you can?
do you remember the reasons that you were married?
are you letting the stress of outside forces creep their way into your relationship?
can you try harder?

i know in my own marriage, i realized that i wasn’t trying hard enough.
i wasn’t communicating or understanding or allowing myself to have an open heart
and because of that, there were times in the beginning of my marriage that i truly felt unhappy.

but we stuck it out.
we tried harder.
we talked more.
we went to counseling.
and i can tell you that our marriage has never been better!

i hope you read the new Stronger Marriage article
and i hope that it helps encourage you if you are wavering at the crossroads.
i hope you can be inspired, uplifted & comforted
because you are not alone in your feelings.
more than likely, there has been more people who understand than you know!

read it here.


please note: i want to reiterate that i’m not trying to say divorce is wrong and should never be an option. i understand that every marriage is different and only those involved can fully understand and make the decision that is best for them. also, if there is any kind of abuse in a marriage i fully support the decision to divorce and get out of the relationship as fast as possible. safety should always be the first and most important factor.


Unknown said...

I think I am in the same position that you were in the beginning of your marriage. I need to try harder and I need to be more understanding. But I feel my husband has a few problems too.

Are we thinking of divorce, of course not! We have only been married a year and realize there are a lot of outside forces that are contributing to our fights that WE need to work on ourselves.

It just makes me sad because you only imagine getting married once, but that is not the case anymore.

I just found out two more people I knew from high school (one married 5 years, the other 6 years) are both getting divorced. It is just really sad.

Marriage is hard work but I feel worth it. I mean you do agree to stick together through hard times!

Great post!

MacGirl said...

Great post! I come at it from two very different points of view.

My Guy and I have been together (not married) for just over 2 years, we've been living together for 18 months of them. We moved in together early and sometimes it feels like we are married. Yes, we argue, yes they are conflicts but we work through them, together. We have a little sulk and then we sit down and we talk it out. I think, like you say, that many couples don't sit and talk about things. We have talked about marriage and it is on the cards, in the future though, for now we are happy being young and enjoying our life just as it is.

The other side, my parents got divorced when I was 16. It was not a nice split, my Dad was a violent alcoholic who was having an affair with a woman in Scotland (600 miles away!). My Mum and him tried to work it out, they talked, they went to counselling and after all that they couldn't work it out. I honestly don't think that she has any regrets, apart from the impact on my sister and I. I've seen my Dad a handful of times in 8 years and he's no longer interested.

I think some people take marriage for granted because divorce is so freely talked about now and it has almost become the social "norm". Marriage doesn't seem to have the same respect that it used to have.

Those are just my thoughts :-)

Meagan said...

Great post!

Where my marriage is today is a complete 180 from where it was last August, or even last November. Actually December (2010) marks the first time my husband had told me he loved me SINCE August. We had only been married two months as of August 2010 when he decided that he wasn't in love with me, and wasn't sure if he ever had been. It was devastating but we decided to work through it.

He was going through a lot of life changes (getting married, joining the Army, leaving our daughter for a long period of time) all at once-and it was stressful for him. I think deciding he didn't love me was almost a defense mechanism. He didn't know what was going to happen when he joined the Army, what if he was deployed and died in action? He didn't want me to love him so much at that point and then have him ripped away, so he rationalized it by deciding he didn't love me. By the way, he never told me any of this directly-but he did tell it to others who relayed it to me.

I am so glad we decided to work it out, today our marriage is better than I ever could have imagined it would be. It still isn't perfect, and we still have to work really hard everyday but it is definitely worth it.

claire said...

i think its a sign of the times. Years ago, people got married and stayed together forever. There was no counseling to speak of, or if there was people didnt talk about their marriage problems like they do now. Nowadays it seems like marriage is another example of the 'throwaway society' people just think, oh that marriage hasnt worked out, on to the next one.
I know that not everyone is lucky enough to be in a happy marriage like i am, but i wa swith my husband for 10 years before we tied the knot, and thats another thing, people get engaged and married so quickly these days, you have to wonder how well they even know each other.
Interesting post!

Andrea said...

I found your blog via another blog via even another blog (down the rabbit hole of the internets), but felt I wanted to comment on your post.

I don't want to lessen your thoughts, of course, and everyone (especially bloggers!) has the right to express their thoughts and feelings, but I've been dying to ask this question each time I see a post regarding the sanctity of marriage.

Do other people's marriages or divorces affect your life? If so, how so?

I ask because I believe that people have the right to be happy, regardless of what that happiness is, short of breaking the law. If two people marry because they are in love, and in similar places in their lives, and feel that they are fated to be together, that's wonderful. It's even more wonderful if they feel that way until death do them part. But life is a constantly evolving exercise. People change. Their personalities change. Their wants and desires change. I'm 33 years old, and I look back on my 23 year old self and wonder in amazement about just how different I am now. I want different things out of my life, have completely different interests, and have completely different friends than I did then.

I was once married, at 19 years old, to a man whom I thought hung the moon. His only flaw at the time was that he abused marijuana. I really thought he would grow out of that phase, but he did not. And in fact, his substance abuse spiraled out of control over the course of the next 5 years. In that time, he also cheated on me with many women, and fathered a child with a 17-year old girl, which I didn't find out about until the baby was 5 months old. None of his indiscretions were ever known to me until the baby news came out. I promptly filed for divorce.

My ex-husband never hit me or threatened physical violence. Looking back on the marriage, I would say that he was verbally abusive, but not to the point that I was scarred from it - just to the point that I was vastly unhappy.

And even then, I still felt during the unhappy times in the marriage that I couldn't leave him because I believed in "marriage" and the vows that I took, even though the unhappiness lasted for years. My ex was a Christian, but refused to see a counselor or talk to anyone at the church about his or our problems. I wasted more than 5 years of my life trying to make that marriage work before the whole thing blew up in my face.

I'm sure that you would agree this was a justifiable divorce. But you would be surprised at just how many women have chastised me for not "sticking with it" and "making it work". I often wonder if these women are miserable in their own marriages, too afraid to leave, and feel that other women should have to suffer the same consequences of choosing the wrong mate, as they did. It often comes off as a condescending comment/remark toward me, while simultaneously putting themselves on a pedestal for how strong they are to have tackled their marital problems and make it work, a la Hillary Clinton. And if those kinds of comments make them feel better about themselves, then more power to them. Because I know that I did the right thing for myself, and if faced with the same situation, I'd likely do it again. But the sad thing is, staying with a man that treats his wife like crap, doesn't make the wife look strong. It makes her look weak, someone to be pitied, with low self-esteem.


Andrea said...

Today, I'm almost 10 years beyond the divorce. I met a wonderful man shortly after my separation and we have been together since 2002. We even have a precious *very much planned* 12-month old baby boy. But we are not married. We have our reasons, but we also thought it would be fun to wait until our 10-year anniversary to do it for sentimental reasons.

I look back on the last 10 years of my life and I can't imagine not having been blessed with the happiness I've had. I feel loved and cherished and adored in a way that wasn't even fathomable in my previous marriage.

Sometimes I have dreams of being back with my ex-husband in a situation where I cannot leave. I wake up in a panic, but quickly realize it was just a dream, and that the real love of my life is lying next to me, oblivious to my short-lived scare. And I feel that he is the love of my life today. I hope I will always feel that way. But I am not wearing rose-colored glasses. Life happens, and I can't predict the future. All I can do, is what I can do. If it doesn't work out 20 years from now, it will be sad, but again, I will not weep for the concept of marriage.

There are many, MANY reasons why divorce is justified. And many times those reasons aren't readily visible on the surface. I don't know many divorcees at all, who've just decided they didn't want to be with their partner anymore and split for trivial reasons.
But, there is a case to be made that divorce is becoming more and more mainstream. And there are many social reasons to attribute this to - a steady move away from organized religion, a more disposable view of marriage via co-habitating before having a commitment (such as engagement), promiscuity at younger ages, and the ever-infuriating reality TV. When kids of today see nothing but orchestrated fighting, bickering, and shallow behavior on every single station via reality television, they will learn to emulate that behavior. When we, as a society, idolize the Kardashians and whichever sister was the one who had a 72-day marriage, and tune in to see "Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire" or "The Real Housewives of insert-city-here", and buy cheap tabloids at the grocery store with cover stories such as "Teen Mom cheats on husband", then this trend will continue to self-propagate. We cannot sit back and speculate why divorce is so prevalent, when we're actively fueling the fire.

Honestly, I understand why other countries hate us so much. We want to put on airs that we are a generous, gentle, and forgiving society, but we worship celebrities that teach us nothing about ourselves, and set horrible examples for our youth. I don't watch reality TV. I don't buy tabloids. I don't give celebrities much thought at all in a given day. I try to teach my son to be good, to love, be kind, and hope that one day he will grow up to be a man with dignity and integrity. This will carry over into his future marriage, and hopefully he will not have to ever go through the trauma of a divorce.

But if he does, I will not judge him. I will take him in my arms and hug him, and tell him it will be ok, and that the most important thing is that he is happy.

After all, we only get one life on this Earth. Why spend a moment of it unhappy and fearful of the future?

I apologize that this comment turned into such a post, especially coming from a complete stranger. Again, I don't know you at all, and am certainly not attacking your post. I thought it was well-written and justified. I wish there were answers to complicated situations such as these, but we all know that life is convoluted and there are no simple answers.

Unknown said...

We also went to counseling and made a huge difference. Marriage is a lot of work!!

Alexis Kaye said...

I think it's sad how prevalent divorce is. if you just stick it out it gets better!

Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley said...

I too think of how sad it is that people don't stick it out. I have been with my husband 8 years, married 6 ( come July) and can honestly say divorce would never be an option for us. For my mom and dad, it was necessary, because if they hadn't divorced their previous spouses I would not be here (lol), so certainly there are times when it is necessary. But I think the divorce rate is so high because of high stressed out people are from work and such, and take it out on their spouses. Of course it is different for everyone, since every situation is unique.