Til Death Do Us Part

My previous post was about changes in family due to death or remarriage. Today I am going to discuss divorce.

Nearly half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. This trend was apparent when I was a teenager in the late 70’s. A high percentage of my friends were going through a parental divorce. By the time I graduated from high school, it had happened to so many peers that I was proud my parents were still happily married.

Little did I foresee that within ten years they would get divorced- just three weeks after my own wedding. Thankfully, their principles of marriage seemed unshakeable to me at the time and they did not reveal their intentions, knowing that my faith in the permanence of my wedding vows to my betrothed, would be swept away in confusion.

Couples divorce for many reasons. I know my parents still loved each other, but for some reason they felt a need to go their own ways. I appreciate that they are still friends today and we can have family gatherings together. Unfortunately, the six months after my wedding, when I learned my parents were splitting and my new husband suffered a heart attack (not fatal), were the most devastating moments of my life- shattering my rosy concept of marriage and “for better or for worse, til death do us part”.

The days I spent in the hospital, holding my husband’s hand was relieved by having both of my parents by my side. Because they could be there for me, together, and put aside their differences, I was able to heal the pain in my heart. It also made me stronger and more determined to keep my own marriage on track, through all the trials and challenges of raising a family.

I don’t want to repeat my family history and have nothing in common with my husband once the kids are gone. It isn’t always easy to find time to be together, to talk, to express our desires, our dreams- but we certainly make an effort. Even though my parents’ divorce was heart-wrenching, I was able to take away some lessons from it:

*Don’t ever take love for granted.

*Always make time to talk to each other. Whatever the troubles are, they are better handled together.

*Look beyond the horizon. The kids will be gone in a few years (in my case, 5). Reinforce our bond at least once a week so that we revel in each other’s company when we are on our own again.

* Remember why we fell in love in the first place and try to recreate that feeling at least once a year.

*Give each other space to do their own thing; but also find activities you enjoy doing together.

By following these steps, hopefully we won’t have to put the whole puzzle of our marriage back together when we become empty-nesters; but only will have to pick up a dropped stitch here and there. I have a picture in my mind of my husband and I, sitting on our front porch with a glass of wine in our hands and our walkers by our sides, enjoying the view of the sunset and reflecting on old times.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. clotildajamcracker
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 14:01:19

    There are so many divorces because people just treat each other like they are disposable. You aren’t good enough for me, so I’m going to get someone else who is. Parents don’t teach their kids how to get along. Parents treat their kids like they are pets and burdens that they are excited to get rid of. Girls these days are nothing but princesses who expect their husbands to buy them whatever they want and do whatever they think up. There’s a thousand reasons why people divorce. My parents aren’t divorced, my husband’s parents aren’t divorced. I don’t want to get divorced, because if you have to get someone else, you have to explain everything all over again and they won’t understand your inside jokes.

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    • themiddlegeneration
      Jun 15, 2012 @ 14:55:30

      I like your rationale for not getting divorced. It would really be a drag starting over and having to explain all my little quirks. By now my husband knows what to expect and when to get out of the way.

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  2. Carol
    Jun 16, 2012 @ 10:17:26

    Time changes things. Time changes each of us. If we are aware, if we pay attention, if we communicate and work at it, perhaps we will change in the same directions. I think communication and mutual respect are keys. I have two sets of friends who have recently celebrated their 50th anniversaries – for which I think they should have gold medals.

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  3. themiddlegeneration
    Jun 16, 2012 @ 21:07:25

    Marriage takes work. There are so many challenges- children, jobs, finances- that need to be tackled together. Apparently you and your hubby have overcome many of these successfully. I wish you good luck getting through this current challenge of illness. Many people could learn lessons from you. All the best.

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