At twenty-five, I’m entering into quite a few new phases of my life. For example, everything that I grew up being into is slowly creeping back into the mainstream, and bands that should have broken up long ago are getting together with OTHER bands that should have broken up long ago (um, New Kids on the Block and Boys II Men might be touring with the Backstreet Boys, you guys) for nostalgia tours. Another example? Friends of mine are not only beginning to get married — a few of them are already getting divorced.
Divorce has quite the social stigma in our society, and mostly for reasons that I don’t quite understand. To me, if a house is devoid of joy and love, that trumps any kind of moral or religious reason why divorce is bad. If a marriage is truly broken, or, in some cases, never should have been entered into in the first place, I think it’s better for all involved parties (spouses and children) that it end.
I will concede that some divorces are hastily decided upon in a fit of emotional rage or agony, and could have been prevented if the couple had been committed to working through their problems, but that in and of itself is part of my point — if a couple doesn’t feel like its worth it to continue on in the marriage, then they should disband, and I especially believe this if children are involved. I don’t know about you, but I want Jasper raised in a house that is filled to the brim with love. Sure, we’ll have our fights and arguments, but I want him to feel like, if nowhere else, he is safe and secure at home.
My parents split up when I, the oldest, was sixteen, and my brother, the youngest, was eleven. I will never, ever forget all of our reactions when my mom told us — every single one of us (there are four) just sighed, “Finally.” There were no big tears, no emotional turmoil about who we would live with (my mom, of course) or why. We were happy to know that it, the marriage between our parents, had finally ended.
As far as I know, based on what I have been told, every single one of us were what is commonly known as a “save the marriage baby.” My parents split up when I was young, and then had my sister two years later. They split up again, they got back together. Then they had two more babies.
I’m not saying that there wasn’t happiness in our home, but it definitely was not over-flowing. There was an incredible amount of verbal abuse (to the point where I still don’t handle yelling of any kind very well), and a few instances of physical violence that taint many of the good memories I have of growing up. Life was somewhat harder financially after my dad moved out, mostly because he didn’t try to help us in any way for quite a few years (we were never in any kind of high income bracket anyway), but it was also a lot easier, emotionally speaking.
I don’t know all of the details of my friend’s divorces, mostly because I think that’s their business to share if they want to. I definitely do not think reasons for a divorce have to be as extreme as abuse, and there’s no shame in a divorce that takes place because a couple simply grows apart.
In all honesty, I can attribute my outlook on marriage and divorce to the fact that my parents finally got it together and did what we were hoping they would do. Sean is also a product of a divorce of good reason, and I think our experiences have helped our marriage be stronger than it might be if we had both never experienced divorce in the first place — we know what to watch for, and what to try to do and not do. We entered into our marriage knowing that there would be intense lows and periods of emotional anguish, but also knowing that we were both committed to working through those times and basking in the glow of the happy times together.
I love being married to Sean, but I do not for a single instance take my marriage for granted. Neither of us are under the impression that we’re the only people in the entire world that we could be happy with, but we both also hope that we remain happy with one another for a very long time. It’s safe the assume that if we’re in love now we probably will be next month, and hopefully next year, and we both, at this point in our lives, want to be together. That is what matters, and that is what creates a happy home for us.