Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mourning the Divorce of a Friend

In what has become an all-too-familiar theme in life, I found out another friend of mine is getting a divorce. As is common in these situations, I had no idea and was taken totally off-guard. Not that all my friends have to keep me in the loop of their most private details, but you would think I would have some sort of clue, right?

I know all relationships have their ups & downs. Goodness knows hubby and I have had our share of both. But what, at the end of the day, is the "final straw" that makes a relationship die? It's a lot of hard work to keep a relationship afloat. But, especially when there are children, divorced parents still have to maintain some kind of relationship with their ex-spouse. That can't be easy. And there is a considerable amount of work that has to go into dividing up a household. Where do you even begin? And how do people afford to be divorced? We seem to barely be able to afford to work together toward the budget!

In my experience, the friends on whom I've always kept one eye, believing that I might very well expect a divorce announcement at any time, continue on through the rough patches and stay together. Fighting and disagreement seem to be an assumed cue for couples who are in trouble. Even my children become tense and paranoid when hubby and I share cross words. But fights don't necessarily earmark the divorces I've witnessed. In fact, in several cases, the couples whom I have believed to be strong, virtually impenetrable fortresses are the ones who have crumbled with no apparent warning.

How do you divorce-proof your marriage? Well, I am certainly no expert. But I'll tell you the main thing that I've heard from the people who I know who have gotten divorced: "We quit making each other a priority."

From there, they've "fallen out of love," "fallen in love with someone else," "worked too much," "quit talking to each other," "just weren't the same people we were when we got married."  The last one, to me, is a given. Hubby and I have been married seventeen years, and we dated for five before that. Neither of us are the same people we were twenty-two years ago (thank goodness!). We are certainly not infallible, either. But he and I have the same priorities: 1) God, 2) Each Other, 3) Our Children, 4) the rest of the world. (If he ever put the children in danger in any way, or put something else in front of them, I would have something to say about that.)

Death is sorrowful. The death of a relationship through divorce is disheartening and sad. I continue, as always, to keep my friends in my thoughts and prayers as they make their way during this difficult transition in their lives. I pray they come through happier and healthier on the other side. And I use this as a reminder to myself and my spouse that "but for the grace of God, there go I."
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1 comment:

Stephanie Faris said...

I've always heard the couples who end up divorcing are the ones who don't fight. I was one of those couples. We never fought and were probably the most stable and seemingly happy of all our friends. Some friends had major dysfunction and survived. Maybe you need that? Maybe having things go too smoothly causes problems? In my case, it was just that we were really good friends and over time, we grew apart. Considering divorce statistics, it's amazing to me so few people I know do get divorced. Most every couple I knew in my 20s is still together. I see divorce so rarely...and I'm not sure why that is! But they say that divorce can be contagious because couples who are already having problems cause others to question their relationships. I think that's true...but it also can be true that someone like you can look at your marriage and realize all the good things about it.