Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

My parents are divorced. Which is ok with me. Maybe in another lifetime, another universe, another dimension, their marriage may have succeeded. Not this one though. There were just too many things going against them, including each other. Don't get me wrong, I believe once they loved each other passionately, but all of that passion did a severe about face and they began to despise each other passionately. Their fights left destruction zones of nuclear proportions, they measured on the Richter scale. It was brutal. Which is why it's surprising when I say I think divorce is an option far too easily exercised in today's day and age.

Before you start screaming at me through ground teeth and spitting all over you monitor, hear me out. There are exceptions, of course. There always are. Physical abuse, chronic infidelity (yes, I said chronic), a permanent and drastic deviance from the person that was, these are a few. I'm here to talk about the reasons that are being used that really amount to nothing more than "I'm looking for an easy way out" (Oh Boy! I am going to take a shit kickin' for that one!).

Call me a little old fashioned, but I kind of took the "for better or for worse, through richer and poorer, etc" to heart. Sure, you started it all full of the warm and fuzzies, but then you both got comfy. Maybe she put on a couple pounds. Maybe he goes to work and comes home and sits his butt on the couch and doesn't move it again until 11pm and then crawls into bed, farts and goes to sleep without so much as a "G'nite". Nowadays, people start thinking back to the chant their parents relied on during child rearing years "You can have anything, you can be anything". You look at your significant other and you start comparing her to the new receptionist at the office or him to that hot guy on Grey's Anatomy. You're thinking you could do better. You are thinking that maybe someone else would be more fun or marriage just isn't your bag, single is what you need.

Your marriage is not like your cell phone, your computer, your whatever is broken or you have grown bored of. You cannot replace it. Suck it up, buttercup. You signed on for the long haul. Before your go dipping your stick in someone else's tank or picturing yourself in another mans button-down shirt, take a long hard look at your spouse. It may seem like a cliche but it works, ask yourself why you fell in love with the person across the breakfast table? Why did you marry the person who's hogging all the blankets.

If your answer falls anywhere near the territory of; I thought he/she would change, it never hurts to try, if it'll make you happy, etc. You were doomed from the beginning. This is your stop, my friend, you were on the wrong train to begin with. You just better hope you haven't left too many casualties in your wake.

Then there is the ever popular "She was pregnant". Let me put a nasty little rumour to bed. For good. It will not, I repeat, not be better for your child to witness the loveless marriage that is a result of someones misguided attempt at being responsible. And for the women out there that think a man should marry them because you are hosting his offspring; you are mistaken and both of you deserve better. As I have already said, there will be no benefit to your child nor will there be either of you. It is perfectly acceptable to choose to raise a child separately. In fact, if you are not compatible, it is down right responsible to decide to raise the child as a team of parents rather than a husband and wife. Also, I will say it just in case there is someone reading that thinks I may be, I am not condoning having children all willy nilly, with whomever, whenever. I'm a big advocate of birth control, but if an accident happens, I don't believe it's a death sentence...ahem...marriage license (Oh, good golly! Take it easy, would ya? I am trying to be funny!) The only saving grace in these scenarios is that they happen less and less often.

Back to the blanket hogger and the other occupant of the breakfast table. For the sake of argument, your marriage was never a sham. You didn't do it for some ridiculous reason, but the only good one; Love. You look at your spouse and remember a time when you hung on their every word. When you couldn't wait to spend more time with them. When the sun rose and set on your partner. When the thought of causing the object of your affection even the slightest discomfort, let alone pain, was unheard of! Now, you're here, looking at your marriage and wondering what the fuck happened. Well, let me ask you another question; did you think it was an eternal flame? To burn forever without the even the tiniest of stoking? I've got news for you. Any flame, left unattended long enough, will go out.

If you find yourself with a smoldering pile of ashes; you have work to do. Getting started will most likely be the hardest part. Communicate. I know, I'm freaking Confucius. It's true, though. Tell your other half how you're feeling. Sometimes, the other half is completely oblivious, for whatever reason, kids, work, selfishness. Sometimes, your significant other was starting to feel the divide as well and didn't know how to close the gap and is intensely relieved that you have. Whatever the problem, talk about it. No sex? Talk about it. Boring sex? Talk about it. Working too much? Talk about it. Not helping out around the house? Talk about it. Not doing enough together? Talk about it! Not talking to each other anymore? TALK, damnit! Don't forget to listen too. For this to work, you are both going to have to hear what the other has to say. Don't sit there thinking that everything you're hearing is an attack on you, cause you aren't really listening then, are you?

Look, I don't have all the answers. I'm not naive enough to think that every marriage can be saved. Like I said, there are situations where divorce is the only option. Marriages die. Sometimes they are loud, painful deaths and other times they just slip away quietly. And occasionally, they were never meant to be in the first place. But it seems to me, that so many relationships end because we are taught we can always do better. So, when the going gets tough, we go looking for better. I have known a number of relationships to end this way. More still that almost did, but for one partner being the screaming voice of reason. Everyone has doubts, everyone has a wondering eye, everyone wonders if the grass is greener on the other side, everyone gets a little lazy, everyone forgets to fan the flame. The real test is whether you recognize the relationship has gone stale, and try to revive it or you simply walk away and look for a replacement.


  1. Oh, Eyvi... I can't tell you how many times my sisters and I begged my mom and dad to do us all a huge favor and just split up. It was a long, loveless marriage held together with barbed wire and some nonsense about "staying together for the kids". Plah.
    What I learbed from them was the right reasons for getting married and staying together. I've mentioned that Ms. Spender and I have 17 great years together... not easy, not perfect and not without mistakes... but great.
    Thanks for some very, very good advice and some straight talk to people who all too often don't know how good they actually have things. I'm recommending this blog to some friends who could use some sound advice.

  2. Ahhh, my good friend, Eyvi;

    I read your blog and I agree - and then disagree, one as urgently as the other. I too, am the product of a broken home. In fact, I am fairly certain my mother must have caught me off the family toilet seat when I was conceived ... I simply can not bring myself to imagine any circumstance under which my father and mother might have gotten it together enough to procreate. There is simply no doubt in my mind that they not only should have gotten divorced, but they fall into the category of doomed before they began. For them, it was the 'times' that drove them to marry. It was not acceptable to have sex outside of wedlock ... and at the tender age of 20 - my mom was a 'good girl' ... unfortunate for her. They married and she got what she thought she was looking for. Her first clue should have been when my father told her it wasn't necessary to "do it EVERY night"... yeah - they needed to part ways. They made it nearly 9 years ... mostly because I came along and the focus shifted entirely to me and all my infantile awesomeness. Their inevitable divorce was actually carried out with the utmost of care and intelligent maturity. There was none of this maintenance enforcement crap (not saying this doesn't have a place ...) and using their child as a weapon that is so prevalent in today's society - a society in which premarital sex is not only okay, it is encouraged. So why bother, unless you are pretty darned sure? (This is too long - so I'm breaking it up)

  3. He and I have been married now for 7 years, together for 10. I adore my husband. He is my world and most of the time, he is my ideal mate - as I am his. He is the greatest dad I could have hope for to our two girls, and his sons have been dealt a great injustice by not knowing their father. We are having our own recession, of sorts and add to that, my mother is living with us - to say that this qualifies as a "for worse" I think, is fair. I am miserable much of the time under the immense gravity of our situation, but the last thing on my mind is leaving him. There are many days that I feel like the only adult in a house full of children aged 4, 6, 44 and 61, with the last two acting like selfish teenagers. It all seems to fall on me ... and you want to believe I resent that in a big and sometimes ugly way. But the idea to cut and run has never really ever played on my mind. I would love to "do better" - in that I would love to be a better provider, I would love to be a better mother, I would love to be a better me - but I could never imagine any of this without him. There are times that I stare across the bed at the offending noise maker (whether escaping from top or bottom) and think ... SHUT UP ... JUST SHUT THE LIVIN' FUCK UP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD - I KEEL YOU!!! KEEL YOU IN YOUR SLEEP!!! But then ... the next day, I am reminded of this truly beautiful man that lives to please me and I forget my intense urge to hold my pillow over his face the night before ... and all is right with the world. This was the marriage I signed on for. I never expected a rose garden. I never expected to sail through without having to get out and push. In fact - I would say at this stage it is actually far easier than I ever expected based on the failure rate I have witnessed in this facet of our society.

  4. I have to agree with your concept. There has never been anything about my life, with perhaps the one exception of gaining weight, which cements it as a rule - that has been easy. I have worked for everything I have, and everything I have accomplished - meager though it may be considered,by some. I guess it stands to reason that the relationship at the center of my life would require just as much effort. Maybe that is why I do not rail against my marriage. I would say it is because I have low expectations - but that is far from the truth. My expectations are impossible - but my partner tries every day to make them a reality ... they are what drives us and I am banking on them to continue to do so - through all of the odds and when we come out the other side, I don't expect to be unscathed. I figure we'll be bruised and bloody - but united we'll stand, and grateful for it.

    But that's just one more opinion I think the world id entitled to :)

  5. Okay - I lost a chunk of my comment... and I can not seem to recover it - so I don't make a lot of sense and I guess I should have answered by using my own blog space ... just felt passionate about the topic is all. Too bad I lost the part about my hubby's previous marriage - it said a lot for divorce.

    Always enjoy reading your thoughts.