Brace yourselves folks this is a long one! Don't say I didn't warn you!
I come from a family that is divorced. Serious, if they aren't divorced from their spouse they are divorced from some family member or other (meaning sisters not speaking to brothers or moms and sons not talking and so on). Not to mention about 90% of the married friends I have are thinking about getting a divorce. Lets see if I can break this down for you:
Dad-divorced two times
Grandma 1- divorced ummm 3 times I think
Grandma 2- divorced
Grandma 3- divorced 2 times and remarried
Grandpa 1- divorced and remarried
Grandpa 2- divorced 2 times (not remarried now in prison)
Grandpa 3- divorced 2 times
Uncle 1- divorced 2 times
Uncle 2- divorced and remarried
Uncle 3- divorced
Aunt 1- divorced and now back with him
Aunt 2- divorced once and remarried
Aunt 3- actually still married
Then I have great aunts and cousins and so on that have been divorced 3 or more times and in fact some of them have divorced and married so much we didn't even know it had happened until 3 marriages later. I currently have two friends who don't like their marriages and only one who is really happy. Most of my employees have been divorced, in fact at one point we employed two men who were both divorced from the same lady. So because of this you can imagine why my mom often likes to ask me if, "Rob and I still like each other!" This shit always cracks me up when she says it. It makes me laugh when she says it because, honestly I'm the kind of person that if I wasn't happy with Rob the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD WOULD KNOW! Really I don't keep quiet about stuff. In fact both times in six years I've been mad enough at him for it to be an actual FIGHT (as in I wanted to make his ass sleep on the lawn) the whole damn world knew I was mad. Which was nice, because they also got to see how we worked through those fights, and it helped em see we were just a real couple with real problems, but also as vocal as I am about our fights I'm equally vocal about our love.
My mom has this theory that now, that most marriages are just starter marriages. She always says, if me or my younger family got divorced she wouldn't be shocked because we all need starter marriages now. For a long time I didn't understand her method of thinking. Then I started to look at my friends, and the people around me and I think that I've at least figured out a small part of it. I don't think it is that divorce is so common now that everyone is doing it, I think that it is more socially acceptable so people aren't AFRAID to do it.
What I mean is that way back when, getting a divorce was considered a failure, or a religious conflict, or an embarrassment to the family. Parents were embarrassed to have to tell their friends and family that their precious little Sally or johnny got a divorce. Even if Johnny was totally screwing Sallys best friend right in front of the worlds eyes, it was more acceptable to stand by your man then to man the fuck up and kick his ass out. What is that movie, the one with Julia Roberts, oh yeah Mona Lisa Smile, where her students husband was cheating and when the student went to her mom and said she wanted to leave him, the mom pushed her out of the house and said, you can't stay here, go back to your husband and be a better wife? Ouch huh. I know my own grandma was in one of the worst marriages I can ever imagine and she stayed married for years because to her, it was more acceptable to have your face bashed in daily then to say you were divorced. But shit, once she learned how to divorce she became a pro.
I have this other friend, who clearly doesn't come from a family background like me. She got pregnant young and was forced to marry because you also don't have kids out of wedlock in that family. She hates her husband but is stuck because when she confided in her parents she was told, "You will not be the first person in this family to get divorced." So instead she keeps popping out kids, growing more and more miserable by the day and her mental health is causing her physical health to deteriorate.
It's at this point that I have to ask myself why we care what others think when it comes to our love life? Why on earth would some one stay married to a person they didn't like anymore? Of course your probably always going to love them, and thats going to weigh on your mind, but if you really don't like them anymore I just don't understand. I know that if Rob and I reached that point I wouldn't think twice about doing the right thing. For soo many different reasons too. One, I have kids, they aren't retarded. Kids learn their relationship values from you. They learn to stay in shitty situations because their mom did. They learn to treat their wives like shit because their dad did and got away with it. Another reason, I'm still young, I still have another chance at love. Shit Paula Dean is 60 something and just now found the man of her dreams. Now you tell me why I would stay married to some dumb schmuck, when there could be something better for me. It's true that right now, Rob is the perfect compliment me, but 7 years ago he wasn't. Who knows if in 7 more years I won't change so much again that Rob will no longer be the person who makes me my happiest daily.
Sometimes couples grow and change together, and sometimes they grow apart. I will never understand why people who grow apart choose to be ignorant and think they have to stay together because they already have 10, 20, 30 years into it. In this day in age, even after a 30 year marriage people can easily have another 40 year marriage.
I think divorce is a lot like spanking your child. You were probably spanked because your parents, parents spanked them and so on. But to them it was a social norm. They didn't like it, but they didn't know better. Bad marriages are the same. Everyone just stayed married because they weren't going to be the first one to branch out.
Now a days it's like the new social norm is stepping outside of the box and being different. People don't spank, or BEAT their kids anymore because they are smart enough to realize that just because it happened to you doesn't mean you have to do it. I'm happy that now a lot of people are smart enough to realize that divorce is okay. However, I wish more people would do it. I think with so many people walking around in these false unhappy marriages it really takes away from the brilliance and amazement of those people who have real true great relationships.
For instance, and I don't know this personally, but looking in from the outside, I would venture to say that Emery and Chris have probably one of the strongest healthiest marriages I've ever seen. But there are reasons. They went into a marriage with the same values in life. They are willing to sacrifice for each other, but not to the point of losing their own identity. They both appreciate every little thing they have and so on.
I'm ashamed to say though when I first started reading her I instantly started looking for the snag, the flaw in there relationship. Not because I wanted them to be unhappy, but because I'm surrounded by people faking their lives and I've gotten good at peeling back the lining to see whats real and what isn't.
My friend, the one who can't get divorced, has followed her husband from town to town and job to job. She lost the few friends she was able to keep after having kids so young, she gained weight from depression, she is still recovering and is willing to still follow him. Now on one hand, the fact that she lets this happen sucks, but on the other hand the fact that she is married to a man who sees this happening to her and just lets it happen for his own selfishness pisses me the fuck off. Again, like I said, I'm not in the relationship but I'd like to think if Emery woke up one day full of grief and depression, Chris and her would talk about it, like really talk and hear and LISTEN. Then they would both come up with a solution that would work for both of them. They would probably pray about it and I'm willing to bet they would find a healthy answer, even if it was parting ways, or if it was starting over somewhere new, coming home, staying in one place or maybe just changing a few small things.
Every day I tell myself, I hope if it ever came to that with Rob and I, I would be strong enough to really tell him my feelings (not that me telling feelings is hard). But then I looked back and I realized that any time I have been mildly unsettled I've talked to him about it, and vise versa. Like when he was absolutely miserable in his job but to afraid to tell me that because he was afraid of not supporting his family. I was proud that I was actually able to sense this and confront him. At this time I didn't pray about things (or maybe I was all along and didn't know) but I did what I did best and thought about it, and soul searched and I realized, I couldn't sit there rolling in my money and watch the man that I love waste away to a shell of a man. Finally in the end I had to tell him that I would rather take a 1,500.00 a month pay cut and have him try out new jobs, then watch him be miserable. I had health insurance and he was on it, so that was never a worry. I was lucky I was in that situation. Yeah financially we struggle daily now, but watching him be happy at work, and be able to play softball and play with Brandon and relax and nap and generally lose a few years in the aging process it's worth every cent we lost.
I have to wonder how many wives out there are so selfish they wouldn't be able to take the pay cut and instead would have watched their husbands waste away. It is things like this, people who can't see past their own happiness that give happy functional couples a bad name. It isn't just wives, its husbands who clearly see their wives aren't happy and pretend like it isn't there, because if they got divorced that would mean learning to do their own laundry or making their own food or balancing their check book. So they let this person stand around and keep themselves hostage in their own minds to help fulfill their personal agenda. Obviously Rob may have never come and talked to me about being unhappy and I could have gone on and ignored it, but that wouldn't have been fair. I made the personal decision to better both our lives and let him know, it was okay to take a step in a new direction. As I said, some people grow apart, and some people grow together. I think this was something that helped us grow together.
However, like I said before, the people who are to selfish to change, or to selfless to hurt the others, who have these obviously bad marriages sure do make it harder on the rest of us. I know for a fact, because of the people close to me in my family who are in shit marriages, the rest of the family has now put my own marriage under a microscope. I know there are people who are now scrutinizing our every move because they assume that since we are family, I am in someway similar to those unhappy people. It is a hard stigma to get by. I know that now Rob and I work extra hard to make people understand that we are in a different kind of marriage. We do that in different ways. One way is by being open and talking about problems, but also talking about the resolve. Another way is that we openly include family in our life and relationship. Because after all, isn't that what family is for. I know, after some work and effort, our families have begun to realize that they are included in our lives and we give them a chance to peek into our window and witness our happiness first hand. Even if it is just sending out family pictures weekly or making phone calls, or stopping by for a dinner, we include them. I know when my family gets my pictures they feel included, they feel like they were there and they feel like they have received a little incite into our lives.
I know even if I'm just calling my grandpa for a recipe to blow Robs mind one night, or I'm going to visit grams with Rob so she can tell us about her old soft ball days, I know, these things are my way of being open. I wish more people could do this. Be unafraid to let people in. Marriage is hard work. It takes a whole family to make it work. I would never be so stupid to believe that two people can make a life long commitment to each other work on their own. People who think marriage is only about two people need to re-evaluate. I know that Emery and Chris have tons of people inside their marriage, they have their God for one, their friend Joel, their parents, and their friends. Emery has never been afraid to talk about feeling a little lost, and you know what, when she opens up she gets clarification. I would like to think in some way we all contribute a little to the two of them sticking it out. Just like I know my family and friends are a huge contribution to Rob and I working together.
I started this post in my head a month ago, for no reason. I started writing it a week ago. I just didn't know where to go with it. I guess a part of me was beginning to get frustrated watching all these people I love allow themselves to be unhappy to fulfill a social stigma. However after writing this, I guess what I realized, is instead of concentrating on people who clearly don't want my help or dont' want to accept advice and who aren't willing to make a grand life change, I'm going to concentrate on my friends who are willing. I'm going to concentrate on continuing to surround myself with people who aren't rooting for my marriage to work, but instead are rooting for Rob and I to always find ourselves in a happy state of mind, be it together or separate! I know now, I've made great efforts in finding my new blog friends, or real life friends, and knowing, I'm finally surrounded by people who will never encourage me to do anything but make what ever decision is going to make both Rob and I happy together.
I hope this makes you think. I hope it makes you look at your spouse, fiance, boyfriend or girlfriend and examine them. I hope it makes you turn of your selfish meter for the day and just really look into their heart and see if they are happy and content. Are they happy in their job, their location, their marital status? Do they maybe want kids, or are they having conflict they are afraid to discuss? You know, when you stop making life only about you, and you really take a moment to make life about that person you love, you will be amazed at what you learn about both of you. Good luck. I hope everyone finds their love, even if it is on their fourth or fifth try!
Divorce is the new pink...wait is pink the new black or is black the new pink? So then is divorce the new black? Gosh I can't keep up with fashion!
Brace yourselves folks this is a long one! Don't say I didn't warn you!
Posted by Shannon Mateo at 6:32 AM