Saturday, March 10, 2012

Don't think it's over

I've been thinking about marriage - not about whether TO get married, seeing as I'm already living in matrimonial bliss... duh, but rather about how to BE married.  If you ask me, GETTING married is the easy part, BEING married, now that's a whole different kettle of fish and STAYING married, well that's where it gets complicated.

If you'd asked me ten years ago about my views on divorce I would probably have given you a very different answer to the one I'd give you now.  Having grown-up in and around a whole bunch of divorces I can tell you that, much as we would like to believe otherwise, kids DO suffer no matter how congenial the divorce (is there such a thing really?)  It sucks living in a home where a divorce is going on and it sucks even more living in the aftermath.  Truth.  BUT I think what sucks even more than that is living in a home where there is marital discord in the air, no matter how silently it's happening.  You might think you are pulling the wool over young Johnny's, or Gilly's eyes, but trust me, you're not.  So yes, if the marriage cannot be saved, I'd say, for the sake of your children, end it.  This bullsh*t about staying married for the sake of the children is just that: bullsh*t. 

Those have been my views since I was a kid, nothing new there.  What I have come to realise in more recent years though, and it's been a revelation to me, is that if both parties are willing to put some serious work into it, most marriages that end in divorce could be saved - unless there is abuse happening (sexual, emotional, physical, makes no difference, if abuse is happening I believe you should always get out of there and make it quick!)  My view is that way too many people get divorced way too quickly.  I speak from personal experience here, Grant and I have been on the very brink of getting divorced twice and look at us now, we're happy!  Genuinely happy.

Our poor marriage has had more poop flung at it than most I have to tell you.  Apart from the general friction you will encounter when you have two completely opposite people insisting on co-habitating, we have dealt with bereavement, financial crises, family drama on a scale normally reserved for soap operas, infertility, infidelity (bet you didn't see that one coming, frankly neither did we!) retrenchment, living on different continents (for more than two years!), moving house countless times, the dreaded "I love you, but I'm not in-love with you" conversation......and it goes on and on.....

So how have we seen our way through it all?  Sheer bullish determination.  I think the key factor is that when we have really been in a crisis, before taking that final step and ending it all, we have taken time to think about it and have, thankfully, decided that our marriage, our family, is something worth fighting for.  I am not going to pretend it's been easy.  Truthfully, this marriage has asked more from us than I ever would have thought we'd be willing to give. 

I think the worst day in our marriage, well for me anyway, was weirdly a particular Valentine's Day, Grant and I both had to make sacrifices that day that cost us deeply on a personal level, I mean really deeply.  Horrible!  I was literally brought, sobbing, to my knees.  It took us more than a year to claw our way back to anything remotely resembling what a marriage should be, but we did it and looking back I am so grateful we did.  How did we do it?  Speaking for myself, the only way I could do it was by pretending.  I based this approach on the theory that "if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, eventually it will BE a duck".  So I pretended I was happily married, acted like I was happily married, treated my husband as if I was happily married (well most times!) and, so help me, next thing I knew I WAS happily married.  Not an approach I would necessarily recommend, but it worked for me!

So having been through all of this, do I think our marriage will last "till death us do part"?  I so wish I could say "Yes, absolutely", but, honestly, I don't know.  I am enough of a realist to accept that the next blow might be the fatal one.   BUT, trust me on this, I will never watch my marriage fall apart without putting up one HELL of a fight!


Jenny in Durbs said...

Heartfelt post but so true.Staying married is hard work & takes lots of determination & for me communication - honest communication.

Lynette said...

I love how you showed your heart in this post. Yes, marriages is not for sissies. It is flippin hard work. DH and I will be married 33 years this year and it would be a lie if I told you that we were always happy, we had our moments when I wanted to run for the hills;-)

Today we submit to the Lord and we submit to each other...that way it is always a step of obedience and the Lord is blessing our marriage...I am truly happy.

Kirsty said...

Wow - what an honest post. thank you.
And thank you for the reminder to keep working on the stage that Pete and I are in ( will be 10 years married this year) and parenting 3 young, busy children, its easy to forget the "us" and let things slide.... I will endeavour to give my hubby some more spoilings x x

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