I had considered saying this nicely, but changed my mind.
STOP telling all of us separated and divorced folks that we didn’t work hard enough, and that if we had our marriages would have thrived or at least survived.
Or love enough. Or cook enough. Or forgive enough…. Keep filling in the blanks – we’ll be here all day long.
Stop. Just stop.
Yes, marriages are hard work.
Yes, some people throw them away too easily.
However, most everyone I know who has watched their marriage discentegrate before their eyes KNOWS that they are hard work.
Chances are pretty good that they were doing a lot of work. Maybe both people were and it just wasn’t coming across. Chances are also pretty good they tried really hard to save it before throwing in the towel.
One thing I do know for certain is that you can do more damage when both parties aren’t seeing eye-to-eye for a very prolonged time than you’ll be able to repair.
If you looked at my book collection about a year ago, you’d see more self-help and marriage-help books than I can name. I’d spent positively years trying to improve myself and my marriage – my attitude, my looks, my homemaking skills – all of it. Yes, I am the child of divorce and was determined that my children wouldn’t be.
I can also personally attest to still having love for my not-yet-ex. He loves our kids and can still make me laugh.
HOWEVER- don’t you dare tell me that I should have just tried a little harder. That I didn’t communicate my needs clearly enough or otherwise. That 6 years of ‘working on it’ wasn’t enough. That because we still care about one another’s well-being we should fix it.
You. Have. No. Idea.
Until you’ve had the same deal-breaker-level problems in your marriage for YEARS – and no matter what angle you both take to attempt to address it (and you’ve tried them ALL) – it ends in yelling, accusations and resentment, don’t comment.
Until your spouse lets you know that they can’t ‘babysit’ the kids tonight because they’re busy – shut your piehole.
Until you’ve been accused ofbeing a terrible wife, husband, mother, father, friend, human, housekeeper, provider etc, sit back and breathe a bit – and stop judging the rest of us.
Not all of these things were my situation, but some of them were – and trust me, it becomes impossible to live, forget thrive, in that environment – for everyone involved. No one was happy. No one was kind. Everyone was hurt. Including, and most importantly, the kids.
One other piece of info – neither of us got married because we thought it would end in divorce.
We had the same kinds of dreams that you do. I wanted to rock on the porch with this guy with the grandkids playing in the yard. He’d take them hunting while I cooked and camped with them. We’d have a lovely old house we’d put work into that I could decorate at Christmas, and we’d take cassaroles to all the church functions to eat and socialize with all our friends. I honestly had the amibition to be married for 50 years.
But that wasn’t reality. Reality wasn’t that nice. The reality is that through all of this he wasn’t very nice, and I wasn’t very nice either.
Reality is that when we finally walked away, we were actually able to be nice to each other again. And we were able to be the parents that we’d like to be again.
There are so many variations on this theme. And if you’d like to know why so many of us refuse to ‘prove to you’ that we did hard work, it’s because it comes out sounding like spouse bashing. And that’s not what we’re trying to do. Many of us have to work hand-in-hand with that person to raise kids. We don’t want to breed animosity, we’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime. We want to move forward and upward.
And, trust me, we’re happy for you that you were able to save your marriage. But sadly, that wasn’t the case for us, and it’s not for lack of trying.
Many times, I could honestly say that what another person is calling extra work, I call a drop in the bucket. Multiply it times 100, spread it over 6 years, have none of it help, then come have a cuppa and a chat with me.
Please don’t judge until you’ve worn the shoes. And for the record – when you’ve worn the shoes, chances are good you won’t judge because you well know that these are shoes none of us want to wear.