I wish my parents would just get a divorce!
Have you heard those words before? Have you said those words before?
I remember it clear as day the moment my best friends, three sisters, said those words to me during our time in junior high. It got me so angry.
“How dare you?!”, was the response from my twelve year old mouth.
You see, I never had the opportunity of experiencing two parents doing day to day life in one home. Before you begin to think that I don’t know what a household filled with fighting is like, let me stop you there.
(Note that this has nothing to do with endangerment to the lives of others. I’m talking about married couples arguing and showing hatred toward each other).
I was born into a situation where my dad had just left my mom. I experienced his comings and goings. I experienced times he came over and they fought. I also experienced times he came over and my dad would decide to stay for dinner. Times he took our entire family, (my mom included), out to a restaurant.
There was a time period he visited for every Christmas. But finally there came a proper divorce. Finally he remarried. Finally our fatherless family moved to another country and my dad stopped visiting.
Suddenly those small moments of experiencing a loving family together, was gone. As a child I remember it didn’t bother me as much when my parents fought, because I knew that the fighting wouldn’t last forever. I knew that when it was over, they would put on a brave face and get their act together for their kids.
These three friends of mine in junior high saw a moment in time when their parents were not getting along. They then made a decision that this was worth a divorce.
I’ve been married eight years. I get it now more than I have in the past. The person you say “I do” to, is not the same person you will remain married to. Everyone changes.
Life happens and it can impact and shake a marriage. It can bring out the ugly in someone. But that someone, is still the one you committed to spend your life with.
Those three sisters are still my best friends. And I’ve had the privilege of watching their parents’ marriage flourish! I couldn’t believe it. I thought every marriage that had hardships were meant to end. I had no idea the pieces could be put back together so seamlessly.
When I look at their parents, I see this love and compassion that I’ve never experienced up close from a married couple. I know married couples who appear to put up with one another. Married couples who come across as room mates. But this truly inspired me and excited me in moments I feared my marriage would end.
This wasn’t a special case too. I remember as a child, my mom had close family friends, a married couple, who babysat my sisters and I regularly. The relationship between this husband and wife was scary.
I don’t recall ever seeing them affectionate toward each other except for in wedding photos. I was terrified of the moments they were in a room together. Not because they fought either. They hardly yelled when company was over. They hardly made eye contact. But the tension in a room with the two of them together was horrifying.
According to this couple’s daughter who was my best friend at the time, they screamed at each other when no one was around. Apparently it got so bad that one day the police showed up at their front door and took my friend’s father away.
My friend said she had to move out with her mom numerous times to stay with family. I remember my friend telling me she would never get married because of what she saw from her parents.
My family lost contact with this family for a few years, until I got married and had a family of my own. We visited this family not long ago, and I was shocked to see that this husband and wife were still together. And not only were they still together, but they were nothing short of best friends.
During our visit, we stayed with their family for a few days and I found it was not an act. They were always laughing together and sat talking to each other like they were so excited to share their day with one another. When one would be off to bed at night, the other would follow close behind. I had never imagined this couple could appear so in love.
Now their daughter, who said she would never get married, is happily married. I believe that she will have a very strong marriage too. Because she saw how to thrive through a difficult marriage.
Now as an adult, I was so disappointed to hear a friend of mine say she wished her parents got a divorce when she was a child. She truly believes they would be happier in such a circumstance.
These words from an adult who is now old enough to positively impact her parents’ relationship, it’s hurtful for me still.
Divorce is not a “way out”. It’s a way into another difficult circumstance with the lingering question of, what if? Divorce takes the entire family into hardship.
A marriage that experiences difficulties and thrives through is inspirational! It positively affects those around it.
A divorce that appears to have left a couple happier, holds questions for each family member affected by this decision.
No one has the right to say a married couple ought to get a divorce. Not a child, not a relative, not a best friend.
The only ones that can take hold of that responsibility are the married couple themselves.
And still, what if?
What if you were capable of building a stronger relationship through the turmoil?
What if the best friend you married, who became your worst enemy, became your best friend again?
What if the relationship that came after suffering through a rocky marriage was worth it?
I just finished watching every episode of The Office, (spoiler alert) and the relationship between Pam and Jim left me completely inspired!
I thought the parts about them falling in love and having the perfect wedding was inspiring- but to see their relationship completely hit rock bottom.
To see the two characters decide to fight through their problems and work together. That was the best part of the entire series for me. I was texting another married friend of mine while watching this and she admitted she was bawling at this part.
What their marriage went through and the way it survived, it is possible! It’s not just television. It’s not just a story.
It’s time we start encouraging marriages. Happiness comes and goes. Marriage is not about being happy.
If we used the role of a mother as we did the role of a spouse, there would be a lot more abandoned babies. There would especially be alot more abandoned toddlers.
The same way we as mothers hope for a brighter tomorrow after a sleepless night with a cranky baby, is the same way we can hope for a brighter tomorrow in our marriages.