Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Everlasting Marriage: Attainable Goal?

It doesn't seem like anything lasts forever anymore, least of all marriage. Which is ironic, since it is a vow you take in front of God, your family, your friends, etc. But somehow that doesn't stop people from separating. They just don't have what it takes to make the marriage work. But why?
Statistics are high and continuously growing higher. But what's even more scary is that the risk of divorce increases by 50% if one spouse ( just one), comes from a divorced home. I've been thinking about that alot, and if I'm honest, I feel guilty. Guilty for my husband. Guilty because I'm the one bringing the baggage into the marriage. What if I'm the reason it fails?
I know it's not good to think like that. But honestly, what ACOD (adult child of divorce) can't help but think of his or her future and how it will be impacted? I'd be lying if I said my faith in marriage wasn't a bit shaken because of my parents' divorce. They were married for almost 30 years.

I had a bit of an unusual situation in that I was watching my parents' marriage fall apart while I planned my own wedding. Talk about uplifting. It took everything I could not to let their problems make me second-guess my decision or ruin my day. Did it make the planning process a whole lot less pleasant? Absolutely. And that still makes me mad. After all, that's a time I can never get back.

However, I do believe there's an upside. I believe that watching what happened to my parents and seeing the mistakes they made increases my chances for a happier marriage. I've seen firsthand what happens when a couple doesn't communicate effectively and doesn't work at their marriage everyday. So I know what not to do. But does it make things any less scary? Heck no.

So I simply have to hope. Hope that I can be different. Hope that I can break the cycle of divorce that has run rampant in my family for three generations now. Hope that my husband and I can find the strength to work at our marriage every single day, no matter how much we may not want to. Hope that I never have to put my kids through what I've been through. Hope. That's what gets us through most of life, doesn't it?

Feel free to share your experiences. I would love to hear if any other ACOD's have struggled with thoughts about their future and fears that their marriage won't work out.
*And in case you were wondering...yes, those are my rings in that picture taken at my wedding :)


Melissa said...

timmy is an amazing man who you were MEANT to marry because he will support you through everything! never feel guilty for having baggage, you married someone strong enough to help you through it :) love you sissy

Anonymous said...

You know, I have these questions and fears and my parents ARE married. I wish I had answers, and I wish I was able to know what really makes a marriage work? What does it really mean to "work" at a marriage each day? Is that intentional conversation each day? Prayer and Bible study each day (sounds cheesy)? Is it finding a common hobby? Ugh - wish I knew. Wish I knew more beyond just going about our day to day lives... but we are learning. We need to give ourselves grace to be learning.

Mary said...

Hi, MVroom. Since you posted a comment on my blog, I decided to do a little cyber-stalking and learn about you. I am so sorry to hear about what you're going through.

When I had been married for about 10 months, and was VERY pregnant with my son, who had a birth defect and we knew would be hospitalized for a while after birth, my parents very nearly divorced. My dad was caught cheating on my mom. I come from a Christian home, and my husband is the son of a pastor, and this behavior from my dad was something I just could not wrap my mind around. I was broken hearted, and all those things you are talking about ran through my mind.

I was always so proud that my parents had made it, and that I had this firm foundation for my own marriage. Honestly, I don't know if I could have married a man from a divorced family because I didn't want that kind of hardship for myself or any future children. And here I was, from a "good" Christian home, imagining holidays bouncing from one parent to another. Having the baggage of a child of dicorce, only as an adult.

I am grateful that my folks were able to work things out, but I can feel what you're going through, because we didn't know if my parents would make it.
You know what, though? I think that you are in a better position than you think you are. Yeah, you're parents are getting divorced, but they were together through your childhood. You know what a marriage looks like through ups and downs, and you know what it looks like when adults decide to stick through the tough times. (You can't say that your parents didn't have really hard times in their 30 years together.) Even you are the child in this situation, looking at it through the eyes of a child seeing their parents split, you also have the benefit of being an adult and having maturity on your side. You can look at your parents and their relationship objectively through the eyes of an adult, and try to see where they went wrong. Were they so caught up in child rearing that they forgot to connect with each other? Did they take each other for granted? Of course you can't know everything about them, but where you see mistakes, you can try not to make the same ones. Finally, just because your parents are divorced doesn't mean that YOU must divorce. Of course, on some level you know this, but seriously - statistics be d**ned. You make the decision to make your marriage work, and then you make your marriage work. You are not doomed to your parents' life, and their bad decisions.

It is a very hard thing to come to terms with the fact that our parents are human, and that they can be real jerks. I went through this in 2002 as a newlywed. My husband is going through this now (learning that his parents also suck in their own special way). It doesn't feel like the pain will ever heal, but it lessens with time. You will get through this. You will have good times with your parents again. Enjoy that wonderful man of yours. You are a brand new family! Be each other's comfort.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to write you a book.


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