Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I do...


It's supposed to be the happiest time of your life.

So what happens when it isn't?

One of the biggest things I struggled with during my wedding planning process was the deterioration of my parents' marriage. It's certainly not inspiring to watch your parents' marriage fall by the wayside as you're preparing for your own.

One of my readers sent me an email about this very topic. She's planning her wedding and is watching her parents' marriage crumble. She asked me how I dealt with this. It's a good question. My parents' situation definitely robbed me of alot of joy during the wedding planning process. I found it difficult to be joyful and happy when they were so sad. It was a daily struggle for me. I wish there were an easier answer, but the only one I can give is to lean on your husband/wife and focus on preparing for your marriage. Because the truth is, your marriage will not necessarily end up like your parents' did.

It's always in the back of your mind. Am I going to end up like Mom and Dad? Have they somehow transferred the divorce gene to me? Many of those thoughts crossed my mind as I prepared to get married. Was I afraid? Absolutely. More so because of what I had seen with my parents? Heck, yes!

But I will say this: I think I will benefit from my parents' divorce. That may sound like a weird thing to say. Some of you may be asking, How will you benefit from your parents separating forever? You're right...there are many ways in which I won't benefit. But one area in which I will benefit is my own marriage. Unlike many people my age, I've seen firsthand what happens when you stop communicating and allow unresolved issues to remain in your marriage. I've watched it happen and I know the warning signs. Does that mean my husband & I are going to have the most amazing marriage ever and never have problems? Ha. If only! But we definitely have a head start at a better marriage because of it.

Like anything else in life, you have to fight for joy during your wedding. You have to keep yourself focused on you and your fiance. Because this process is about you. For so long my parents' problems were all about them. Everything related back to how they were feeling, managing, etc. But I made the mistake of forgetting that my wedding was not about them. So I let their issues seep into the planning. It does happen and it's not easy to avoid, but the more you can focus on you, the better.

It's also important to remember not to place alot of emphasis on the wedding day. Yes, it's important, but your marriage is so much more important. Even if the planning process and the wedding day isn't what you expect (and who expects your parents to be getting a divorce right when you're planning for your wedding), remember that the rest of your life lies ahead of you. Remember that the key to making a marriage work isn't how much fun your wedding day was or how beautiful you both looked. The key is communication.

The difficulty planning my wedding because of my parents is something I still struggle with and quite frankly, need to get over. Yes, some of my joy was taken from me. But I have so many more things to look forward to with my husband. Our life should not revolve around the past. I must look forward to the future. And embrace it.

38 comments:

Grace said...

Michelle, have you heard of Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman? I am a huge fan of hers. She has a blog, http://www.thepioneerwoman.com. Well, she came out with a book in February called Black Heels and Tractor Wheels. It is the love story of her and her husband. I HIGHLY recommend it. I for sure think you would love it. I bought the book because I am a fan, but I had NO CLUE until I started reading it that she, too, is an ACOD. Her parents' marriage started crumbling at the time her love with her later husband was blooming. They finally divorced almost immediately after Ree's wedding and right about the time that she found out she was pregnant with their first child. The story of her becoming an ACOD is totally entwined with her own love story so she follows that aspect throughout her story. I felt soooo not alone after reading that book. It was amazing. So, anyways, reading this piece of yours (which I might add shows such maturity and strength!) made me want to tell you about this book.

Anonymous said...

I am writing this with the hopes that you will understand the perspective of an older adult who has known your family for several years and through my daughter who reads your blog.
I have several comments to make. I too lived through my parents’ divorce, I wish I was your age when it happened but I was a young teenager. What we all lived through prior to the last straw which resulted in the divorce, was much more painful. The arguments, nasty comments, cold feelings in the room, etc, etc. There were several times my sisters and I wished they would get a divorce so that would end. Ever happen to you? I am guessing yes.
Sure the process was emotional but I learned quickly that not all people belong together for their entire life and many times people grow in different directions. When that fork in the road comes, something has to change for the better of everyone.
NOW, I never felt like I was suffering personally. I knew both my parents loved me and would always be there for me no matter what direction they went. I would always have a roof over my head and the love of a mother and father. They will always be your parents! I also grew to expect that there would be a strong possibility of step parents. Although not thrilled about that, it was their choice and I would support them regardless of what their next life style would bring. Yes, I did end up with step parents. Because my parents separated as “friends”, they were able to introduce us carefully and with much respect for our feelings. It worked out perfectly and everyone was/is happy.
After reading your blog I have to say I have very mixed feelings and unfortunately, not in your favor! First of all I believe you are an adult, well educated and from what my daughter has shared with me, never wanted for anything. You had a car, education, family vacations and a magnificent wedding – all provided by your parents! I must say that during their pain, their problems, their suffering, you still had a “special day”. The pictures I saw looked as though you were given a dream event. I sure hope you found time to put your selfish personality aside and thanked them for what many children of parents who will never divorce, will never receive! Every wedding planned regardless of their parents marital situation is full of angst…..don’t blame those frustrating moments on your parents situation, it happens regardless. It would be so much easier for you to heal if you only looked at things in a positive way and not in such a “poor me” mode.

Anonymous said...

…..don’t blame those frustrating moments on your parents situation, it happens regardless. It would be so much easier for you to heal if you only looked at things in a positive way and not in such a “poor me” mode.
So now I read that YOU think you are the parent and treating your adult parents like children! Really? Who gave you that job? What makes you think that you deserve the right to write, for the world to see, hurtful, cruel and untrue stories. Knowing your parents but not very close with them – just socially, I see two people who married when they were to young, raised three children with the help of your dad’s family and did the very best they could. They didn’t have the life they gave you and your siblings, they worked hard to do the very best for each of you. Think about that before you write your “pitty me” stories.
Yes, their actions were not smart! They did things that if given a “redo” would never have happened. No one was asking the children to forgive their bad actions, but I can only imagine that in your lifetime you have been forgiven for bad decisions and never treated or “cut off” for your bad choices. Perhaps it is time for you to let their mistakes be forgiven and reach out to the only parents you will ever have! After all, except for several months of your otherwise perfect life, they made some bad decisions. I can, from experience say that this will be the most important thing you will ever do. If anything ever happened to either of your parents, or for that matter to you, having a loved one’s life end with never saying “I love you” to the parents who have done so much for you for so long would be very sad and that my dear will eat you up more then what you are choosing do put yourself through right now. Spend the energy helping your parents begin their new life, because believe it or not this will be the biggest step you need to make to show you are now an adult!!
You don’t need to be the “parent” you need to be the adult “daughter” and support them. They are hurting now, partly because of what they are going through but also the guilt you and your sister have decided to inject on them.
I wish you a life of happiness and perfection. However, when you have your family please remember how you will hope and pray that your children will not hold your mistakes against you.

Anonymous said...

Shell, Sadly some apparently believe that having an education, a beautiful wedding and a car should exempt you from being hurt by relationships and a broken marriage. Money and pictures of events can't buy happiness and can't alleviate the weight of something as heavy as having your family split. I am glad you have this outlet and have family and friends to support you:)

MVroom said...

Thank you all for your comments. Anonymous #1--you expressed some very strong emotions that I want to address. I have made it clear that this blog is about my own struggle with what's going on with my parents. It's not always going to be practical. It's raw emotion that I've decided to share with others. I make no excuses for that.

I'm glad you were able to have such a positive experience when your parents divorced. However, just because you never felt suffering doesn't mean my experience will be the same or that I'm wrong for my suffering. Everyone's experience with a parents' divorce is different, no matter what age.

From what you said, it doesn't seem like you know my parents very well, esp. since you only spend time with them socially. I'm also curious to know how your daughter knows I've never wanted for anything. Does she really know me that well? (most likely not). I have not had the perfect life that you've expressed I have. My parents have given me alot, that is true. And they know I'm grateful for it. But that doesn't mean I can't be hurt by their current actions (which you are completely unaware of). I welcome your honesty, but not your judgement. I would invite you to leave behind your anonymity and continue expressing your emotions by emailing me at acod16@gmail.com. But please understand that your words reflect your opinions and may not be factual (you can't possibly understand or know someone's life unless you've walked in their shoes).

Anonymous said...

I feel so, so angry by the 'anonymous' post. No matter what a situation looks like from the outside, how dare anyone tell anyone else what they should or should not be feeling!! Having mixed reactions based on your own experience is one thing and everyone is entitled to their own view, but to be so judgemental, to be, is unacceptable. 'Being an adult' doesn't mean you don't still have complex emotional reactions.

MVroom said...

Thank you, anonymous. I'm so glad to hear others think the same way as me! I agree that people should not tell others what they should think or feel. The previous anonymous comment was extremely short-sighted and judgmental.

DK said...

Thank you so much for your blog and this post. My fiance's parents are getting divorced, serving papers THIS weekend, one month before our wedding. I can't begin to express the stress that weighs on us. Reading your words helps me be supportive and understanding and focused. Can't thank you enough.

MVroom said...

DK -- I'm so sorry you and your fiance are dealing with this stress right before your wedding. Everything with my parents came out two months before my wedding and it was devastating. it definitely took alot of the joy out of planning. But all you can do is focus on the decision you're making. I'm so glad this blog could be of help to you and applaud you for standing by your fiance and being so supportive.

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