I hate DIVORCE. Most likely my visceral reaction to the “D” word is because I continue to view it through a broken-hearted five-year old’s eyes. The scene is still so vivid in my mind. My mom sat next to me on the couch with her arm draped lovingly over my shoulders. My dad stood and faced us as they began to explain to me that daddy would no longer be living with us. I was my daddy’s baby girl. He was the lap I ran to when I wanted to feel safe, loved and warm…the neck I flung my arms around when I needed to express my own emotions of love. That day, my world was shattered and my heart was broken, just like my family circle.
When it was time for me to get married, I had already witnessed three additional divorces in my immediate family. Some more painful for me to watch and more difficult to understand than others…but each time I felt a sense of loss. As my wedding day drew closer, my inner turmoil grew stronger. I had no doubts at all about how I felt about my fiance, but I did have fears about my familial track record on marriage…was I doomed to end up in divorce just like everyone around me? Of course, one look in my husband’s eyes always made me feel confident that we could weather any storm together.
Now, here I am 32 years into my marriage relationship and unfortunately, I’ve watched the “D” monster rear its ugly head time and time again splintering the lives of close friends and family members. Last week, when I asked a friend of mine about a mutual girlfriend I hadn’t seen in a while..she said, “Oh, haven’t you heard? Julia and her husband filed for divorce. . .she is really going through hell right now.” Bummer…another family torn apart, a little piece of my heart breaks again. In my little cul-de-sac, two couples broke up over the last year..both with young children who are now being raised primarily by one parent. I watch two of the children as they play, I see the change in their spirit…their once lighthearted play is now hampered by an invisible weight hanging on their conflicted souls. . .mommy is now just a visitor. Another tear falls.
Why? Why is it so difficult for couples to make it work? I wonder how the break down all begins. Everyone starts the same…fall in love, get married, have children. . .etc. So why do those precious marriage vows lose their significance so quickly in many cases? It occurs to me that as parents, we would never consider divorcing our children when they are unreasonable or difficult to live with. On the contrary, we do everything we can to nurture and mend the relationship. So why is there such a double standard in the way we approach the one we promised our heart to…to love, honor and cherish? I am convinced that many times priorities switch as soon as children are brought into the equation. New moms put all their energy into their young child and often have very little left for their spouse at the end of the day. Most men’s love language is very monosyllabic. . .as in “sex”. They feel loved when they are sexually gratified. Their egos, as well as their emotional well-being can take a pretty big hit when they are constantly rebuffed in the bedroom.
We women are looking for gestures of love, little things that let us know they really care…bathing the baby, emptying the dishwasher, picking up a meal for dinner (without being asked)…can completely change our day and melt our heart, making us much more receptive at the end the day for a little love romp. So once again, it all comes back to good communication. People have to learn to tell each other what they need! I wonder why that is so difficult?
Obviously, there are marriages where outside influences such as alcoholism, drug use or abuse slowly destroy the relationship and leave little options for the non-offending spouse. Sadly, in those cases, sometimes divorce is the only option for physical well-being and peace of mind.
So, what can I do? How can I make a difference? I try to always be available to lend an ear and truly listen when others are in turmoil. I can offer advice from lessons I’ve learned when someone asks for it. And, I can continue to offer up my thoughts in writing on LuvYa.com. If even just one person gets a little help or encouragement from my words, every minute spent in front of the computer will have been worth it. And finally, I can love my husband unconditionally and lead by example.