Monday, April 23, 2012

Reasons to not get divorced

Whenever I think to myself, "Geez, I'd like to blow this popsicle stand and leave D alone to shlep it out  with the kids," it doesn't take me too long to reconsider.

Being a practical person has its downsides, such as making me a terrible shopper (I always think practical stuff like, "Do I really need this?").  But I like to think practicality has its good making me stick around in the marriage department.

So for me, personally, I can think of many reasons to not separate/get divorced/wreck my marriage in general:

1. I do love my husband for a variety of reasons, such as our shared disinterest in religion, his appreciation of independent film/books, his general leftist political leanings, his weird sense of humor, his disinterest in sports, his quiet.

I cannot even fathom being with someone who was praising jesus all the time or siding with Rick Santorum or watching golf and football and basketball or, god forbid, was a chatty kathy.  It just wouldn't fly.

And as much as I drive D crazy with my Carrie-ness, I can't see him being happy with someone who expects him to go shopping all the time, or who wears tons of makeup and is "high-maintenance" in the physical appearance department, or who expects him to attend church with her.

2. There is something to be said for a shared history.  In our case, it is 17 years total---almost 15 as a married couple.  Even though he is from Mars and I am from Venus, he probably does know me better than most anyone.  There is comfort in that, and I would miss it.

3. Our children, which actually should come as the #1 reason I wouldn't want to wreck my marriage.  I know adults whose parents have divorced and it did a number on them psychologically.  I cannot imagine what it would do to our children.

4. General logistical challenges---
Sometimes we have busy weeks, with piano lessons on Monday and Girl Scouts on Wednesday, and by Friday we are just spent.  But we manage it together somehow.  When I think about how difficult it would be to manage this and not be married, not share the same home, it makes my head hurt.  Lots of people do it, but lots of people are very, very tired.  If I had to work full-time as a teacher and the kids got sick, D would be the one to deal with it because his work situation pays better and is much more flexible than mine would be as a teacher (at least during the school year).  The things that I do now for the management of our lives/home he would have to take on and do his job and have the kids every other weekend, and I would continue doing what I do and have a full-time teaching job and have the kids on D's off weekends.

5. I knew all this before---
I was young going into our marriage (age 24), but I certainly wasn't an idiot.  The things that aggravate me about D are basically the same things that have irritated me about him forever.  I can choose to allow my aggravation to destroy our marriage, or I can accept that I can't change him and I knew this going in.

6. Loneliness--
Divorce shatters a person's self-esteem, regardless of who initiates the proceedings.  Most people who separate/divorce are pretty quickly back in the arms of someone else.  We want and need a partner in our lives.  I sometimes think lifetime commitments worked better when lifetimes were considerably shorter, but we haven't evolved beyond our desire to pair up.

Marriage, like parenting, is a lot of work, a lot of picking battles that are worth fighting, a lot of deep sighs, a lot of knowing when to keep your mouth shut, a lot of honesty with yourself.  Much of it feels like you are slogging your way through muck and muddles.  But its awesomeness is astounding when it peaks.


Kelsey said...


I agree with a lot of these points. Matt and I have adopted Jeff and Giselle's rule that whoever decides to leave the marriage has to take the kids - a pretty good way to make sure that no one is leaving.

Keri said...


I know there is a certain small percentage of cases in which divorce is the only thing that makes sense -- where it's the lesser of all of the evils.

But divorce, generally speaking, ravages people's lives, often for years, for decades, afterwards. The husband, the wife, the kids, the in-laws, the close friends.

There's a Bible verse in which God says, "I hate divorce," and rather than reading this as the words of a cold, judgmental God who only wants us to follow rules (i.e., stay married until death), I believe it is spoken by a compassionate God who knows better than anyone the intense and often prolonged pain that divorce brings about....Whose heart hurts for all people who feel the effects of a divorce.