“Divorce Is Not An Option.”
I always hear the same tired thing regarding this sentence. “We never talk about divorce.” “It’s not even in our vocabulary.” “We don’t believe in divorce.”
It seems like nobody believes in divorce, yet a majority of people take part in it. According to a CDC report, more than half of marriages in the United States end in divorce or annulment. With a little digging on the CDC website, one will find that the percentage of subsequent marriages failing is even higher.
It would appear that divorce is an option, after all.
So why does everyone claim that it’s NOT an option?
My husband and I, while obviously not the perfect couple by any means, have discussed divorce on many occasions. I think it keeps us honest, and it keeps us aware of our surroundings. Nothing makes us work harder at our jobs than knowing they aren’t guaranteed, I believe.
And marriage, whether you like it or not, is a job. It’s an incredibly fulfilling, rewarding, dirty job... and sometimes, remembering that my husband is not going to stick around just because he said “I do” eleven years ago is the only thing that keeps me on my toes.
For the record, my husband has never threatened me with a divorce. Ever. The thought of getting a divorce makes him sick to his stomach. He literally becomes nauseated and dizzy and half panicked. In fact, if he knew that I was writing about this topic, he’d frown and ask me if everything is okay.
Everything is okay. I just happen to believe that marriage isn’t fairy tales and happy endings and rainbows and unicorns. It’s hard. So incredibly hard.
Don’t get me wrong, when we exchanged our vows on that frigid November day in South Dakota, neither of us did it with divorce in the forefront of our minds. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we hadn’t considered the possibility. It wasn’t our intention, but we knew the risks.
One Common Side Effect Of Marriage IS Divorce.
Some couples do stay together their entire lives after “I do.” My parents did. My mother is a widow who will take her vows to her grave just like my father did. To my knowledge, they never discussed divorcing each other.
They were a rare find, my mom and dad.
My husband’s parents, however, are divorced. It sucks for everyone involved, especially because all of the kids were grown and moved away and over half had their own marriages to contend with.
In our combined families, out of 17 adults, there are 10 divorces. That seems to be par for the course when considering the CDC’s statistics. It’s all around us. How can we possibly say that divorce is not an option when the statistics are so clear?
What Can We Do To Avoid Being A Statistic?
Stop pretending that divorce isn’t a thing. The more we ignore the world around us and the more we pretend to be the exception to the rule, the more we run the risk of falling into our own traps set by negligence and ignorance.
Stop having a negative opinion of divorce. We are a snooty group of people. We truly are. We all have opinions, and we all believe we are right. But we tend to demand that everyone share our opinions, especially the negative ones. So what if your parents are divorced? So what if your sister is divorced? Their issues are not your issues, and the more you project your negative opinion onto their unique situation, the more you set yourself up to fall into their worn out shoes.
Stop insisting that divorce isn’t an option. The moment that you begin to believe that you can treat your spouse any way you choose because he or she will never leave you is the moment you sign your papers.
Start being aware of the world around you. Divorce is happening everywhere. Acknowledging that is key to understanding how to avoid it.
Start caring more about marriage and less about divorce. I know this one seems to argue with everything I’ve said up until now, but there IS a method to my madness. When you treat your spouse well because you love him and not because he might leave, you take a step in the right direction. But when you STOP treating him badly because you don’t want him to go, you take another step. To give a little more clarity to this concept, consider doing this: when you open your mouth to say something nasty to your spouse, ask yourself if this is something you would say to someone in an effort to make them want to be with you. This doesn’t mean don’t argue or don’t ever say something wrong. This means that every time you think of it, try to make sure the words coming out of your mouth are designed specifically for the love of your life instead of the pain in your arse.
I Believe In Divorce
It’s true- I do believe in divorce. Before I agreed to marry my husband, we clarified some ground rules. First and foremost was that if he ever struck me or one of our future children (assuming he survived), the divorce would be quick, final, and damaging. The second was that if either of us cheated, it was justification for immediate separation until we determined that we wanted to purposely continue to be married. The third was that lying (or withholding information) and getting caught (rather than confessing) was grounds for sitting down and discussing our options as they pertained to the continuation of our marriage.
Neither of us entered into our marriage believing it would end in divorce, but neither of us were ignorant of the risks, either.
Ah, but The Bible
It’s true, the Bible says not to divorce. Well… it says that a person should not divorce his or her spouse unless the spouse has been unfaithful. There are other verses that could support divorce in the case of abuse and in the case of being “unequally yoked” (in other words, one person in the marriage becoming a believer and the other not). It’s true, it’s right there in black and white and sometimes red.
That doesn’t change the fact that it still happens, even among Christians. Especially when we pay attention to the unfaithful part, because Christians and non-Christians are equally unfaithful. Being a Christian and believing in everything the Bible says doesn’t save us from life and all of its crappy glory. It doesn’t prevent us from overeating or suing each other any more than it prevents us from getting divorced. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore what the Bible says, just that we have to apply the ENTIRE Bible to our marriages- as opposed to just the one verse about not getting divorced.
And even then, sometimes divorce happens.
So What I’m Saying Is
Statistics tell me that a majority of you claiming that divorce is never an option are in denial. And denial is never cool.
Many Kind Regards,
There are so many debates to be had about marriage. Divorce? Equality? EJ Smith celebrates the passage of national equality laws in "Love Just Won".