Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Going it alone

The other day I happened upon an article in a rather well-known magazine that was breaking down the sad statistics about marriages ending as a result of infidelity.  Obviously there were quite a few current examples of men cheating on their wives; most, if not all, of these men were elected officials. 

Of course, my blood started to boil.  

Not just at the fact that so many men can't seem to keep their pants on outside of the homes that they built with their wives, but also because people who hold an elected position should, in my opinion, BEHAVE THEMSELVES! Is it really so hard to not sleep with someone other than your spouse?  Especially when you know the world is watching (or at least it will once the story breaks in the local papers). Jeez.

Reading the article accomplished 2 things for me: 1) I now officially hate elected officials (most of them for sure, and absolutely the ones who think they are entitled to play when WE put them in that office to work), and 2) marriage is worth fighting for; mine, yours, and the guys' down the street. There is a reason why we seek out a partner with which to share our lives...because it sucks going it alone!

Now this is not to say that being single (either by choice or circumstance) is a tragedy.  Far from it. But once a person has made a decision to enter into some kind of union (and I am talking the real kind, where you actually love the other person regardless of money, status, or anticipated expectations) it isn't easy to readjust to a life outside that union.  Ending a marriage, or union, sucks and it really is sad to see that the majority of people in our country will end up with broken hearts and broken families.

I know that divorce happens for a lot of sound and sensible reasons. Domestic abuse, infidelity, lying, and a few other nasty behaviors are certainly grounds for moving on from someone you took a chance on. And despite the fact that the article was discussing infidelity as the likely culprit for the end of many marriages, it also seems that a lot of people are just falling out of love.  

We are bored with one another, or we're fighting about the same things constantly, or we are stressed about money/time/kids, etc. We all know the reasons why we're not happy with our significant others.  But is that really a reason to walk away from our commitments? I'd like to think NO.

(And please understand that I am not talking about a commitment that involves God. God has nothing to do with my marriage.  I made a commitment to my husband, and that should be enough without bringing "you know who" into the picture.)

What the hell is the point of getting married in the first place if we have already given ourselves an "out".  

"Yes I love you, but if you start to annoy me, I'm outta here!"

As long as you still like each other, and can remember why you chose to be together in the first place, I would like to think there exists some reason for continuing to work towards achieving what you initially set out to have for yourselves: a life partner.  If you can't stand each other and loath being in the same room for any amount of time, well, I guess that's something you need to figure out for yourselves. And yes, if you're actively out seeking another person to be with while your significant other is home with the kids, well then what are you waiting for?

Does my husband annoy me?  Yes, on a daily basis.  Do my husband and I argue about the same things everyday? Yep.  Do we disagree on how to raise our kids? Uh, duh. Do I wish my husband did more around the house? YES (that is an emphatic "yes" !) Does my husband wish I would loosen up and not take things so seriously? You betcha.  Despite all the things that literally drive us crazy about each other, do either of us want to go it alone? Not on your life.

I think even in our most frustrated of moments we both understand there are some pretty huge bumps in the road on this journey we are on.  But it is a journey, and we would like to finish it together.  We dream of sitting in the bleachers to watch our kids' games or music concerts (if we should be so lucky as to have a musician in the family). We dream of being able to have free time together to eat out and travel more. We so look forward to trying new things together, and enjoying the same things we have always loved. 

Are we any better or stronger than other people? Heck no. I'm not going to naively assume that because I write these words I will fend off divorce any easier than other couples out there. But I do know that I don't want to go it alone.  I chose this person for a reason and would prefer that he be by my side on this particular journey. For now, for always. 

I will not tread lightly and I will not be afraid to ruffle his feathers. But I will also not go deliberately out of my way to mess things up and and create a reason for this marriage, this one-out-of-a-million marriages, to end. 

Just a little light thinking for a Wednesday afternoon.