To Call It Quits

I have helped a couple that was on their way to divorce make the right decision for them, which was to stay together. I also supported the divorce of another friend as a smart move, even though it was painful to see one of the first couples that I even witnessed joining matrimony.

In the past month 3 long term relationships have ended around me, two of them with over 15 years of history and both of them with kids. You would think that someone that has been divorced before and who’s parents also divorced would be used to it, but even today it pains me to hear about it.

One of the many problems in our society today, or maybe even the biggest problem, is that relationships are disposable. Being part of a community does not have the same feel it did before, being part of a friendship feels temporary to so many, being part of a marriage to some is just a matter of numbers, half are going to end up divorced.

Divorce is a horrible thing to go through, I don’t recommend it. Nobody sets out to marry the wrong person, but many of us do. I think it has a lot to do with maturity in many levels. Nobody under the age of twenty five should get married in my opinion. I have seen that most people experience a lot of changes in world view during their early twenties and it can wreck havoc on relationships crafted before that. There is nothing wrong with marrying your high school sweetheart, just make sure that you both don’t wake up when you are in your forties wondering why you are so unhappy with the life you thought would be perfect.

I believe that divorce is the answer only when abuse of any kind is involved. A lot of the other problems in marriages can be solved if both parties are willing to work at it. I believe in counseling to find answers, and have seen that most problems with marriages come from bad communication. We all have wants and needs and being able to convey those to the person that is going to spend the rest of our lives with us is critical.

If you are a friend or a reader that is going through some tough marital times, don’t be afraid to send me an e-mail. Even if I don’t have the answer, and in most cases I don’t, I do know of a lot of resources that might help mend a relationship.

I am going to deviate from what I do most of the time and get a little personal… not sure if this will apply to others or not, but what gave me a clue that I had found true love is the following.

In every single relationship I’ve had before I would always wonder if I could put up with, behavior A, attitude B. Ever since I have been with my wife, that thought has not entered my mind. I am convinced that we can face anything together, but most importantly is we BOTH want to do it. Neither of us is unrealistic to think it is perfect, and we went into it not thinking it would be forever (since we both had experienced it before) but wanting it to be forever. I want to grow old with this woman and that is a wonderful feeling.

9 comments on “To Call It Quits

  1. Yeah, a lot of problems seem to come from expectations. The old saying of “A man marries a woman hoping she will never change and a woman marries a man hoping that he does” sums it up well.

    To quote the marriage strengthening movie Fireproof (highly recommend by the way), “When most people get married for better or worse, they only really mean the better part”.

  2. Agree with Mark M. Many people forget (if they ever realized in the first place) that conscious commitment is a huge part of marriage.

    Love is as much a decision as a feeling.

  3. Thanks for writing this, Log. I’m happy that you have been such a great source of support for your friends.

    Speaking from experience, I agree that getting married in your early twenties is not the best idea. Most of us are still finding our way and forming our identities at this time.

    I also believe, as you do, that communication is key in any type of relationship. If you don’t tell someone what you want or need, you certainly won’t get it.

    I have to draw the line, however, at your comment about abuse being the only reason to end a marriage. I, for one, know that I was not the best parent, nor the best person, I could be towards the end of my relationship. As I grew and changed over the years, my spouse stayed the same, and became unable to meet my needs on any level–even after working at it. My heart turned away from him as a result. No amount of counseling can fix that. It is extremely difficult to be with someone who cares about maybe half of what is meaningful to you at any given time.

    Should I, a passionate, intelligent, purpose-driven person, have forced myself to stay in a marriage that was killing my spirit a little every day and sending me spiraling into depression? Should I have resigned myself to the fact that I would never again experience love or fulfillment or let’s face it … intimacy, just because I wasn’t being “abused” by someone else’s definition of the word?

    While I don’t want my children growing up to think that they should just give up on any given relationship without trying, I also want to raise them in the knowledge that they can always strive for more. I want them to have a strong female role model, someone who can help them become well-rounded people because SHE is one.

  4. I personally believe that indifference and neglect are both forms of abuse. I also grew apart from the woman I married during my early twenties, we grew apart from each other and there was no love. I know now that you should marry not just someone you love at the moment but someone that you at least expect to love forever, if not, there should be no commitment made. I also know that people change, and I am realistic as to why some marriages fail, but those subjects are better explained in a full post than just on a comment.

    You should be happy in a marriage, but my point is that you also have to be able to face the ups and downs.

    Sex is a big part of marriage, intimacy, fun, and many other things, but when that dies, I think it dies in most cases because of other underlying issues. Sex can get complicated in any relationship, specially when there are kids around that take up a lot of time. Keeping a good sexual life with your significant other takes effort, patience and overall communication.

    I am not a fan of keeping a family together just for the sake of the kids of the two people are miserable, but I think that two people that love each other can work things out. I have a lot more to write about this subject and will be doing so soon… individualism however I think is attacking marriage as an institution, and trust me, while marriage works for me, I don’t think it is for everyone.

  5. I will say that I’m a classic case of not getting married before 25 — I did it at 24 and was divorced at 28. I think that if I’d met my Ex at 28, I’m not even sure it would’ve gone past a couple of dates. The difficulty in looking in from the outside is that you may still not have the whole truth on what’s going on. I didn’t tell (and still haven’t) some things that went on in my marriage.

  6. Counseling does work if you want it to. If you both are willing to go, willing to do what is needed. I married just before I turned 21 & divorces before I turned 22. I waited eight years before I married again. Hubby & I have been married since 1985. Counseling was needed right around our 7th year. We have a stronger marriage because we were willing to work to save it.

  7. Counseling is a great tool, but it is not a silver bullet in all cases. Even after wanting to be with that other person, even after thinking you love them and trying hard to make it work, you might not be for each other. We cannot pretend to be something we are not for someone else, and sometimes that is what ends up happening when the wrong people get together.

    Take my parents for example, both amazing people, but wrong for each other. Mom was the life of the party, Dad was the hard working home body. They tried, and tried to make it work, but after growing up in that environment I knew even as a kid that they were not right together.

    If you have made a commitment to be with someone and want to make it work, use the tools, talk, come to your family and friends before taking the step because marriage is hard work. However, do not stay in a relationship where both people are not in it 100% or are just not right for each other either. Again, my point is, made sure you marry the right person… trust me, when you find them you will know without a doubt… if you have tons of doubts, discuss them and squash them or don’t do it.

  8. Having been to Divorceland, I know that is a place nobody wants to visit. It’s painful, it shatters your self-esteem, it makes you doubt everything your life has been based on.

    That being said, grounds for divorce can be many, not only abuse. I will never agree with staying in an unhappy relationship. And while I believe that counseling can help, the two people need to be open for it and there should be enough reasons to fight for the marriage.

    We all grow up in this fantasy bubble of “Happily Ever After” — Nobody really told us the bubble could burst, and then we see more and more people becoming part of the statistics. Yes, there are many people who give up too easily; but there are also those who try hard and never see any results.

    Despite the reasons, divorce is horrible. And I feel sorry for all the parts involved.

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