Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Thing About Excuses

In today's society, divorce is not only an option, its sadly more commonplace. People don't work as hard at staying together anymore, the moment there is even a tiny bit of resistance, we throw in the towels and call out the lawyers. It's tragic. It would be different if there were real issues, like someone was a habitual cheater or abusive in some way. It's not though. Things like money being tight or hating our jobs drive us from one another. We gave up before it even got tough. What does that mean for us as people? So what if you hate your job? I haven't met a single person that hasn't hated their job at one time or another. Money problems are something that almost everyone has to contend with, grown ups have debt. Big shocker there I know.

What is the point of all this? Simple really. We have turned in to people that make excuses to not try. Trying is hard, and can get ugly. It's easier to roll over and play dead than to sweat through the issues at hand. TALK IT OUT! If you are at the point in your relationship that you are deeply committed to one another, be it through marriage, living with one another or even with children, for the benefit of all involved, try to work it out. Nine times out of ten, issues can be worked through. If the problems run deep, it's okay to enlist the help of a professional. Therapists are not satan. They will not steal your soul then turn around and sell it on the black market to any idiot with a credit card. They are here to help. Sometimes just talking about your problems with someone removed from the situation can put things back in perspective, make things less scary.

Now, maybe I sound a little preachy, but I cannot stand to hear one more person tell me that they can't make their marriage work cause they are "tired of the stress" or "money is too tight" or "all we do is fight." I am not trying to say these aren't real problems, they are. These are not marriage ending problems that can never be worked through. These are not deal breakers.

Take a breath. Take a moment. Close your eyes. Remember why you started this journey in the first place. You may be glad that you did. There is someone that made you start down this path, get that in your mind before you go all in and you fold. Life is not a game of poker. You can't just walk away from the table when you are done losing. Sometimes you have to trudge through the bad to get to the good again. Life doesn't have a do-over, and there is no restart. It's time that we stop looking for the easy way out. It's time that we look to our grandparents, back when divorce wasn't an everyday word. Back when the vow meant something. Trying to make the little things make sense doesn't hurt, in fact, at this point it can only help.


  1. i hate divorce. I never want to go through it.

  2. My parents were married for 25 years, together for a total of 30, and went through just about every hardship a marriage can get, short of losing a child: money stress, running a business together, kids, tons of in-laws, and a long-term illness that completely changes the person you fell in love with.

    My mom has mentioned this before and she's not the first to say it, but she said it again the other day and it's sort of an amazing concept when you think about it:

    "Well, we just decided divorce was not an option for us," she told me. "When you take that off the table, it forces you to find a way to compromise and work things out, because you don't have a way to just give up. You have to make it work if you want to be happy with each other again."

    We also have some long-time family friends who seem to be happily married after fifty years. Mom once congratulated them on their big anniversary, and they were talking about what it takes to have a committed, happy marriage. He said that although they are still very close after all these years, there were "about twelve years of that I wouldn't have minded skipping." She told that to my uncle who is going through a rough time in their marriage (plus three teenage kids), who replied sullenly, "Were they all at once?"

    So the story of this novel here is that what I've learned from these loving, committed people is that regardless of how good of a match you and your partner are, there will always be tough times when you will have to struggle more than you ever thought while you were younger and dating each other. But if both people are truly committed to the idea of marriage and working it out, then short of an abusive situation, there's really nothing that can stop it from working out if you really stick with it. And that, I found very inspiring.