I wrote this thing on my personal blog, The Girl Who, the other day about how I sometimes read stuff other people on the Internet write about our marriage.
They write about how dysfunctional we are because we fight. As if fighting with one’s spouse is such a shameful thing (because nobody ever argues with their spouse, right?) As if our tempestuous relationship is a big secret they’ve uncovered. As if we didn’t write the stuff for y’all to read in the first place.
These relationship oddsmakers place wagers on whether or not we’ll be the next bloggers to announce our divorce or whatever. And I get it, the fact that we’re talked about because we put it out there, but the thing I think is a little weird is that our speculated about divorce is somehow more imminent than the possible divorce of someone else who doesn’t publicly talk about their marital strife. Just because we’re open about our marital strife we’re more likely to divorce?
Or are we less likely to divorce because in talking about it we’re attempting to study the situation and understand it? In being public about our problems we are somehow able to take away some of the apparent stigma that admitting fighting with your spouse seems to bring.
What I mean is, take Heather Armstrong, for example. She’s someone who chose not to write publicly about problems within her marriage in the way that Serge and I do. By all accounts, she and her husband, Jon, were a happy couple and yet they are separated and seemingly on the road to a divorce. I don’t use her as an example as a kind of judgment on her choosing to write or not to write about her marriage, only to show you that just because Serge and I talk about our horrible fights doesn’t mean we’re more likely to divorce or that our marriage is any better or worse than someone who doesn’t choose to be open about their marriage issues. And just because someone else chooses not to publicly discuss the unpleasant elements of their relationship, just because they appear to be a fantastic couple doesn’t mean their situation is roses. You dig what I’m saying?
It’s no secret that Serge and I have had a rough year. The roughest. Our situation still feels ambiguous. But that doesn’t mean we’re always fighting and it doesn’t mean we are frolicking through meadows either. We’re living life, trying to figure it out one step at a time and, most importantly, focusing on our kids and trying to be the best parents we can be, which we realize includes making it work with each other.
That said, I know that both Serge and I, at one time or another, have felt like giving up. Like, maybe we just weren’t meant to be, maybe we’re just coming at this whole thing from such different perspectives that we’ll never make it work. Maybe too much water has gone under the bridge… But something always keeps each of us coming back, trying to make it work, to make it better.
That’s where this article I read on Shine from Yahoo comes in. It’s called Don’t Even Think About Divorcing Until… and was written for Redbook by Elizabeth Weil. She collected tips for how to save a marriage and avoid divorce from 13 extraordinary people who believe in doing whatever it takes to sustain the biggest love of your life. The piece really speaks to me at this particularly rocky juncture in my life. Divorce is so prevalent these days because, I think, people divorce for sillier and sillier reasons. I don’t mean to trivialize somebody’s reasons for divorcing because everyone has their own story, but with celebs like Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries and Russell Brand and Katy Perry kind of pissing all over the sanctity of marriage, it does feel like a lot of us everyday folk are following suit and ditching our marriages pretty quickly when the reality of marriage sets in.
Which brings me to tip one from the Shine article. Don’t divorce until…
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For six more very excellent tips Elizabeth Weil collected you’ll have to click over to Shine from Yahoo.
Top photo credit: Flickr.com