As more and more couples split up, and marriage, at least marriage the way we used to think of it, seems more and more a thing of the past, people have begun throwing parties to celebrate their “de-coupling.”
Is that cool?
Or is it freaking weird?
Is this the modern way of thinking, of just going with the flow and rolling with love’s inevitable sucker punches? Or is throwing a party in honor of a failed marriage just the latest in a long line of signs indicating that human beings have done lost their minds?
A recent article in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald quotes one 41-year-old divorcee mom on why she felt the need to have a ‘divorced and 40′ cocktail party when she untied the knot:
I was extremely depressed in that marriage … I felt like I was in jail in that I wasn’t free to be me. The reason I wanted to celebrate [the divorce] was that it was the next chapter in my life — and it was all looking good.
Fair enough, I guess. I mean, people throw shindigs for all kinds of reasons, so why not divorce?
Still, I don’t know.
What’s the point, really?
Are we out to prove to the world that we are “survivors” and that no matter what, we are going to make the best of a damn crappy situation, even if then marriage really did suck and you’re glad to be out of it?
In a way, I guess all of the hooting and hollering about divorce could be seen as kind of like dancing and spitting on the grave of all the years you spent in a marriage. There seems to be a lack of respect or recognition of what, if anything (there must be something!) was ever good about the thing to begin with in favor of stomping on your wedded past like pizza dough until nothing remains but a weak cloud of dissipating dust.
Then again, perhaps it’s all just a 21st century way of moving forward. Maybe our collective pain has gotten the better of us and the only way to ever love again and hope again is to dabble in love just so we can eventually shout from the rooftops: ‘Hallelujah! It’s over! I’m free! They’re gone!”
Or maybe we’ve reached a place in time when a lot of married people’s belief in forever has cooled so completely that we see simply see divorce much like we see high school graduations or bar mitzvahs; “Hey,” we tell ourselves, and each other, “this day is coming, sooner or later, so we might as well start dreaming up the ending … and the party that comes with it.”
Divorce has taken on an entirely new context in the last decade or so. Gone are the days when it was something that many people might be ashamed of, or even regret going through. Nowadays, the act of divorcing a spouse is often viewed as a proverbial stepping stone toward a “new and improved you,” a mere notch in the gun of our human experience.
Whenever people announce they’re ending their marriages, there are always plenty of friends, relatives, and co-workers who are shocked and saddened, of course. At the very same time, however, there are always vast choruses of other people waiting in the wings to tell the new divorcees how proud they are of them, and how strong and independent they see them since they decided to go solo.
I don’t mean that in a way that infers that I have any kind of answers because, believe me: if there is anyone on Earth with less answers about love or marriage or divorce or even how to buy a woman a half-decent birthday gift than me, I can almost guarantee you that person has probably been sitting, unheard from, in some prisoner-of-war solitary confinement cell for a very very long time, talking to walls that talk right back and eating his own poo.
What I do tend to ponder though, is why is it that more and more people appear to act so much happier after they decide to get divorced?
Is marriage that bad? Or are there just way more bad marriages, the kind people cannot wait to assassinate with 12 pounds of grenade launcher?
Or am I just missing the point altogether?
I do realize that many divorces come to pass because people are no longer in love with one another and when that happens, well, there isn’t anyone to blame at all; and if that’s the case, why continue the charade?
However, sometimes I can’t help but dabble in the possibility that maybe a lot of married people are becoming too focused on some kind of impossible state of unlimited freedom and dream-chasing within the confines of the good old institution as a whole, you know?
And, of course, there’s the distinct and increasing popular notion that there’s a very fat chance that the institution has simply run it’s grizzled, weathered course.
On one hand: we can ask ourselves if we still believe in the rough pillars that support the very basic ideals of marriage, the idea of spending your life, tried and true, with one and only one person no matter what madness or tribulation ultimately comes pounding down your collective door.
On the other hand though, given how far we’ve moved and continue to move forward in a progressive human society (as imperfect as it may be) it is certainly also a reasonable question to wonder if we all really deserve to be whoever the hell we want to be/whenever the hell we want to be it. And if the same old compromise of our aspirations and expectations that marriage has always hinted at is something we now justifiably refuse to commit to at the expense of any, let alone many, of our lifelong dreams.
The ever-changing state of marriage is a fascinating topic well covered in today’s multimedia, but now and again I can’t help but wonder whether we are trying to reinvent something that simply is what it is, and always has been.
Marriages seem more likely to fail today than succeed, of course, and two people announcing that they’re having a divorce party isn’t really all that surprising to any of us.
Maybe that’s just a sign of the times.
But at the same time, maybe/just maybe, a lot of us had better look a little closer at what we’ve secretly been thinking and expecting all along.
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