Writing about divorce is as personal to me as writing about abuse or death. It sends a weight to the pit of my stomach. I don’t write other people’s stories and that’s why I’m cautious about this subject. There wasn’t just me. There was a spouse and there were children. Little children who deserved better.
When we pick spouses, we base that decision on many things, love, lust, need, fear, compatibility, escape, ambition, life goals, family suitability… When you are young, I had just turned 19, you don’t know yourself and you certainly are clueless about who you will become. The newsflash is your intended spouse has the same feelings. You start out with plans and they go awry, you fight, and pout and beg; there are a few good weeks, and the cycle starts over again. Eventually someone says enough, or one or both of you make decisions that most people can’t come back from.
When my first marriage ended, I told the children. One was very young, one was happy go lucky, and one cried and told me it was his fault. When I assured him that it wasn’t, he said, “Mom, I’ve been praying to God, that you and Dad would get divorced.” I knew that I didn’t have a choice, no child should bare that kind of responsibility, to want to protect his family so much that he should be pushed to pray for a divorce, in order to have peace.
No one starts out in a marriage planning on a divorce. We all start out wide eyed and innocent, hoping.. no planning…. on the best. We bring children into it and sometimes we fail. Typically it’s not just one spouse who fails, both play a part, I firmly believe though that one person can’t make a marriage work by themselves, not year after year. There has to be a commitment by both to the marriage, to the family and to the commitment. In a bad marriage there is no 50/50, it’s 75/20 or sometimes even 90/10, but that isn’t sustainable without someone’s hurt getting too deep.
When I moved to Williston, after my divorce, I started dating and eventually remarried. I remember distinctly, a couple of women in town who had been divorced twice. It had been and I’m sure continues to be challenging to be a divorce’ once, let alone twice. The stigma, even in this day and age, continues to suggest a harlot, a red letter A, plastered firmly on your forehead. I smile when I write this because it’s archaic, but yet sadly in small towns, it’s true. I looked at those women and said to myself, “That will never be me.” You know how God loves that when you make ludicrous statements like that. God says, “Watch this.”
Well watch I did, not just watch, but I experienced my second divorce. I was one of “them.” I had joined a club unwillingly; oh I had initiated the divorce, because I had apparently finessed the talent of poor decision making. I dated a bit and frankly I lost my appetite for it quickly. I had learned a lot and was still learning, wanted to learn, wanted to and had decided that being single could be great. I learned to enjoy being single; the freedom was something I hadn’t experienced before. I learned to survive divorce.
Do the children survive? They do, some more quickly than the rest. My children’s father and I were decent divorced parents; we kept the kids out of most things. Children are smart though and they always know more and see more than you think. If my mother had divorced my father, would my life have been better? Sometimes the damage is already done and it’s hard to know. I bare full responsibility for my poor decisions. In a world where everyone likes to shirk their faults and shift the blame to their pasts, or abusers, I won’t. I could have done better. I have done better. 🙂