"Divorce isn't such a tragedy. A tragedy's staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce."
Marriage is a union between two people who love one another: be it man and man, woman and woman, or man and woman. It is a commitment between two people to remain loyal to one another, to love each other, and to trust each other in a long-term relationship. For most people, it’s the next step in a serious relationship to vow loyalty to one another. When you join your partner in marriage, the goal is life. But sometimes that goal isn’t always attainable.
The issue that I’ve come across in the subject of marriage is divorce, most specifically, the negativity associated with it. The most recent arguments I’ve encountered were focused around the weight of vows, the “acceptable” and few reasons for divorce, and the biblical perspective (which I won’t discuss). A vow is a commitment and while I agree we should work hard to keep our commitments, especially with the relationships we build, I disagree in thinking there are only a few reasons acceptable for divorce.
While the divorce rates in America are alarming (2:1), I feel it’s no one’s right to pass judgment on what are acceptable or unacceptable reasons for divorce. Clearly that decision is up to married couples to make for themselves. An unmarried person can define what they believe is acceptable, but in my opinion, they aren't fully capable to understand the decision before experiencing marriage themselves. It’s a whole different ballgame. There are a ton of circumstances that people experience divorces under and, as each relationship is different from the next, it’s difficult to be able to dictate what can make or break a specific relationship.
Marriages take a lot of work to maintain. Trust, honesty, and compromise are very important to develop a healthy marriage. In my opinion, there is no head of household. You each work together equally to improve one another and the relationship. You both make decisions together and value each other’s opinion as you would your own. It involves negotiation and compromise to prevent stepping on one another’s feelings or desires. Without being able to work small things out together, how can you expect to work out the big issues?
A healthy marriage is one where both parties are happy. It’s incredibly selfish to expect someone to stay in a marriage they no longer want. Trying to force someone into staying in an unhealthy arrangement is not love; it’s control. If one person wants out, they should be allowed that privilege without threats or starting a war. On the same token, staying in a marriage for the kids is just as selfish. While some people may think this is for the best, it’s actually very harmful. Children aren’t stupid. They know when something is up. Divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to them. Growing up in a household full of tension is more traumatizing. Kids want what is best for their parents and vice versa. In these situations the best thing is to try to work it out or divorce and be civil with each other. Children would rather have happily divorced parents who are civil than married parents who are at each other’s throats every day.
Marriages fail due to many reasons. Finances, abuse, infidelity and many more issues could be a prime suspect for many failed marriages. What I find people have most trouble with is change. It’s hard for some to grasp the concept of change, specifically a change in another person or in a relationship. People change. When you get married, the goal is life. At the moment in time when the vows are exchanged, the goal is life. For however long your relationship lasts, the goal is life. Somewhere down the road, one person’s assessment of their relationship could no longer follow these terms. If it’s reparable, I suggest trying to repair it. If it isn’t and options have been exhausted, it wouldn’t make sense to stay in a marriage if you are miserable. It doesn’t mean it’s your fault the relationship didn’t work out, or that it is the other person’s fault. It’s just life.
In conclusion, I believe a marriage can fail for multiple reasons and it is okay. I don’t think there’s a special recipe that is going to save every marriage. The most one can do is just try to repair the damage and go from there. I feel that both marriage and divorce provide life lessons. Of course, we hope to never have to experience a divorce, but if we do, it’s not the end of the world.