“Every marriage is different, but all marriages experience ups and downs – there’s the romantic times when the sun seems to be always shining, and the tough times when winter seems to have set in for good. We want to support you in your relationship whether you are preparing to get married or have been …”
Went to see a play this week about a young woman whose husband leaves her. Sounds grim but it wasn’t at all.
The actress received a standing ovation. I think people, and much of the audience comprised women, were relieved to see this subject tackled honestly. With 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 marriages (the statistics seem to shift, according to the source you read) doomed to end before death it’s all too easy for society to treat it as no big deal. It’s not. It wrecks lives – of the leaver and the leavee, of children, of parents and in-laws. The knock-on effects of divorce are enormous. There are financial, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual consequences. Few people outside of the church are really prepared to stand up and say this. even some of my friends won’t admit that divorce can be destructive (Marriage can be too, of course.)
Even if a marriage is deeply, deeply flawed I believe that all efforts – and a joint effort at that, supported by a community that cares, as specified by Bill Doherty PhD – should be made to save it before calling it a day. If all efforts are made and still there’s no resolution then okay, divorce is the only sensible option.
Divorce may turn out to be a positive thing for me – eventually. (I still think it’s too early to say) but I do believe that divorce/relationship breakdown is a ticking time bomb.
If we are going to be living longer we need to rethink how we tackle marriage and the potential for marital breakdown. Marriage is still hugely popular.
How do we ‘marry’ our hopes for lifelong love with the reality of probable breakdown?
Interested in a man or woman who has a lot of barriers/walls around them? (Again, I don’t mean just romantic partners but friends or even members of your own family, such as a sibling).
Don’t kid yourself that you will be the one to break down those walls. You might – for a time – but once that person is under stress those walls will go up again and you will be shut out.
Barriers only come down when the person is ready.Those walls may never come down. Don’t hang about investing emotional, physical or even financial resources on the walled in person – unless it is your job, say as a foster parent or mentor.
Be friendly, fairly open, and willing to listen when it is appropriate – but erect your own boundaries. Keep yourself emotionally safe. (Remember, turning the other cheek” turning the other cheek is not the same as being a mug!)
I don’t see Ex as much now and it is helping me. I do miss his company but one needs to detach and, anyway, why would you want to spend a lot of time with someone who has not only rejected you but chosen to be with someone else, albeit after he ended the marriage?
But I did talk to him about how we singles can get so tired of having to cope with everything on our own. I wasn’t accusing and he was very sympathetic and did not try to fix my problems, which is good (boundaries). I used to be the sorter out anyway but at least in the marriage you felt you were a team – of two. (Though this can be an illusion, as often married people are not in the SAME marriage.)
Ex asked me if I was doing anything about my single state. That misses the point. I wasn’t saying that it was a problem that needs to be solved sharpish but that the reality of going it alone can be hard. All my single church friends feel this way at times.
I text him the next day:
“I am doing something about my single state. Finding out who I am, what I believe, and what I will or will not accept in a man and so on. I am the most important person in my life right now! I do know some great single men but just as friends. x x”
He said that sounded like a sensible approach. Pity we could not talk as calmly when we were together as we do now. But they say that relationships fuel the fire of intimacy – hence, all our issues rise to the surface, to be worked out in the relationship. Sometimes this working out is brilliant and supportive and sometimes it turns destructive and unhelpful.
This week in the UK we had some sun. Then it went away. This has been the pattern for the last few years, and frankly, it’s depressing.
Then I saw some pictures of where my newly-ensconced NZ friends live. It looks like paradise. I thought to myself: ‘In a few years time I will be totally free. I could emigrate!’
An escapist fantasy during this hard time? Possibly. It depends how things work out here with my new life post-marriage, my church family, where I move to and so on. It is hard making new friends – good, lasting friends – so leaving behind those I have made in recent years as well as my old ones is not to be taken lightly. But it made me think, did that blog.
My friend is certain about many things. She is positive, upbeat and always has an answer.
When I was younger, and particularly in my marriage, I was a doer, a task-orientated type. I thought I had answers – or if I did not I would find them in a book. Research was the key. (I’m still a keen researcher and, I confess, I do delve into things way too much, especially now I have the world wide web to trawl.)
Providing answers to other people’s problems can deprive them of their need to explore how they actually feel about things, to process events or situations, and maybe to meditate on them or, for those inclined, to pray things through. Being a chronic rescuer or a purveyor of certainties disempowers people.
But, you may argue, Christians are a group of people who are full of certainty.
Yet all this is a leap of faith. Christians believe in something they can not physically see. They feel/sense/believe in God’s grace. And as Pastor 3 says, not all Christians believe in the resurrection (though he preached on being unable to build your faith without believing in the Resurrected Christ.)
While some people say they just ‘know’ for others leaping into faith may mean choosing to believe. Or at least being more open-minded than they previously were. To me, this is a good thing. ‘Cos one thing my life has revealed is that there are few certainties. Things can change, cataclysmic-style or joyously, in the blink of an eye – or while the lights turn from green to red.
And I am no longer impressed by people who think they have all the answers.
These last few years I’ve been troubled by trust.
I am often too trusting, too willing to think that situations that might actually be quite risky will be okay, that when people say things or make promises, that they mean what they say.
However, I have learned that this is not the case. I learned this the hard way: through the breakdown of my marriage (I thought we would be together forever as we had been together so long. NAIVE!) and through dating, later on, and through friendships, where I’ve felt let down.
I don’t want to end up bitter and hard-hearted but I do seem to have been let down quite a lot, especially by men. One of the worst was 2012’s offering – a man I shall call Short Trousers. I can’t believe I gave this person the time of day. Fortunately we never really got together but I did expend a lot of energy on this dropkick. His lack of a backbone taught me a lot.
What I have found re ”men and me” since my separation is that I seem to be the sort of woman they like, are attracted to, but then they prevaricate. It’s like they’re in a toy shop but too scared to make the purchase. I just have not got time for this.
My advice to anyone in this situation also: Don’t listen to the words; watch the actions. Many men (and women) can talk the talk but the walking bit? They simply can’t do it. YOU walk away. Fast.
I found this quote on a forum and it made me laugh:
Jesus never looked at anyone and said, “I don’t love you anymore because you just don’t ‘do it’ for me like you used to!”
It’s not often that I read a book that I would describe as life changing but I would venture to say that Sex God by Rob Bell is one. Its subtitle is Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality. I hope to come back with more
thoughts on this book but in brief, I loved pretty much everything about it. It’s brilliantly written. Yeah, he uses a few techniques that are a little ‘poppy’ but he does it well. He writes with genuine passion, real depth, and feeling. He clearly loves people too.
Here are links to reviews of the book: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-sex-god-by-rob/ and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sex-God-Exploring-Questions-Spirituality/dp/0007487851