Friday, May 30, 2008

Another One

I'm feeling a bit down, but not near as down as some of my friends and family.

I spent yesterday at a family member's home. Her husband just decided to leave her for reasons that were not made clear, but, whatever it was, I'm sure she did not break her vows. It was sudden and apparently unexpected by everyone but her husband.

I tried to comfort her, and tried to keep some of the older member of our family from upsetting her even more; you know how old folks sometime lose that censor in their head. As I was cleaning her home I kept coming across photos of them, happy at their wedding. Our boys were the ring bearers that day. And now what?

How the hell does this happen? I'm beginning to feel a compulsive need to know what my education on the subject (read: movies, books, and television) doesn't seem to answer. Have you ever just fallen out of love? Do you know how other people fall out of love? Is it that, as I pondered long ago, that couples get too comfortable? Something else? I have to think it takes more effort than falling, but is that wrong? Does it really just happen, as though it's like some change in the seasons?

With such a huge family, and the national statistics on divorce the way they are, I really don't know near my fair share of failed marriages, and should count that as fortunate. But still, these latest couple of separations, happening so close to each other, it gets that "fix it" loop running obsessively through my mind, and yet, for the thought, I feel so ineffective in the face of it.

7 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

There's not anything you can do to fix it...you just have to make sure that you and your husband build up your relationship...that's what it comes down to; people getting selfish and not giving of themselves to support their loved one.

MoHoHawaii said...

This is very hard.

I know it's unpopular to say good things about divorce, but I have seen divorces improve the lives of the people involved. Divorce is not universally bad. I know this doesn't relieve the grief and sorrow that's happening right now.

As for falling out of love, people do change, and sometimes they don't change in compatible ways. (This is one of the arguments against early marriage. You need to be an actual adult before making such a commitment.)

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

I think my family must have made up for the lack of divorces in yours. All three of my mum's sisters have gotten divorced, and all but two (out of 7) of my dad's siblings as well as his mother have been divorced at least once, if not two or three times, so in my family, we've sort of gotten used to it.

That said, in almost all of the cases, the divorce ended up being a positive thing for most of those involved. The kids didn't have to be around parents who fought or around a parent who was abusive.

I don't know that there is anything to be done by those on the outside to "fix" any relationship. It's really just about those two people (and perhaps their children). It is sad, but in many cases, like in my family, it ends up being better to spilt up than stay together.

We often hear about how many divorces there are, and how the "fabric of our society" (heterosexual marriage) is tearing apart. I'm convinced that the main reason for increased divorce rates is the shedding of the extreme social stigma of divorce, and the relaxing of cultural and religious prohibitions against it. I don't think that people are more selfish or less loving, rather people are able to change their situation when it comes to that. Before about 50 years, it was religiously and culturally almost impossible to get divorced - people stayed together because that was what was done, not because they loved more back then.

This issue, I think, is closely linked to universal suffrage and women's rights becoming more equal to men's.

It is sad when a relationship ends, but I think that in most cases, it is better than the alternative.

Scot said...

Ah Kengo, sad that.

Moho, Craig -- I don't disagree with what's been written. I don't mean to come off as being black and white about divorce. I'm sure some divorces are for the best, and are the products of good things, such as women's suffrage.

What gets me is the change in the heart, when there isn't something substantial like the more potent aspects of orientation, or infidelity dragging on a marriage.

I mean, I can see how, say, the death of a child could pull two people apart, if they dealt with it differently, but how do you go from "I can't live without out you" to "I want to play the field" without that big something? Do people grow apart, without trying? Do they grow apart for not trying? Are you saying MoHoH, sometimes it just happens regardless of either person's intentions?

I keep hearing those left behind say things like "this just isn't like them", and "I thought I knew them." Apparently it is like them, now, but how? Frankly, it kind of creeps me out to think this can happen to anyone in our life, just like that.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

When it comes to "falling out of love", I just don't know. I haven't that much experience with people who have gone through that. I would think that for some of them, they just stopped spending time together, and got more and more focused on their individual lives to the point where that was more important to them than the relationship - maybe that's selfishness, I don't know.

I do think that it may sometimes happen even when efforts are made to take care of the relationship, but I would guess that happens mostly when either one or both people married before they really knew who they were. I can't imagine myself having married at 21 right after my mission, since I have in many ways, become a totally different person than I was then.

MoHoHawaii said...

Do people grow apart, without trying? Do they grow apart for not trying?

I've seen it just happen. The most common case I've seen is when people marry too young. My opinion is that if an 18 year old gets married, it's always a crapshoot as to whether the marriage will survive. You can't predict who you'll be at 35 when you're 18. (A more reasonable age for marriage, in my opinion, is mid to late twenties.)

Another case is when one of the partners undergoes a serious period of personal development. I knew a woman who was very shy and submissive. Over time (and with therapy) she developed some self confidence and self esteem. She trained for a new career and in other ways became a better functioning person. This was great to see, but it upset the status quo of her marriage, and her husband could not adapt. They ended up splitting, and I think it was probably for the best, even though there were children involved.

In all of the situations I've seen where couples grew apart, the changes didn't just come out of the blue. They occurred over time, and there was ample opportunity for the spouses to adapt or at least identify the problem.

If the announcement comes as a total surprise, then I suspect that the marriage might have had serious problems of communication all along. How can it be that a huge change like that passes unnoticed? It just doesn't make sense unless people aren't talking or one of them is fibbing.

Scot said...

Thank you for your insight MoHoH.

As personality is one thing you do look for in a mate in the beginning, I suppose I can see how a big change there can break people apart. I fully admit I may be going on some unrealistically romantic notions... Still, I'll keep them for this home :-).