Having gone through divorce, sometimes friends and acquaintances have shared their story or wanted to get insight as they are considering it themselves. I know the thought process is a difficult one and that advice given by people who do not understand the full story can sometimes be.. one sided, or just bad advice.
I was raised in a religious family so I understand the drill. When I first mentioned I was separated to a co-workers wife, she immediately went into a diatribe that her and her husband had issues when they first got married and found Jesus. Hearing the Jesus card, I explained that my wife was Christian and looking to avoid more Jesus talk, I said I was Buddhist rather than Atheist. I did this because a Christian is more apt to feel an atheist must be saved rather than a Buddhist. My response stopped her in her tracks.
A friend of mine who I leaned on for insight had a much different story than mine. Her husband was an alcoholic. She was also Catholic so she really struggled with this decision. Her first response was to try to help him, do everything in her power to keep the vows she made. That’s where my thoughts on ” For Better or For Worse” come in. Who defines what is “For Worse” and is there any escape clause? Does on have to put up with mental abuse just to keep their vows? And who exactly tries to leave a marriage when the marriage is “For Better”? People tend to leave marriages for all sorts of reasons and I can see there are times when relationships go through turbulent times but its just a short term issue and the marriage is saved. However, one cannot be held to a vow when there is long term abuse of any sort. In fact, if there is anyone out there that has suffered physical abuse, get out while you can.
Friend #2… She is a stay at home mother of a 15 year old girl. She complains to me that her husband isn’t bettering himself or taking on a second job because they are struggling. She continues that they have had to rely on her parents for loans to get by and for that, she is very disappointed in her husband. From the sounds of it, she is turning her daughter against the father, blaming the father for everything. It is during this process that I start feeling sorry for the husband. Friend #2 has never mentioned anything about abuse, or her husband yelling profanities or making unjust demands of her. Friend #2 wants a divorce!!! And she wants him out of the house NOW!!!! I try to reign her in and tell her that if he leaves the house, she will need a job to maintain the household. It was at that moment I suggest that perhaps if she put divorce on the shelf for the moment, went out to get a job, helped out with the household expenses that maybe she may feel otherwise. It will be enriching to her. Friend #2 deserves a blog story alone! I don’t think they are officially divorced yet but he moved out of the house about six months ago, and no, she hasn’t looked for a job at all and still relies on her parents. Sometimes we make our own “For Worse” but we blame it on others.
Friend #3… also deserves a blog story all her own but in a different way. The night of her wedding, twenty or so years ago, her husband practically had a panic attack because he was away from his family. They bought a house, raised two children but the husband was never there emotionally. He would invite his family over for lunch and watching TV but on these days he would shun the family he created. When it came to his family, his own wife and children were mostly not included. She’s never really gone into details about his abuse towards her other than verbal and mental abuse, even her children think she should leave him. Her brother who is a Catholic priest has wondered why she hasn’t left him yet.
As background for my thoughts, I read some Christian message boards about divorce. A husband states he once abused his wife, I presume by him quoting “Alcohol” that alcohol was a factor. And he admitted that they get pretty nasty to one another. Apparently he went to apologize to her one morning after a fight and in tears she requested a divorce. He goes on to state he talked to a priest and he has gone to church every day to pray and he wants to work things out and is looking for feedback from the Christian message board. — I for one would have said “are you telling us the full story or just your side of the story” because reading between the lines he has admitted to abusing her AND that it sounds like the fights are pretty common. What do you think his wife would add to the story? I think she may add items the husband left out. Guess what? Every single person pointed to her vow, saying that she vowed “For Better or For Worse” and she is a sinner! Another article by a priest who was asked what advice would you give someone looking for a divorce from their partner. The person asking the question did not refer to a male or female but the priest kept referring to the person considering divorce “her”. I thought that was strange. His advice was that SHE should remove the thought of divorce out of HER mind and replace it with Jesus. [Eye roll] So you are being smacked around by an abusive partner, instead of separating yourself from the situation, you should pray to Jesus? I think that is bad advice.
Save your sanity, help your children from misunderstanding good and bad behavior. Do not pit your children against the other parent, Do not make your kids puppets to your problems or play tug of war with them. Try to separate yourself from the situation as a first recourse. If you are unhappy, try to improve yourself first so that when you do seek divorce, you can do things to help yourself. I mean, get out if you have to and find a shelter. I’ll be honest, I speak from experience. My parents made their children’s lives hell and they remained married until they died. My Dad slept in the bed, my Mom slept on the couch… probably for the last 10 years of their lives.
Sad.. but that’s my Story4Today!