If there is one thing I'm grateful for this year, it is my marriage and my family. Wait, that's actually two things, but they go together like turkey and mashed potatoes or pumpkin and pie. You get my (Thanksgiving) drift.
I read an article on ParentSociety.com the other day. It was titled 6 Bad Reasons to Stay Married and it really lit my fire because I'm disappointed, you might even say ashamed, with the way at least 50% of people view marriage. They view it as disposable. Something to take or leave, not as an unbreakable, binding contract vowed before the law, their family and the world and before God or the Creator (whatever you happen to call it).
One of the bad reasons for staying married that the author, Momma Sunshine, listed was, "Because you promised." A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 12th year of marriage. Next month, my parents will celebrate their 48th. Both sets of my grandparents fulfilled their, "Til death do us part," vows and I intend to do the same. Because marriage is a choice made for life, not on a whim or a "til we feel like parting." Marriage is not always happy, nor is it easy much of the time. But it is a life-long commitment. It is a promise meant to be kept.
That promise is a reason to stay married; because here's the thing, you don't just jump off the airplane because you hit a patch of turbulence. No matter how hard that plane jumps or bumps you stay in your seat. You might get airsick and throw up a few times, you might feel like strapping on a parachute and jumping, but instead, you hold on tight and you get through it. Eventually, things smooth out and you sit back and relax, enjoying the amazing view of the sunrise from 30,000 feet up; a view that not everyone is blessed enough to see.
The other reason cited that got me on my soapbox was, "For the children." Read any studies lately? Divorce has lasting negative emotional effects. Life-long, folks. When I was young, my parents fought terribly. I would blast the radio, bury my head under a pillow and plead to God that they'd just get a divorce. But they didn't. And now that the kids are all grown and gone they have a beautiful, loving relationship. Any idea what lasting effect that had on me?
I learned to see things through even when they got uncomfortable. I learned about commitment. I learned that every storm has the potential for a rainbow at the end of it. I am grateful that my parents stayed together for their kids, out of fear, out of financial convenience and nearly, if not all, of the reasons cited in that article. Those reasons were merely phases and they got through them. Their relationship has had a hugely positive, lasting emotional effect on me and I will give that gift to my children.
Marriage is cyclic, like nature. There are ups, downs, good times, bad... sound familiar? Like your vows? There are very few real reasons (i.e. abusive situations) to divorce, but plenty of excuses. My husband and I aren't making any, even during those times when we don't like each other much. After one brush of considering the D-word, we don't allow it into our vocabulary. It isn't an option. For us, divorce doesn't exist.
My husband and I know, because we've been through a few rough patches already, that there's a better day around the corner. We love each other, we're committed to each other and our family and we believe in marriage as it is meant to be - for life. The trick is figuring out how to live it happily more often than not. We will. Will you?
Where do you stand on the marital soap box?
BTW - You can read her article here.
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