Thursday, September 06, 2007

Marriage? A Life Sentence?

Today I went on a walk with my friend Laura, a mother and grandmother, married for over 40 years. Laura is modern, with it, and energetic. She and I may be a decade or more apart in age, yet I find our feelings on many things a good fit. Thus a nice friendship.
So on this walk we are catching up, as I have been logging over 8000 miles on my recent trip with Laurence. Now I need to reconnect with my community here. So Laura and I walk along the road to a local breakfast place, and talk of all matters on our minds and hearts.

Sometimes I expect that couples who have caring, respectful marriages that are 40 years long and still going strong have a negative reaction to those of us who are divorced. Sort of the idea of "If I can do it , then you can too." One of Laura's daughter's is divorced from their grandchild's father. I asked about that. Laura's comment was "marriage should not be a life sentence. No one should stay in a marriage just to stay in. It shouldn't be awful. And if it is, get out."

My own parents were divorced a few months after my birth. My mother did not remarry. I never saw a couple together close-up, yet I figured, and the statistics say, if your parents stayed together you have a better chance of it. Yet I think those stats must be skewed or creative statistic reading. I see no evidence that if your parents stayed together, that your marriage will stay together. Or vice versa. And what about when one partner is from divorced parents and the other from lifetime marrieds?

I guess what comes up is a quality of life issue within the marriage. One definition of a successful marriage for me would be when a couple have shared a life time together, and enjoyed themselves the majority of the time. It is not successful if a couple spend their life together and it feels like a life sentence.