“Marriage is NOT hard. Life is hard.
LIFE is SO fricken hard. Life is an awful, awful mess, and no one even gets out of it alive. We are all born, we die, and in between, we blunder around hurting each other.
I want to tell young people this: Marriage, if you do it right, if you decide you are a team, if you stand back to back, swords out, is one of the things that make life—which is so awfully, awfully hard—a little softer.”
She’s absolutely right.
I want to expand on that.
Marriage may not be hard, but it does take responsibility. We’ve forgotten to know what it means to be responsible for our actions. When I was going through a divorce in 2008, I said to my then husband, “We know what our problems are. We made a commitment to each other. Why can’t we work harder to fix this?” His reply was, “You bring out the worst in me.” We talked for a while longer and he came to the conclusion that we’d end up in the same cycle of trying to change, actually keep it up for a few months, then fall back again. He said it was too much work.
We live in a world where lack of personal responsibility runs rampant. Criminals use the defense of being a “product of my environment” to justify their actions. We, the jury of peers, allow it. Our political campaigns are nothing but attacks and exalting how the other one did wrongly by you. Social programs are on the line because recipients are believed to be lazy and their lack of employment has nothing to do with the economic situation we created. We live in a disposable society; if you don’t like something , tire of it, think something else is better for you, it—whatever “it” may be, can be tossed, recycled, abandoned without much thought.
I don’t advocate staying in an unhealthy marriage. You can be as responsible as you are able, but it does take two. I wasn’t blameless for our divorce. Anyone who thinks they are really needs to re-evaluate what happened (with the exception of an abusive situation). My ex-husband’s stance was he wasn’t willing to take the responsibility of working out our issues. I was. Doing it alone wasn’t going to help us stay married.
I am advocating some serious soul searching. We can only make our decisions based on the information available at the time. Some of you may object to my previous statement regarding criminals. I believe that a person has to be exposed to another way of life in order to see their environment isn’t healthy. But we need to seek the information and not take the easy way out of “it’s not my fault”.
I’ve recently remarried. I believe I’m wiser than I was when I was 20, caught up in the sparkly ring and prospect of an escape from home. At 38, I’ve done more growing in the past four years than I had in the previous 34. In our vows, we promised to listen to what each other says, along with recognizing non-verbal clues to what we don’t, to hear our own words before saying them, to let each other stand on our own, help each other if we start to fall, and not take each other for granted.
That takes a lot of responsibility.
And, yes, always have cake.