I love the tagline of this week’s featured blog: A playground for my thoughts. Perfect description of what a blog should be. Please welcome Jocelyn, aka ScooterMarie as she shares how watching her parents’ marriage fall apart taught her what she should do in her own marriage.
“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…”
What? You’ve never seen Princess Bride? Well ok, that right there is a problem in and of itself, and I suggest you go watch it immediately. Or right after you read my post. Whichever.
But for those of you in the know, that is, of course, the start of the classic scene when Prince Humperdink is trying to get The Impressive (yet slow-talking) Clergyman to marry him and Princess Buttercup before her beloved Westley swoops in to rescue her. In my humble opinion, it is one of the greatest movies ever.
That’s a loaded word, isn’t it? Life-long commitment. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. For better or worse.
Unfortunately, that “worse” part is often too much for a lot of people to handle. Know anyone who’s been divorced? I thought so. So do I.
It happened my senior year of college. Well actually, they separated that year. I don’t think the divorce was final until about a year later. But either way, I was grown.
Fortunately there was never any violence or adultery involved, just a lot of arguing and feelings of unhappiness. So I guess in that sense we were lucky? Hmm.
No, they just couldn’t be together anymore. You see, my dad is an alcoholic. And for the 25 years my parents were married, he was in a career which he loathed. Combine the two, and it is not a recipe for successfully creating a stable environment for your family.
And finally, my mom couldn’t take that anymore. The stress of constantly worrying. Is he going to be home on time tonight? Is he going to make it home in one piece tonight? Are we going to pay these bills this month? Are the creditors going to keep calling? Are we going to be ok?
Can’t really say I blame her.
Were they still in love? I don’t know. Were they ever in love? I’m honestly not sure. As awful as it sounds, I never heard them tell each other “I love you”.
This may sound strange, but when my sisters and I found out they were separating (which i just assumed would eventually lead to divorce), I wasn’t one bit surprised. Ever since I was little, in the back of my mind I had always figured that one day my parents would get divorced.
Say what?? Seriously? How could you be so heartless?
Hang tight, just hear me out.
Like I said, I never heard my parents tell each other they loved the other. In fact, there wasn’t a whole lot of good communication period.
If my dad came home drunk, there was no talking between them; just a tension that turned my stomach into knots. If he came home sober, the chances for conversation were better, but there was always just kind of an underlying sense of unease.
And I hated that.
I just wanted them to be happy together. The few glimpses we caught of that here and there were so excellent and made my heart swell so much, that I always wanted to bottle them up by the gallon so I could dump them out on the whole family and make things all better on those days when you couldn’t find the love.
But I couldn’t.
And I knew that couldn’t last forever. I knew they didn’t want to fight forever. I knew they didn’t want to feel resentful forever. I knew they loved me and my sisters dearly and that anything that happened between them had nothing to do with us.
Maybe they stayed married for 2 and a half decades because they wanted to keep our family together as long as possible. Maybe they lasted that long because they didn’t truly believe they’d ever divorce. Maybe they lasted that long because they just didn’t know what else to do.
They tried to reconcile during the separation, but my dad’s drinking got in the way of that too.
Either way, the answer finally came, and it sucked.
Plain and simple, divorce sucks.
Who wants their family shattered? Nobody.
My middle sister and I were in college when it happened, so we were pretty well out of the house and rather unscathed by the aftermath, if you will. My youngest sister was in grade school when they separated and unfortunately bore the brunt of the transition, since she was the only one still living at home.
And I will always be sorry for that. Sorry that she had to endure the destruction of our family by herself. Sorry that I wasn’t there to help her through it. Sorry that I was too selfish to even bother asking how she was doing through all of it. Sorry that it happened, period.
But it did happen.
The years that followed saw my dad spiral down into his alcohol and gambling addictions and eventually spend a little over 3 years in prison (yeah, another long story). Fortunately he has been out for over 2 years now, has a good and steady job, and is engaged to an absolutely lovely woman who won’t take any of his crap.
My mom eventually left our hometown, married a wonderful man, and is happier than I’ve ever seen her.
And my sisters and I are fine. My youngest sister does still harbor a lot of resentment and hostility from that time, but I think she’s slowly learning how to leave the past in the past and move on, too.
Me personally? you ask.
I’m good. Like I said, I kind of always saw that day coming, for as long as I can remember. How? No clue. Maybe I was clairvoyant? Damn, then I totally missed the Miss Cleo psychic network gravy train!
But something most excellent has come from watching my parents’ marriage crumble, oddly enough. I know now exactly what not to do in my own marriage. That may sound utterly ridiculous, but knowing what doesn’t work is a huge advantage.
And I have to say, so far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job.
Sure I’ve had some less-than-stellar episodes here and there, but R is my absolute best friend in the world. I tell him I love him all the time. We have loads of fun together, and the memories we’ve created to this point are I know just a fraction of what life has in store for us.
Us and our mawage.