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Mr Nu Bride and I recently celebrated our second year of marriage and always use it as an opportunity to reflect on our year and to also to remember our wedding day and the vows we took.
We’ve also been reflecting on how our own relationship works after two close friends, not that far ahead of us in the newlywed game, are getting a divorce.
We were shocked and absolutely devastated that their marriage did not survive.
After-all marriage is forever isn’t it?
Divorce is the last word a newly engaged couple or newlywed want to hear, but I think it’s important for me to address it (it’s ok, it’s not contagious) and this little expectation of ‘happily ever after’ that we place on marriage.
Some people will tell you divorce is giving up, laziness, inability to cope. And I’m sure sometimes it is.
Do we really think that everything will always be joyful, rosy, without challenge until death do us part. Do we set ourselves unrealistic ideals about what marriage is or should be?
These thought provoking images of Disney’s Fallen Princesses, really got me thinking; life happens and as we all know, the challenges and complexities life throws at us outside of our bubble of married bliss, will absolutely test all of us.
Although what I have been clinging onto is a report from the Office of National Statistics reports that over 50% of divorces occur within the first 10 years of marriage. Ouch.
Our friends recent break-up came as a shock to all of us. We always saw a group of us growing old together, sharing dinner parties, marriage tales and woes along the way. It really stopped me in my tracks and started to make me think about my own marriage. Could this happen to us? When I said ’till death us do part’, I meant it. So my initial thought was why do some couples give up on each other ‘so easily’? Swiftly followed by, oh no! whose side do we take?
I asked some Nu Bride readers to open up the debate and share their views, experiences and assumptions on divorce and marriage. I received some brilliant and eclectic responses:
I believe that some people don’t take marriage seriously enough, and see it as something they can try, and if it doesn’t work out, just cancel the whole thing. I also feel that some people get married for the wrong reasons (e.g. kids, comfort…) and when the revelation strikes, they then get divorced.
Another reader comments:
We’re raised to believe that the foundations of marriage should be and are forever. But it made me think in the 21st century have our ideals around marriage changed, do people really see marriage as ‘for now’ or are we outdated with our ’till death do us part’ beliefs.
And what happens if you divorce, what assumptions do family and society place on our ability to be ‘successful’ husband’s or wives?
I was 28 and divorced. It’s not a great feeling or a great look! Probably the reason I’ll be single forever!
Without going into my personal circumstances too much I would just like to say that the ‘D’ word was not something I ever thought in a million years would happen to me. I must admit that at the time I got married I thought divorce was something that stupid, non-committed, lazy, unfaithful, people did. For us, nothing just suddenly ‘went wrong’ but a lot of major changes occurred in our lives early on in our marriage.
It is a sad subject but my belief today is that no matter how sure and strong a couple is, life’s opportunities, unforeseen obstacles, complications and struggles can put a dreadful strain on a marriage that if not worked out can leave the individuals feeling very lonely, miserable and intimately dead.
So are we being raised in a society that is more fluid and flippant on how they view relationships?An article in The Telegraph last year stated that marriage in Britain had been stronger than ever before. So personally, as a society I don’t think we are becoming flippant, but perhaps belief systems are definitely changing.
The institution of marriage has been created by civilized society, and encompasses a set of civilized rules that go against human nature. For example, I don’t believe that monogamy is the most natural sexual patterns of human beings. Of course, we are “evolved” and so should be able to follow the rules. However, our generation is used to being able to I things like get a divorce without much (if any) embarrassment. Unlike our parents, we are not brought up to value the commitment of marriage.
Is this person suggesting that we are now all uncivilised neanderthals? lol Others asked why marriage was even still necessary….stating there is no shame in a stable long-term partnership that it is perfectly acceptable in our modern-day, western society. We choose to get married, but we don’t ‘need’ to.
I’m 31 next month and it’s the month I’m expecting to be granted my Decree Nisi. I didn’t ever want to get married and never fantasized about it as most of my friends did. My parents divorced when I was nine and my Mum divorced again when I was fourteen, so I never thought of marriage as particularly stable or desirable. So no-one was more surprised than me when I found I enjoyed being married. I loved the security, being part of a team something stronger and more important than myself.
What about domestic abuse?
My Mum is now married for the third time. She’s the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever known her. I’m thrilled for her that she didn’t stay in her miserable first marriage to my father, or her abusive second marriage to my stepfather and has finally having the sort of marriage that I aspire to
What about perception?
My family and friends were tremendously supportive and never judged or pushed me into making a decision on it. Although interesting they all knew it was going very wrong long before I did apparently!
I don’t personally think being married then divorced, then married again (or not) is a negative thing, if the 2 people involved come to mutual agreements and are cooperative with each other. It’s when kids are involved that it can be sadder, but even then, if the family unit can somehow remain intact, just in a different context, then divorce is not so sad. Obviously I’m saying this as someone who has never been married or divorced, so it’s a naive viewpoint. But, it is also naive to believe that the end of a marriage is disastrous. Life is fluid and changes. Divorce may just be part of someone’s path, like rejection, unfulfilled goals, etc.
Yes this little ‘ D’ word throws most of us in newlywed bliss into a state of anxiety, sure, it’s a huge topic, it can make you feel a little nervous, but it is healthy to talk about it.
This reader sums this post up perfectly for me.
What we have to remember is, people are constantly growing and changing. When I first met my husband I was a free spirit! I had just traveled all over the world! I was spontaneous and often careless to tomorrow’s worries. There is something about finding the one that changes you. My husband and I have had a hard, hard marriage. Married 10 years, separated 5 throughout.
I am not the same person my husband married 10 years ago.
My husband is not the man I married.
Today, I am thankful for that! We have had to grow apart to be able to grow together again. The point being. Some people just aren’t supposed to grow back together. My family is strict catholic and has had 2 divorces ever. The way I see it is, when we are forced to be apart (by choice or not) the intent is to learn to fall in love again, over and over. This is how love stays hopeful. This is how we respect each other.
Marriage is a commitment and when you are constantly changing there is no need for another relationship (whether it be physical or emotional) with a different significant. You should be challenging yourself to find out what has changed what ‘Needs’ to change and how you can do it together.
Maybe you can’t, maybe you can.
Love is not a fairy tale. Love is hard. But to not try would be abandonment of what we as humans long for. Love makes our souls reach a level of peace even if the world is torn apart
The one thing Mr Nu Bride and I have always promised, is to dedicate time to each other, to enjoy learning new things about each other and to always be honest and communicate with one another, even if what we have to say or what we are feeling might be painful to hear.
Solid relationships are an investment, they take time, sometimes blood, sweat and tears, understanding, patience, and flexibility! As my lovely reader above says about abandonment, never- ever give up on each other unless you have tried every single avenue possible to put things right.
What have I learned? We place huge assumptions that divorce is failure or divorce is wrong. None of us know what goes on behind closed doors in any relationships and though it’s healthy to have an opinion, judgements are unhelpful. Divorce happens. And I cannot write a wedding blog without talking about it. For some, although painful might be the right decision. Of course it is sad, it is not what any of us aspire to, but what I learned by reaching out to others, it is not the end, it is also seen as a chance for new beginnings.
What do you think? Have you placed assumptions on marriage and/or divorce? Is it a dirty contagious word? Have you experienced divorce as a child or young adult – does it change your perception of marriage?
Images courtesy of Verity Quirk Photography
Header image: Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash