I wanted to cuss. But I didn't. Dang it.
I'm reading through some blogs this morning, seeing what I've missed in the lives of friends, and following through some links and comments and stuff. I came across the blog of someone going through some really troubling marriage troubles. At the same time, my wife told me of a high school friend who's also having issues with her marriage. In the case of the blog, it wouldn't surprise me to see that it's a fictional account of something done for the drama of a writing exercise - but it also wouldn't surprise me to be real. As for my friend, I know they're real, and that real people have real issues and real problems and real frustrations. I know it takes work to be married, to stay married, to love the one you've vowed your life to, to be lovable, to be the person you're expected to be and to be forgiving and forgiven when expectations go unmet.
I know I don't live up to those expectations all the time - just ask around. But I try, we try - because it's worth it to love and honor in the midst of the ups and the downs. Stories like this make me want to hug my wife, to ask if there's anything I can improve on, to see if I've left anything out. I hope I won't take any of this for granted, and that I remember it's us together, not us separately, working through the big times and the junk.
Art Linkletter is celebrating 70 years of marriage. He's 93 yrs old, been around a little longer than most of us. But I think he'd say that if they can do it, anyone can. I'm not so pollyanna-ish to think that all marriages should and will be able to work out, but that at least should be the goal when things start out. I don't know - better pre-marital counseling to "count the cost" before making the commitment? better counsel from friends and family, passing along images of parents loving each other and staying together to the next generations? Getting the couple to start talking, start forgiving, realize what they've signed on for and where they can go if they try?
Abuse is terrible. Adultery is terrible. But "irreconcilable differences" is just an excuse. "I don't love her anymore" is an excuse and a license to drop your pants on a new bedroom floor. "He just doesn't understand me" usually means you've found someone who does while you were looking for "understanding" in the wrong places. You put too much of a burden on your significant other, and when they don't measure up, you quit. Justification is as easy as it was on the playground in kindergarden: "you're not my friend anymore."