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November 20, 2010

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I hope all of us here hate divorce. So I’m not going to say something blatantly obvious like, “I hate divorce.”

We’re all on the same page, right?

Moving on. I never like seeing people around me getting divorced for any reason. However, by the time it gets to that point, it’s often “time,” in an unfortunately real way. By the time you’re in that position, there’s very little anyone can do to “save” the marriage, because they haven’t put time and care and attention into it for a long time.

I’m a firm believer that when two people get divorced, it’s most likely because one or both people failed to put the marriage first. Boil down the most complicated divorces, and that’s often at the root of it all.

Many of the divorces that have happened around me have very complex issues (addiction, for one). About a year ago, Isaiah’s parents decided to get divorced. It was the strangest thing. After being together 27 years, they couldn’t stand to be around each other any more. It blew my mind. A divorce that didn’t involve addiction or abuse was something I had never experienced. To me, they were getting divorced for “no reason.”

Isaiah’s mom explained something to me that I had never seen…but lately, have seen more and more. It’s the idea that people have the capability to turn each other into monsters. In Isaiah’s parents’ case, one of them has a tendency to be pushier and the other has a tendency to be lazier. The lazier one is, the pushier the other gets. The cycle continues until you hear yourself say something out loud that makes you sick.

People can become entirely different people in the wrong marriage.

Someone who loves to have fun and be laid-back that has to push and push another person to get something done ends up giving away tiny pieces of themselves and is forced into a position they don’t want to be in.

Anyways, this is all just background to tell you this.

Isaiah and I decide on a daily basis to talk, to improve and to be conscious of our relationship. This isn’t as dull or draining as it sounds. Sometimes it’s less deliberate than others and comes up if one of us is feeling pressured to change in a negative way. Others it’s in conversations about the future and who we want to be. The point of it all, if I haven’t lost you already, is to keep in mind the dangers of being complacent in a relationship.

Even just knowing that those things are out there is enough, sometimes, to keep you from falling into common potholes. Although there’s no guaranteed way to “beat” divorce, in my opinion, all you can do is be sure to know the person you’re marrying as well as we can, be deliberate in our relationships so their pitfalls don’t sneak up below us and be thoughtful of the other person’s needs and goals.

The waters are rough out there…but we can do plenty of things to be prepared to face them.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Jolynn permalink
    November 20, 2010 11:39 am

    Amen, sister. If you ever want to talk more about it, email me. But essentially, yes. And this awareness and examination is why your “young” marriage doesn’t worry me.

    • November 20, 2010 7:54 pm

      aww you’re so sweet! thanks, jo…we definitely try to be active and what not..and when we’re not, it shows…we both feel like we’re “missing something.” you know?

  2. November 20, 2010 3:36 pm

    I completely agree with Isiah’s mom. Being in the wrong marriage eats away at your soul and your personality. I am (and was) an entirely different person around my ex than I am in my home and relationships now.

    You are wise to work now to prevent these sorts of issues from causing problems later.

    • November 20, 2010 7:56 pm

      thanks, sarah…i see this in my mom too…even though her divorce from my dad was mainly based on his addiction, he definitely turned her into someone else…more closed took years to get her back, you know?

  3. November 21, 2010 2:37 pm

    What wonderful insight-since John is a musician (we both are, really, but I have the day job), I’ll sometimes find him staring at the same piece of music for hours. I would usually push, but lately I’ve been stepping a little more delicately, and I’ve found it motivates him so much better and I don’t feel like his overbearing parent-person! Horray for working at-it’s really what it takes!

  4. November 21, 2010 6:52 pm

    What an insightful post. I always ponder about divorce to especially the ones that are after 20 + years. Usually when I hear about my friends’ parents getting divorced now I get nervous. Divorce is everywhere! The divorce I am around has nothing to do with addictions or abuse..but boredom or the becoming monsters like you said.

    I feel like we can talk about our needs and wants in a relationship all the time, but what happens when they become different?

  5. November 22, 2010 7:53 am

    ah, divorce. it always sneaks up on you at the holidays too (both em and Ry’s parents are divorced so our plans quadruple at this time of year). Looking back, I watched both my parents become totally different people to the point where it is hard picturing how they made any sense together. I think our parents make me and Ry very conscious about divorce. I need to be more conscious about things. I really try to make sure I tell Ryan how much I love and appreciate him and really thank him when he does awesome stuff like buy me cds I talk about and rake the leaves in our yard. thanks for this great post

  6. November 22, 2010 9:49 am


    Great post! I admire that you often tackle the hardship of divorce on your blog, because as the rate continues to rise, it’s something that terrifies me. Michael and I actually did pre-marital counseling ( in an attempt to be proactive about any problems that might arise in the future, and it really helped us to be open and honest with each other about things that bother us. I think the key to a good marraige is good communication. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know about it, right? I always knew a life-long marraige wouldn’t be easy and will always take work, but hopefully we’re all prepared to make it last!

    • November 23, 2010 9:42 am

      definitely…premarital counseling is a must for us, we’ve talked about that, for sure. thanks for the link, i read your post and it’s a great list!

  7. November 22, 2010 10:12 pm

    it’s scary stuff.

    it’s so reassuring, though, to set standards for ourselves so we don’t start slip, slip slipping into bad habits and painful words. and so awesome that you guys do that.

    • November 23, 2010 9:40 am

      For sure…I agree, divorce is such a slip. I watched these couples start slipping a while ago in failed apologies “I’m sorry, but..” and what not…

  8. November 29, 2010 1:46 pm

    Lizzie, this is an absolutely amazing post.

    I’ve never heard the monster analogy before, but I can see how easy it would be to fall into a cycle like that! Effective communication is SO important in relationships and it’s something that people take for granted. The gears in my head start turning every time I see an older couple at a restaurant (or anywhere else, for that matter) sitting in dead silence the entire time. It makes me wonder: “Are they just quiet, or do they resent each other?” or “Why aren’t they speaking?” Of course I never come up with the correct answer, but it makes me that much more grateful for the relationship I have. We make a point to speak every day and get our grievances out before they even have the chance to get the best of us – and I couldn’t be happier about that!

    On a lighter note, I totally had one of those “My Pet Monsters” that you show in the heading picture! In fact, I think I still have him somewhere… 🙂

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