Monday, May 25, 2009

That ugly, vicious thing we call divorce

I don't get divorce.

Much of this is due to my parents, I'm sure. They were married my entire childhood, and still are. They've fought over money and they've dueled over how to raise the kids, but they've never parted ways. Sometimes my mom gets aggravated over my dad's sense of humor, and sometimes he zones her out, but here they are in their late 60s, and they're still together. They celebrated their 44th anniversary just this year.

And here I am in my late 30s, and it seems like one couple after another whom I've known is coming apart. They swore to be there for one another, never to part, and that foundation of love that they laid is splitting. My best friend and his wife married 17 years ago. They're separated. My other best friend and his wife married 12 years ago and divorced last year. And now another friend writes, after more than 20 years, "We're divorcing. He won't even consider reconclilation."


Divorce is an ugly, vicious thing. It takes lives that have grown together like flowers whose stems entwine one another so closely that you scarcely can tell where one begins and the other ends, and it tears them apart. Staying married isn't easy -- I doubt anyone alive can possibly begin to explain just how much work, hard work, marriage is, and how much it hurts sometimes -- but God knows it's worth it.  When my heart was torn from me and I dropped into the volcano, it was my wife who saved me. When her mother died and drought came to my wife's life, I was there for her.

Marriage hurts, but in the end, it makes me far stronger than anything else does. I've been short on hope, but I made it through because my wife was at my side. I've lost friends, but I survived because my wife stood by me. I've lost jobs and I've seen dreams die, but because my wife was with me, I came out on top. I lost a son and though it was like the sun was extinguised and all life had vanished from the world, I found the strength to keep moving -- because my wife gave it to me.

How on earth do couples who swore to love one another all their lives, until the bitter parting of death, give that up?

When my friends Myron and Jessica separated two years ago, I told a friend of mine about it. I wished I hadn't. Jon is in his late 20s, but when he heard that two people he had never met were divorcing, I saw the pain in his eyes. His parents had divorced when he was 9, and he's never forgotten.

I have no anger, no harsh words for people who divorce. I know that their pain is deep and beyond expression. All I have is grief that anyone should have to go through such an experience.

Copyright © 2009 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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