Are we all as deeply saddened by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s divorce as I am?!
Ok. Truth be told I’m deeply saddened by any divorce. I hate divorce. I hate what it does to people, what it turns them into. It makes people selfish, entitled, judgmental, downright MEAN. It made me weak, pathetic, so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt like my ex-husband and I had a TOTAL handle on what divorce would be like, and we didn’t. I had no idea how awful it would be. It’s still awful, quite frankly. I still hate it. When I think about it for more than a few minutes, I feel like I’m back in bed on a sunny morning praying that no one would ever find me.
I’ll learn from that experience forever.
Divorce taught me the most about relationships. Bear and I have both been married once before, we both have boys, and neither of us want to get divorced again. On a certain level…we both get it. At least we get it in a way that we didn’t the first time around. We get that a wedding is adorable and expensive and basically a big fun party for other people. We get that loving each other is not enough. We get that passion doesn’t just sustain itself. And we get that the growing, the working, the whole HUMBLING experience that IS partnership and marriage isn’t meant to be fun all the time anymore than your job, being a parent, or eating your favorite food isn’t fun ALL THE TIME. But as we quit our jobs, watch our children eventually grow up and move out, and choose a different food, we stay married. Forever. That’s the idea.
Why isn’t every newly-engaged person being asked to consider eating the same breakfast every day in the rest of their lives?? WOULDN’T THAT HELP?
Bear and I get that we will NOT like each other every day.
We also get that there are days we love each other so much that it is physically PAINFUL.
We get that it is his job to take out the trash but that I am here in this relationship to love and serve him, and so if I know it will make his life easier, I take it out. I don’t keep score after that, either. I just do it.
We get that we have different styles of parenting, budgeting, and decorating. We get that compromise is a long, tedious process. We also get that it’s sometimes just easier to give up the thing we want SO much just so we don’t have to deal with the big, long Compromise Conversation. (We also often get that we didn’t care near as much as we thought we did…)
We get that we don’t get each other sometimes. He has NO idea why I just want him to sit and listen to me cry and do NOTHING to help me. And I don’t get why traffic makes him so cotton-picking angry.
We get that we will both change and grow into new, sometimes altogether different people. And that when we decided to commit to each other, we committed to all of those people, too.
I knew none of this when I got married the first time. I’m sure people told me. I’m sure someone said, “It’s not a fairy tale blah blah blah.” But it’s nearly impossible to hear that when you’re wedding dress shopping and choosing brides maids and cake-testing. I almost think we should be REQUIRED to be married for 5 years before we get a wedding.
AND THEN when we DO get the wedding, we should be required to pay for it ourselves. Because how badly are we setting newlyweds up by paying for their LAVISH weddings and then SHOWERING them with money and gifts and then sending them off into the shocking real world of, “No one cares.”
HELLO? GIFT THEM A BUDGETING CLASS.
The wedding will be a practice in working together to invite ONLY THE PEOPLE THE COUPLE WANTS. As a team, as partners, they decide who they want celebrating with them because they’re going to create a brand new boundary…THEIR OWN.
Oh, and the colors? The flowers? The dresses? Also decisions they must make together. Because if you think choosing guest lists and hors d’oeuvres together is difficult, try choosing a parenting style.
Here’s my point: it’s a set up. Marriage is a set up. It is both the greatest and HARDEST thing you’ll ever do. And I know because I did it once and we screwed it up.
I have no idea if Jennifer and Ben tried super hard to save their marriage or if they knew all these things before they got marriage. I’ll bet that it’s just the most awful thing either of them have ever been through, though, and I’m just so sorry they have to experience it. I do kind of appreciate what their tarnished little “fairy tale” highlights for everyone else: marriage ain’t a fairy tale. And as I go into this next phase of my life, I do so blessed and humbled that I am so loved and cherished by the hardest working man I’ve ever met…and I also do so blessed with the experiences God gave me that I pray have enhanced my wisdom and understanding of what marriage truly is.