Just read this on Grerp’s site and it really had my head turning. I had always known that divorce was hard on kids and family, but it had never been put in a way like this to me before. It had me thinking about my own past in terms of my childhood, my marriage and a philosophy that my old supervisor in my fulltime job had unknowingly instilled in me.
Eleven years ago my supervisor, Jeff, was telling me about radiation and how something so misunderstood could be used to benefit people. When I asked him about why they where using radiation in Thyroid Therapies he had told me about the risks vs. rewards in this case. Sure, dumping a large amount of Iodine-131 into a person’s body isn’t the sanest thing in the world, but when someone has Thyroid Cancer, the Iodine risk is deemed worth it to eliminate it. It’s a lesser of two evils sort of thing and I never forgot that advice. It made me consider the risks and rewards of various situations, which are available in this life, which must be, weighted as the circumstances merits it.
What does all of this have to do with Grerp and the 4th turning, just this, that at an earlier time in my life, I was looking to make the big leap to end my marriage as well.
I don’t like discussing the particulars, as my wife isn’t online to defend herself from anything I may say. Let’s just say that after 5 years together and one more being married; she was happier than a pig in poo while I was miserable and even my wife would agree with this statement. In 2008, we had just finished counseling which was informative to say the least and did give some hope as we went forward, but I still had my misgivings. I was deathly afraid that the issues which I had with our marriage wouldn’t be addressed and I would always get the short end of the stick for the remainder of my life. It seemed my wife and her kids would benefit from my remaining in this situation but apparently at my expense. I even posted my situation on a message board I used to partake in so I could get fresh eyes on my situation, I was afraid that my perception would be marred by my personal bias and a choice this serious needed to be done in the most sober mindset possible.
So why didn’t I leave, why did I stay and tough it out?
Well, one very large reason was that I wasn’t sure I would be able to find a ‘better deal’ out there. I had read many a story of men and women ‘trading up’ only to find that their ‘one and only’ existed solely in their imaginations, and worse yet, that their previous beloveds where actually their real partners for life. I didn’t want to leave the frying pan and enter into the fire and when we are dealing with life choices, we have to understand one major thing. That there are no mulligans, no do-overs, we have one shot and we have to make it a good one. Life doesn’t follow our favorite fictional stories and I didn’t want to end up like some of those sad tales of woe who divorced too fast without thinking. My wife was willing to work on our issues, at the time it seemed that we just wouldn’t be able to get a breakthrough, yet was I willing to leave someone who was willing to put the effort in and try again?
The overarching reason however, was this; that even though my step kids aren’t biologically mine, I would be changing their worlds in one of the most drastic ways possible. They had no say in my choice, no voice, no option and yet their lives, their whole worlds would change in every possible way imaginable if I decided that I was going to leave and start my life anew. How would this affect them and their futures? What sort of lessons would this teach them as they continued on with their lives? Years ago when I was on a cheating website (not the issues my wife and I had, I was there for reasons relating to my parent's past), I ran into a Feminist who called herself Ironyrulz. She had said something that I will never forget about children and their parents. She had said that us parents are our children’s Gods.
Yes, you read that right. No offense to the big guy upstairs though.
That the world could be falling apart around them and so long as Daddy and Mommy are okay, then they are all right. However, the reverse of this is also true; that the world could be just fine, and if Mommy and Daddy are waging war, then they are suffering the worst for it.
Did this mean that I resigned myself to staying no matter how miserable I was?
No, and I don’t advocate that attitude of staying for the kids no matter what (although Grerp does make some very good points about staying on her blog). No, I decided that if I were going to leave, it would be on MY terms. That I would have to leave these kids with a clean conscience, and to do that I would have to know that I exhausted every possible chance to fix our marriage and that leaving was the ONLY choice which made sense. This is where Jeff’s example comes into play, that leaving my family would only make sense if by staying, the situation would become definitely worse for everyone involved.
I decided that I would talk with my wife about my concerns and try again, I couldn’t leave thinking that there was a chance that I didn’t take or a solution that I didn’t try. I believe in Karma, and I didn’t want the Karma of leaving children to a broken home and a wife who was willing but maybe needed a little more time on my conscience. So, Mrs. Omni and I open some more dialogue and guess what happened? Things are better than ever and improving all the time. We have our ups and downs, and I don’t want you to think that I’m Super-Step or Heroic Hubby, not at all. Just a regular guy doing the best he can with what he knows and trying to learn more as time goes on.
What I think Grerp explains thoroughly is the lack of effort made by both men and women (more women though, Eat Pray Love anyone?) in this day and age. That ‘happiness’ trumps everything and that marriage is supposed to resemble fiction, always sunny with no clouds or bumps in the road to make us grumble at any time. This is simply unrealistic, and I think causes much more damage to the institution as a whole and therefore society as well. My sister had said one thing once, which really had me thinking years ago before I even met my wife. She said “Too may people are looking at marriage as something they can take from as opposed to something they should put into.”
Wise words, which I wish more people in this day and age, saw the merit in.
Am I saying that people should be hooked up in a miserable marriage like oxen yoked to a cart. I must say that I disagree with that, but I will also say that if things are indeed miserable, before divorce is chosen, are the people involved willing to do EVERYTHING possible to fix the situation? And even before getting married, are the two people involved fully understanding the situation they are entering? I’m willing to bet that if more people where willing to explore every possible opportunity before pushing the red button that the amount of divorces we see in society would decrease.