Two of my she-loves announced this month that they are ending their marriages. Liz Gilbert and Glennon Doyle are both divorcing their husbands after years of marriage. Elizabeth Gilbert, after 9 years and Glennon after who knows how long but long enough that it made me take pause. And by pause I mean say to myself "What the fuck? If these two evolved, soulful, wise, loving, please be my best friend women can't make it work- there's just no way I can".
I'm a product of divorce. But not really. My parents got divorced when I was in college so I feel like I can't really join the ranks of kids who had to really live through the upheaval of 2 houses, 2 parents who don't really like each other and 2 sets of toothbrushes. My husband is one of those ranks. His parents had a miserable marriage and a divorce that made everyone breathe a sigh of relief. Except they let the kids decide who got custody proving once again that kids shouldn't make enormous life decisions for themselves. 'Twas bad news. His experience has made him a rabid anti-divorcer. Like "till death to us part" is literal for him. No. Matter. What.
I, on the other hand, am divorce-curious. Something about the courage and the accomplishment of making ones life better by leaving their current situation is inspiring to me. I love upheaval and change. I love rebirth stories. I gravitate to people who have the balls to do right by themselves. Divorce warriors leave me wondering. What are we doing here and how do we stay in this and not drown in the monotony and the hard? And is that even the goal? What is happily married?
Chris Rock has the brilliant line that marriage is so hard Nelson Mendela endured 27 years of torture in prison and when he got out couldn't even last 6 months being married. There are times when marriage is torture. When you realize you'd rather share things with friends than with your spouse because you just want to be heard and not solved. Days when the sound of your spouses breathing makes you homicidal. When you feel that if you spend one more minute in this house with this person you can't be responsible for your actions. When you just don't like this person. Nobody talks about how that is a part of marriage. Staying in a house with someone you don't always like. Should you stay?
A friend of mine recently said to me people who say they've never thought about divorce aren't living in reality. They're living in a sit-com. If you have no friends who can talk openly of the times they've disliked their partner fiercely- you need new friends.
For me, there have been times where I've weighed my options. Single parenthood is so fucking hard though. So unbearably hard that I look at the single mamas and papas out there and salute you and wish there was a national holiday to celebrate you and your accomplishments. You deserve that.
Sometimes I think of being in my own house- or more likely a one bedroom apartment -and being in the silence of me. And it makes me wistful. Sometimes thinking about parenting 50 percent of the time sounds like the perfect way to do it. Like I'd be the BEST mother if I only had to do it Monday through Wednesdays. That's when divorce looks attractive.
Because marriage is hard and you're not always heard and you don't always connect and sometimes he's so annoying you want to stab him in the solar plexus- I fantasize about a rebirth.
For me, it's worth it to stay. I am lucky most of the time. For others it's not worth it. Love wins either way if you do it right. There can sometimes be rebirth within a marriage. That's when shit gets real and you dig deep and sometimes claw at the earth to stay alive. But sometimes you do all that soul-weary work and the upshot is that it's better for everyone to bow out. And then that's when shit gets real and you dig deep and sometimes claw at the earth to stay alive.
Divorce is hard. Marriage is hard. There's no escaping the hard. Anyone who tells you different is living in a sit-com.
To Elizabeth Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton- You've taught us so much about love and the hard. Wishing you both days with a little less clawing at the earth. You deserve it.