It's difficult to believe that it's been over a decade since my twenty- three year marriage ended. I hadn't really thought much about it for quite some time, but the recent survey that states marriages are in decline reminded me of those last few stressful years before I waved the white flag and called it quits. I didn't like the message I was sending to my children in the decision I made. I felt like I was telling them that commitment meant very little to me and nothing is forever. And I didn't want my experience to keep them from falling in love in the future. Yet, getting out of a bad marriage overrode those concerns.
I was young when I married, but no less sincere in my intentions. Both his and my parents stayed married till death did they part so I believed it would be the same for us. Over time, though, it became apparent that was not to be. Where was that young man -- that very young man--who traveled close to 400 miles every weekend to see me? Where was that young woman--that very young woman -- who once had no idea how she'd ever get by without him? It's difficult to say exactly when, but the hope I had for racking up one anniversary after the next till we were silver-haired, wrinkled and hunched over was lost in the reality of what time can do to young, hopeful love. But I'm apparently not alone, since divorce is becoming more common than those 'til-death-do-us-part vows. There are many reasons for this development; we are living longer and most women do not need to be supported by a man or feel obligated to create a family.
Yet, there are those who are still grasping onto the same ambition I once had and willing to take that optimistic stroll down the aisle. Apparently, the high divorce rates haven't frightened them from wanting to make the marital commitment. For instance, in spite of Prince William's parents' bitter break-up played out ubiquitously in the media, he has plans to marry. And, as it happens, my daughter recently became engaged and I couldn't be happier for her and her fiancé. I'm also grateful that even after witnessing the drama her father and I went through when we divorced, my daughter still believes in the institution. I suppose that is what love can do and instead of considering marriage to be a burden, no matter the challenges or issues, it is an expression of optimism.
For me, though, I think I'll remain single.