Monday, March 21, 2005

Nothing is Forever

When I was a kid, I always wanted a marriage like my parents. Well, not always. There was a time when I didn't think I wanted to get married. But once I did, I knew I wanted a marriage like the one I grew up with.

My parents spent a lot of time together. They seemed to genuinely like each other's company. I remember when I was in high school, we'd all be hanging around the house on a Saturday afternoon, and my mom would say that she was going to take a nap. She'd leave the room, and five minutes later would come back in and announce in a pointed way, "I'm going to take a nap." My dad would suddenly come to life, and say, "Oh, yeah, me too." A few hours later they'd emerge in bathrobes. As disturbing as that sounds, to think about my parents having sex, it was also refreshing to know that after 17 years of marriage that they were still into each other. (The scary thing is I also used to think it was cool that people as old as my parents still wanted to have sex ... now I realize they were the age I am right now!).

When I told my mom that I was separating from my first husband, she was very disappointed. Lecturing me on the sanctity of marriage and that I shouldn't give up just because it got hard. I had to tell her that while I had only been married for two years, we'd been trying to work on the relationship for nine years. Marriage had kind of been our last resort. I had finally realized that all the work in the world wouldn't save that marriage.

Now I'm with my current husband and realize what a good marriage is supposed to be. Sure we've had our rough times. We've encountered many of the top stressors in a marriage: buying a house, losing a job (actually two; we were laid off within a week of each other), having kids, etc. But the foundation of a great friendship, a strong attraction to each other, and a deep respect has helped us get through it.

And now that I finally have what I'd always wanted, a marriage like my parents, their marriage is coming to an end. After nearly 37 years of marriage, they are getting a divorce. Em said that it was scary to think that two people who loved each other so much could fall out of love. But it has happened. For the past few years, it's been tense every time they come to visit. They just seemed to not even want to be in the same room with each other. They don't hate each other; I think they've just become like roommates, who no longer want the same things.

I've already had a taste of what it will be like once the divorce is final. My mom came out by herself when little Dak was born to help out. My dad came out a month later for Christmas. There was definitely less tension when they were here separately.

I want them both to be happy. And while it's sad to think they won't be a couple anymore, I truly believe they'll both be better off this way. It will make things harder to have to plan visits to two different places (my mom is in Tennessee and my dad is in Florida), but I'm glad that they don't hate each other, and that if needed, they could be in the same room together. I hope they always remain friends, even if they can't remain husband and wife.