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Retrospective: Divorce is Too Easy

Posted Dec 29 2008 7:42pm

The one year anniversary of A Good Husband came and went without much fanfare (first post here ).  This has been a modest project by any measurement, but I am glad that it has been met with well wishes by so many of you.  For the next few days, until after the New Year, I want to share with you some of the best posts from the last year.

Divorce is Too Easy was a post that I wrote when I was feeling very passionate.  Many marriage advice forums around the internet are full of people who seem to think divorce is the right alternative far too often.  Marriage is sacred and should be treated as such.  Difficulties in marriage are opportunities for growth.  Here’s the post.

On a relationship forum that I participate in regularly, there seems to be a great deal of “divorce him” talk going on.

People visit these relationship forums because they are looking for advice and help. While I don’t expect online forums to deliver professional advice, I would expect people to give advice that isn’t damaging. People come to these forums and ask for help with difficult situations of all sorts. Many of them are beyond my scope to help with, but the people in these forums were quick to suggest divorce, among other options.

Divorce is an ugly thing. We all know that. The national divorce statistics hover (in many cases have dropped below) right around 40%. Divorce has some serious negative side effects for those involved including a lowered life expectancy for men, a lower financial standard of living for women (and their children by extension) caused by the gender gap in wages, and children suffer from a loss of interpersonal skills and a lack of correct interpersonal relationship modeling.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while there are afewgood reasons for divorce, like abuse or infidelity, suggesting divorce as an initial option is hardly conducive to helping. If there were ever a case for two people who could have felt justified in getting a divorce without using the excuse of abuse or infidelity, it was my wife and I.

Our first year was pretty darn rough. We both made pretty much every relationship mistake that you can make, plus we were really young, both in college, my wife was very sick, and we had no money.

We sought out advice. We were counseled to communicate better. We tried several different discussion formats. Some worked, some didn’t. I had to learn how to share my feelings. She had to learn that not every part of the relationship has to be perfect. We were told to lower our expectations. We were told “that’s just how it is” and that we’d better get used to it.

Despite all of the well meaning advice we were given, I know that the thing that kept us together and made us want to keep trying was not only did we love each other, but we recognized that marriage is a covenant. We had made a promise before God and each other that we would stay together forever. We endured a year of unhappiness, and a second year of uneasy discomfort, before we started to really figure marriage out.

Our marriage isn’t perfect now. We’ve been married about five and a half years and we still have the occasional disagreement. Feelings still get hurt, but we’ve figured out how to handle it. We could have gotten divorced but now we’re glad we didn’t. We both feel it was worth it to work through the hurt. Our greatest joy is each other, and I believe that it will stay that way for the rest of our lives because we are both willing to work at it rather than take the easy way out.

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