Welcome back from the Holidays … I’m slowly getting back into our routine and have so enjoyed these last few weeks. My kids go back to school tomorrow so I guess the reality will hit then. I do have say though, I love it when school starts again midweek – you just have to go a few days before there’s a weekend to recharge.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Megan who has been divorced now for just six months. Megan got married when she was twenty-two and expecting her second child. Her first child is from a previous relationship. Although Megan and her husband also had a second child together she says they both believe now that tying the knot because of the baby was a mistake. Here’s Megan:
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease over 3 years ago and I got pregnant with our second child just as the diagnosis of me having Crohn’s came out. I said,
“Oh, we’re pregnant!” and he said,
“What the hell is wrong with you?” and he left.
I thought “I’m your wife.” And I that point, I thought, “this was never the right decision” but I stayed for another almost 3 years.
Then eighteen months ago, I went to California to see my grandmother who’s about ninety, just to clear my mind. My grandmother who I’ve always loved, looked at me and said,
“I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but you’re not happy and you deserve to be happy, no matter what anybody thinks of you and no matter what you have to give up. You’re in your twenties and you deserve it.”
I had never spoken to my mom or my friends about my marriage failing because my husband was pushing this Christian life on us that I don’t believe in and I had thought I was just going to stick it out for my kids because it’s the right thing to do. But when she said that to me, I finally gave myself permission to say,
“It looks nice from the outside but I’m not happy, my kids aren’t happy, my life is falling apart. ”
When I got back from that trip, it all unraveled so quickly. Two months later, he came home early from work, which shocked me and said, “You just don’t even want to be here anymore, do you?” and at that point, I just said the truth.
“I really don’t,” I said.
He suggested we go to marriage counseling but I told him that I hadn’t wanted to get married in the first place. He said “OK” and he packed up and left.
He’s Christian and I came from an atheist family and when we separated, he went to some pastoral staff at the church who in turn, called me and told me what a rotten person I was and I’m going to starve my children and I need to go to counseling and save my marriage. And I said “I don’t believe that. I believe that two happy parents apart are better than two miserable people together” and he asked “Can’t you remember a time when you fell in love and you were happy and you were in love with that person?”
I said, “No, I can’t. I honestly can’t.”
Our relationship began with a whirlwind of emotions and then I got pregnant, but that’s why I stayed. And because of the financial stability, not because I could remember being in love with somebody. That’s what made me sad. Every person deserves to be with somebody because they’re absolutely in love with them, and when things get hard, they can look back and say
“I remember being in love with this person. I’m willing to fight to get that back.”
I didn’t have anything to fight to get back.
I don’t like to I hear of a couple ending their marriage without going to counseling (is that conditioning?) and yet at the same time I can understand where you can reach a point and feel that counseling would be a waste of time. When I started to talk to my husband about ending our marriage, he wanted us to go to counseling and I said no. We had been to counseling several times before but I couldn’t bring myself to go again. I couldn’t commit to working on our relationship. What I wanted us to work on was separating and separating as peacefully as possible.
Regular readers know that I think the key to lowering the divorce rate in the U.S. is better pre-marriage counseling and Megan’s story is exactly the situation such counseling would help with. She may have ended up not getting married and she may well have had a child out of wedlock but that’s not to say both parents would not have been actively involved in the child’s upbringing. Instead Megan says she felt “expected” to get married and “expected” to have a certain standard of living. Part of her growth has been learning to set her own path and not to succumb to those expectations … it’s a work in progress. More on those expectations to come …
Megan’s story reminded of Kristen’s story – she was married at twenty-six and she and her husband did have two children even while Kristen was wondering, ‘Is marriage supposed to feel like this?‘ Other people, like Pippi have talked about getting married because she really wanted to be married, or the Divorce Encouragist because there seemed no good reason not to get married.