Saturday, November 6, 2010

For Girls Who Consider Divorce When the Rainbow is Not Shiny Enough


I have a certain friend, a great guy I've known since I was a gawky teen, and who continues to be my friend in  my fully grown yet still gawky state. He has always been strong- fights hard, works hard, but loves the hardest.

When he married a few years ago, I was a little worried. Now that he's divorced, I'm very hurt. And taken aback that he is not the only guy I know in this situation. In fact, I know about 4.

Now, these men are far from perfect. No one except God is. Yet in all these collapsed marriages, the women openly and willingly admitted the men they promised to be with until death had never hit, pushed, sexually or emotionally accosted them. They quite simply, no longer wanted to be married.

Of course, there is nothing really simple about dissolving one's marriage, except for my simple-minded incomprehension as I sat at a showing of "The Devil Wears Prada" with one of these ladies a few years back. We had gone to the mall to do a little window shopping, and for what seemed to be the entire trip, this young lady- I'll call her Amber- complained non-stop about what her husband wasn't doing. He wasn't buying her new clothes or shoes or taking her on vacations. She worked hard, many days 10 hours. And well, he worked, too, but it wasn't fair he didn't buy her more.

"Can he afford to buy you all that stuff?" I asked. She looked at me as if I were stupid. "MY FATHER works two even three jobs to make sure Mama gets everything she wants and deserves! Sometimes, he is away for weeks, working at construction sites to ensure it!" My thoughts: "Wow." and "Eww."

Now maybe that "Eww" was harsh, but the whole conversation stank to high heaven to me. One, because I do not like being looked at as if I am stupid. Unless I admittedly, say or do something honestly stupid, in which case your "You Big Dummy"-face will probably wake me into clarity of speech or action (let's hope). Two, expecting your husband to work two or three jobs so you can have "stuff"- and not the essentials like food, shelter and clothing, but purses and shoes with price tags that look like zip codes- grates at me the wrong way. Three, I did not enjoy missing Anne Hathaway's frumpy transit to work to hear a girl who sounded like one of her snotty onscreen magazine co-workers. But without the very cute ensembles, of course.

I suppose this is just a sign of the times. Recently, I wrote about brides-to-be gone wild, and in a story from FoxNews I quoted, there was an advice columnist, April Masini, who commented on the current state of marriages: "I can tell you just from questions I get on my site there are more women having affairs than men and there are more men getting dumped by women. ... Women have less reasons to get married or remain in a marriage than they ever did before." 

I suppose, not getting enough Gucci pumps or Louis Vuitton purses can be a reason. For another one of the aforementioned divorcees, the ex-bride jolted to the divorce lawyer after her hubby proposed... starting a family. Childhood nursery rhymes of "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage" aside, she- let's call her Jasmine- was so utterly opposed to babies- even in a few years- she chose to end her marriage of about five years.

One of the things which turned me off to reading "Eat, Pray Love" is Elizabeth Gilbert's foggy dismantling of her marriage. To her credit, she never disses her Ex, and is quick to take the blame for wanting and getting out. Yet, like Jasmine, her breaking point came at a time many women rejoice over- the plans for having children. Now, far be it for me to impose children on everyone. Lord knows there are plenty of people on this planet who really SHOULDN'T REPRODUCE. I found it odd, though, she could be married to a man who loved her, put his career, his plans, himself after her and her writing dreams... let that sink in... have the lovely home they both always wanted... and finally, around 30... while sobbing on the bathroom floor, she realizes then... THEN... she did not want THAT life. Despite the fact it was the life she made.

Now I can say Liz does grow A LOT throughout her travels- to Italy, India and Indonesia. Funny how she pointed out how all those places begins with a capital "I".

Another girl I know got hitched- only to ditch her groom before a tan line started to develop on her ring finger. The very same things she loved about him while they were dating- his commitment to God, desire to go into the ministry, his "good guy" sweetness- were instantly repulsive in marriage. Their marriage annulled, she jumped into a long term dating relationship which turned into cohabitation and a child together. But fortunate for her, no wedding.

But you cannot unscramble an egg. This post is really for the women out there who are seriously dating a nice guy or maybe engaged and planning a wedding. India Arie sings in "Can I Walk With You": "Now everyday ain't gonna be like a summer's day/ Being in love for real it ain't like a movie screen..." Marriage, while beautiful, is hard. And at times, ugly. It really is not to be entered into lightly. If you're thinking, even deep down "I can get out of this if I want to", then don't get into it. Also, most churches have premarital counseling, just as many Family & Marriage Counselors are happy to do sessions for the affianced. Go. There are many things- like money, children, careers, and expectations- which must be discussed before the vow swap.

My greatest hope, though, is for the wives who are now considering the big "D" since the glow has faded from their honeymoon period bliss. Stop. Just stop and think of what your motivations are. Is it because he's not treating you like the little Disney Princess you believe you are? How about flipping the script. Are you treating him like Prince Charming? Do you respect, love, pray for and place him above yourself? Do you call him throughout the day to say "I love you"? Stay and watch the game with him? Give him time to hang out with his friends? Show him affection? Take him out on a date? Encourage his goals? Support his dreams?

If you're considering divorce, please think about the Golden Rule in earnest. It has a beautiful way of making even the dullest of rainbows shine anew.


April Joy said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your writing ;) as always

a.) Some times I really cannot believe that some women truly only want to be with a man for the things he can give her. I know it is incredibly real, but I would not want a moment inside her heart to feel life through her emotions (or maybe lack there of)

b.) Selfishness will always and only prevent a person from truly learning and enjoying the definition of Love. One small example is how I'm humbled and completely grateful that my Gary works as hard as he does and carries so well all the burdens he does in life, just so I can be home and raise our baby, and do so in an environment of peace and joy. I find us laughing more often lately as we become even more intimate in our imagining a family together and entrusting each other with our heart's concerns. But this dance of intimacy only brings us a deeper feeling of safety with the other. The attitude of the women in this blog, will never grasp intimacy as long as their eyes are looking every but into the heart of the man they are committed to.

c.) I love love love that you are so passionate about marriage. A new culture of the sexiness that IS marriage needs to be reconstructed Your writings and reflections and conversations are so part of that new culture. Thank you Thank you Thank you. My heart always feels so much joy at you and K, because you GET it. You guys GET IT and LOVE what it is you're experiencing within marriage...and to SEE such a gift to those who catch a glimpse. Love you my friend. Love you so much.

Cat said...

Great job, as always. <3

Alisha De Freitas said...

April, I honestly cannot comprehend the attitude of these women I've met. I joked about it above, but it seriously does not compute. I tried to probe their minds to gain some kind of understanding (especially since most of these occasions were during my single years), but only saw a deep... vacancy about life altogether. Outside of a few family members, none of the women had loving relationships with anyone. They had a distanced reaction towards other people's suffering. As if they were missing an empathy gene. Needless to say, I couldn't spend too much time with them because that type of hallowness can be spiritually draining.

You know I look up to you and Gary, as do a number of others. As I included the lyrics to India Arie's song I couldn't help but think about your wedding day in February of '07. And now Baby! :-)

But I need to stop, because Lord knows I do not need to start crying. Maybe I have too many empathy genes??? Lol.

@Cat, Thank you so much!

April Joy said...

LoL i'm feeling those "empathy genes" too as my eyes well up.

It breaks my heart "none of the women had loving relationships with anyone. They had a distanced reaction towards other people's suffering".

My God, how much work in verbalizing and loving through community we have to do. We have so much to SHOW the world about the trueness of God's ways and His love, so that women and men wont live in the above quoted text.

People can only keep running hard and strong with momentum. You and K are a couple of inspiration. So keep running hard together...because people like me and people that aren't married...NEED to be inspired ;)
:::::BIG HUGS:::::
and :::another big hug:::: lol :D

Michelle Renae :) said...

I saw this post on my facebook homepage, after my friend April posted it... As a single woman who constantly thinks about marriage and asks God why marriage hasn't happened yet, I feel like my thoughts have now been drastically impacted.... new things to ponder and process with the Lord. Thank you again for sharing.

Alan said...

Great post Alisha. While I tend not to take marriage advice from celebrities, Will Smith said something a couple of years ago about his marriage that I hold true to mine as well. I think he was doing a news special about his family or something and they asked him what was the secret to him and Jada's marriage as they had been together for 10 years, such a long time! But he said that you just have to eliminate divorce as an option. Without that choice available to you, you are forced to work through your problems and issues rather than take the easy way out.

Divorce in my opinion is the cowardly way out. It is an option that should only be even thought of in situations where there is physical, sexual, or extended and extreme emotional abuse. Outside of that, fix it! You obviously loved your mate enough marry them, so get back to that place. If you need help then ask for it.

Marriage is not about always having the answers, its hard work. You get on each others nerves, and at times cant stand each other, but in the end your love brings you back.

Alisha De Freitas said...

@April, I love how you made me rethink of our impact as Christians in the whole community, and how we show Christ's love through our actions, friendships, family and relationships. Thank you.

@Michelle Renae, thank you so much for stopping to read this. To be honest, I was expecting a nasty backlash, to I feel comforted by the positive responses.

@Alan, I remember that statement from the Smiths and I agree with it totally. You know, I'm totally waiting for YOU to start a blog. I'd definitely read it. :-)

Don said...

Great read, although somewhat bittersweet. It reminded me of a few sentiments expressed by an ex. She stated that she felt trapped and wanted to be free (of all responsibilities).

Something I didn't understand then, and I definitely fail to understand now. But, such is life, I suppose.

As you admitted, I too believe it's more of a sign of the times. And it would probably benefit both the man and woman if the two caught one another at similar points in their respective lives.

Hilarious @ I suppose, not getting enough Gucci pumps or Louis Vuitton purses can be a reason.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Thanks, Don. I really hope men and women can become honest with each other.

As for the Gucci pumps line... yeesh, I have to insert some humor into this because the real message is hard. I'm calling on women to give men the same level of openess, respect and love with which we now DEMAND to be treated. That, to me, is true equality.

Anonymous said...

When did you speak to my ex-wife? How did you know?

Alisha De Freitas said...

Raul, NO! You, too? Lord, we so need to do lunch.

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