Jon and I are working through some of the deepest waters we've ever faced. I talked to him about whether or not to blog these journeys. He consented... nothing to hide, the motto. We got to talking about our situation - where we are today after about six months of separation (mixed up with some non-separation too). He made a bold statement that echoed something I had just written in an email to a fried: "I'm not impressed with longterm marriages." I blinked and responded, "Me either! I just told a friend that 60 years of marriage doesn't mean much to me, unless that marriage is healthy. I'm all about healthy first marriages or healthy second ones, healthy one year marriages or healthy 60 year ones. But length, by itself, doesn't impress me any more."
I remember last year someone announced on their facebook page that they'd celebrated 24 years of marriage. A commenter wrote: "Good for you, defying the odds." The moment I read it, I thought, "Don't ever let me stay married to beat odds." I don't care about statistics or the status quo or avoiding stigmas. I care about family health, which starts with a healthy marriage.
As Jon and I hashed through the muck, in that early tentative way you have to when separated, he made another startling comment. "I'm so glad divorce is 'no fault' in most of this country and that it's available to everyone. Divorce really may be the best chance for happiness and personal well-being for a lot of people. I wonder if more marriages need to confront their fears and face it down... or get one!" Then he said, "If we can't be happy together, I want us to be happy apart."
It was a moment for me. My parents are divorced. Divorce has loomed as the spectre to avoid in my adult life. Yet in that rigid fear of divorce, neither of us addressed in that radical, no-holds-barred way, the issues that kept our marriage handicapped. We're doing that now. And strangely, neither of us is afraid of divorce any more.
I want to close by sending a shout out to my courageous friends who have contended for healthy lives and have used divorce as the tool for getting there. I admire you.