Forever A Cupid

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How do you stay married? Not why, how….

Posted by Allison on November 1, 2010

The reason this is rolling around in my mind is quite simple.  Yet another couple announced their separation and cited irreconcilable differences.  What does that mean?  I mean we have differences every day.  When does it go from ‘yep, this is reconcilable to nope, you suck rocks, gets out!’  I wonder if 50% of marriages end in divorce, how many of the remaining 50% are happy and fulfilling to both parties?

What are the absolutes in your marriage/relationship?  What are the deal breakers?  I mean there are a lot of things that some people will put up with that others will not and I’m curious what would make you throw in the towel.  All of us have said similar vows.   For better, for worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health.  but all of us have different ideas of when that is more than we’re willing to do.  Most people I know are adamant that any type of abuse would end their marriage.  The old ‘if he hits me, i’m gone’ line is much used.  But what about other abuse?  What if your spouse threatens you, of acts in a menacing manner but never lays a hand on you.  What if the  abuse is more psychological.  Making you feel like you are less than, making sure you never feel good about yourself through words. Is that grounds to pack it all in?  Who are these partners that stay through physical and emotional abuse and what do they tell themselves that makes it okay.  It can’t be that their partner will change, they must know that they won’t.  I’m curious if there is a breaking point in all of us but that where it is may be very different to each individual. Is my breaking point unhealthy, because if it is then there would be a lot of damage done before I would walk away.  Or do I have a breaking point that isn’t fine tuned enough and the smallest fights can seem like abuse.  Or is it healthy, a breaking point that would allow me to maintain a healthy relationship with it’s ups and downs but not allow me to remain in a situation that is harmful.

This ‘in sickness and in health’ thing. I’ve always thought that if I was truly sick my spouse would take care of me. Some horrible debilitating disease where I can’t take care of myself (yet stay strikingly beautiful and there is no drool involved). But in the context of this post I started thinking about the different types of sickness.  What if I was mentally ill, or had dementia and was no longer mentally “me”.  What happens then?  The rational part of me wants my spouse to have a loving partner who can go with him through life, what if I can’t because of illness.   Is it selfish to want him to remain with me and give up his life as well, or is the loving thing to release him to have a full life with someone else?

And then there’s cheating.   I am pretty adamant about cheating, no gray area for me.  Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  The problem is that everyone has a different definition about cheating.  And now even the spouse who thought a couple of playboys in the garage ain’t that bad is faced with the internet and all that it holds.  So is the person who is just looking at pictures on line any different than the racy magazines of the past?  Of course we all know that the internet is far too interactive to allow you to just look at racy pictures get your jollies and then off you go (literally & figuratively).  No with the internet there needs to be a money making angle to it so if you want to look at pictures before long your entire hard drive is filled with ads and the like of a sexual manner.  You can’t be a ‘sometimes i look at online p^rn” type person.  It doesn’t work that way anymore.  If you want to look at sexual images and only sexual images you’re going to have to buy a skin magazine at the corner store.  I know from experience that everyone grades cheating on a curve.  It’s like Figure Skating, subjective.  One spouse might believe that looking online not okay, period, while the other thinks as long as nothing physically happens, it’s not cheating.  There is going to problems.   I know a couple who the one person believes that no online contact with the opposite sex is okay while he keeps a profile on dating sites and has regular contact with gazillions of women but thinks it’s okay cause there isn’t anything physical happening.    This couple is going to split up eventually, because their expectations are so vastly different.  And that doesn’t even touch on the couples who maintain that their relationships can survived infidelity and go on to thrive years after.  Or the ones that one partner is blatantly cheating physically outside the relationship and the other pretends not to, or honestly doesn’t know about it.

Maybe marriage is as simple as I always used to say.  You have to marry someone who has the same expectation of cleanliness.  If you like a perfectly clean house with the can goods all facing the right way alphabetically, then marrying someone who has skid marks on their underwear is probably not the easiest marriage row to hoe.  Okay that’s simplistic and extreme but you know what I mean.  It’s about expectations being met.  That both parties know what to expect from each other and try as they might to meet their partners expectations.

All that aside, on to the product of my marriage.  Today is the first day of the second half of the term.  No more summer gear for the primary kids, full on uniforms start today.  So for Mr. Magoo is dressed in his crisp white shirt and jumper, with his blazer on top.  And here he is this morning BEFORE he dumped the milk from his cereal clear down the front.

7 Responses to “How do you stay married? Not why, how….”

  1. Alana said

    OMG – even on a serious note, you make me laugh! I think too many people are just lazy and can’t be bothered with working at a relationship! Marriage is hard and there are a lot of ups and downs! Thank God Andreas and I both have skid marks-figuratively speaking, of course!

  2. Kristina said

    I often think about this too. I’m divorced and like to believe that there is happiness out there but I am a realist, an optimistic realist but a realist. I believe that 50% of those 50% are unhappy but still married. Leaving behind 25% who are truly happy. Not la la land happy everyday but I think that’s one part of the problem. Some people actually expect that every day.

    I think the root of it all is that most people don’t really know eachother or listen in the realm of reality. They aren’t honest with eachother and themselves from the beginning. They break because of something that’s always been there. They realize that they can’t handle whatever it is that something that they think they can put up with or tolerate forever. Like you said similar expectations. Sometimes they grow apart and that’s when the differences become more of a wedge. If people made it a point to spend quality time together, actually date eachother, they may grow more together than apart. Sharing similar interests can help. Then those little differences may stay little.

    I think people don’t understand that some loves although true and wonderful are not forever loves. Sometimes the best thing to do is end it before you hate eachother. Which is never easy to do, but easier for some then others.

    Abuse is altogether different. Any abuse victim will rarely leave. There are psychological factors for both involved that simply can’t be understood.

  3. Gail Cupid said

    “Quite” (lol) a good article, Allison. Your dad would be proud. Mr. Magoo looks so grown up in his school uniform. Spilling his cereal milk down his front made me think of his grandpa who used to relate the following story. “When I was a boy, I was like pigpen. I couldn’t keep my school uniform shirt clean until I got out of the house. My brother, John, on the otherhand could wear his all week and have it still look fresh and clean. Who do you think was Mammy’s favorite?” I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the grandtree.

    • Allison said

      I hadn’t heard that story of Dad and Uncle John and the school uniforms. That made my day! Can’t wait to tell Elijah how he’s ‘just like Bumpa’!

  4. anita said

    Hmmm, we’re coming up to 33 years married. Can’t imagine life without him. What’s made it work? Rock solid values. Promises made. And then kept. Allowing/encouraging the other person to grow. Keep connecting. Working through differences. Making sacrifices (ouch). Marry a nice guy in the first place??

    • Allison said

      I cannot believe it’s been 33 years! You and Ed are a joy to watch, so fun and connected. And yes, you definitely married a nice guy in the first place! Hugs!

  5. Becks said

    I am catching up on blogs today. Great post! It actually is dead on to my situation right now. The whole similar expectations thing…yeah definitely true.

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