Monday, December 19, 2011

Splitsville

"Did you hear?" she hisses. "The Stormtrooper boy got divorced."

"No! That would explain why his mother hasn't been in shul lately."

"I can't believe it . . . but I just heard that the Hutts got divorced," says the shocked voice over the phone.

"Seriously? They seemed so happy together. How many children do they have?"

"Who would've thunk it?" gasps the informer. "The Fetts got divorced!"

"What? At 65?"

It seemed that when I was kid, divorces were as rare as Sasquatch sitings. Now I feel as though I hear story after story of marriages going bust, whether they be young couples still within their first few minutes of wedlock, or those with young children, or baby boomers who have grandchildren.

What gives?

In a time when Hallmark romance has reached rhapsodic heights to the point that us Jews are tagging along for the ride, why is it that more and more of us can't make it to the end? Growing old together is one of the idealized ends for every marriage, but why is divorce on the rise, no matter sect or classification?
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No one goes into marriage thinking of divorce. None of us foresee a future with a yet-to-be-met significant other that hits a wall.

Is it valid in all cases? Could marriages be saved, along with all the lives linked to it? Or are more and more of us doomed to break up?

11 comments:

yeshivaforum said...

I think that the societal pressures that once existed to discourage divorce are not as strong so people in bad marriages aren't forced to tough it out anymore. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing.

Princess Lea said...

True. The stigma is gone-ish, but I find it unlikely that divorce is valid in ALL cases.

sporadicintelligence said...

It's a combination of what yeshivaforum said, the stigma is gone, well, not gone, but not half as bad.

And I'm sorry to bash my generation (I'm speaking for the early on divorces) we are selfish, have retarded expectations, and need instant results. I know two personal stories (I know the people, not friend of a friend of a friend), one where the girl thought she was marrying the next rosh yeshiva, and when she realized he was wasn't (he took naps shabbos afternoon) she divorced him, nevermind that she was 9 months pregnant. And then another girl who decided her husband did her buy her nice presents that her friends got from her husband, and she packed up her stuff, cleared out the bank account and went home to mommoy after 4 months of marriage.

I think things could've been fixed, and fine, but people don't want things fixed, they want it perfect in the first place.

And this comment would be longer, but I think I have enough to write my own post ;) you can comment there.

Princess Lea said...

Shiver.

jen said...

sporadic, i can't believe that.
there must be more to the story.
can pple be that shallow/dumb? no one that i know

Princess Lea said...

Of course, not every divorce is for such silly reasons, but not everyone is grown up when they marry, and marriage doesn't automatically make a mature, fully-functioning adult.

It seems that we are often so cushioned by what our surroundings consider "perfection" that we live life in la-la land, rather than reality.

Shades of Grey said...

While I have heard of very shallow reasons for getting divorced, I also know of a few people where the spouse hid something rather horrible/difficult to deal with from their husband/wife until after they were married and it was too much of a red flag to continue on - such as actually being not religious at all, serious illness, terrible eating disorders etc. It's only fair to the person you're dating to really know your faults and weaknesses and decide if he/she can live with them before finalizing the deal under the chupah.

Incidentally, Rabbi Benjamin Blech published a recent article on Aish.com that discusses his 3 biggest tips for a long, successful marriage (he's been married for over 50 years), and it included a very interesting point. Namely, that you aren't even supposed to be happy in marriage, necessarily. It blew my mind to read it, but it makes a heckuva lot of sense when everyone expects that happily ever after ending once the chupah is over.

I'm not saying that marriage is endless suffering, but it isn't all rainbows and sunshine either - and it's totally okay not to be at the height of bliss at every moment. Who lives like that at any point in life, even when they are children and have no idea what it means to need to find a spouse.

The article can be found here: http://www.aish.com/f/m/3_Secrets_to_a_Long_and_Happy_Marriage.html

It's worth a read, and I'm thinking of writing a post about it in the near future...

Princess Lea said...

I know also of quite a few frightening tales of hidden issues. MAJOR hidden issues. What is really terrifying is how someone can be so self-serving that they don't realize that such a union will be doomed.

I think too many think of marriage as strictly a party with people shrieking, and they don't see the big picture or the long term.

I would rather be single now and better prepared for marriage then get married at 19 just for the sake of being married.

Princess Lea said...

I skimmed the article (I'll read it in better detail soon) but I wanted to add something regarding "compromise."

I read an article that statistically, most arguments between spouses are never resolved. Like if one spouse is a minimalist and the other is a slob. The author said the issue is more that each knows that they were heard, that their perspective was understood. It is more about listening and processing.

"Happiness" in marriage is also a Hallmark invention. I think people wouldn't recognize true happiness if it bit them.

Ish Yehudi said...

People don't go into marriages thinking of divorce, but many go into it thinking of what they'll get.

Often, people have a whole lot of expectations, beliefs, dreams, fantasies... especially when it comes to marriage and the "happily ever after."

When all that comes smashing down, what do they feel is left? Is it worth working on? Salvaging?

Princess Lea said...

Perhaps that is what it is - that one is supposed to get along with someone else without any sort of discipline, without recognizing the other person is human as well.

If they had kept their expectations realistic, then their visions wouldn't have imploded, leaving them bereft.

We are being shoved to marry before comprehending how to be married.