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February 24, 2007

A lofty goal

I've been thinking a lot lately about marriage. It's a tough thing, you know? A constant struggle. It's becoming so rare, so fleeting. Actually, my friend passed on some crazy fact she'd heard on the radio, that something like 64% of people think it's okay to have an affair every once in a while.

Every once in a while.....right.........

It's sad to me that cheating or divorce has become the "easy way" out for so many people. An easy way to not have to deal with our problems, or with each other. Obviously there are circumstances when divorce is necessary, but I don't think that is the case with so many of the divorces happening today. I just read an article in Self Magazine where the author, who'd grown up with divorced parents and was discussing the idea of marriage, put this idea so perfectly:

"Here we are, fast approaching or recently past the seven-year-itch mark. We're sick of our spouses and they of us. We have created bad habits, avoided fixing our own and now find ourselves wondering mightily how in the world we'll last the rest of a lifetime with this person. In a culture that breeds divorce, how does a marriage survive? What are the tricks? These questions interest me because I decidedly do not want to get divorced. Sure, I have the fantasy of a clean slate and someone new. But I know the wreckage divorce leaves. I couldn't stand to live that pain. I don't want my children to experience it. And the complaints I have about my husband aren't extreme enough to warrant divorce. Perhaps my marriage corrects the marriage of my parents. I get to live out and finish what they could not..."

I'm no where near the seven-year-itch mark. We haven't quite hit our two year mark yet actually, but I've seen first hand how easily it is to assume that since you're unhappy with one aspect of your life, that automatically means everything in your life is wrong.

I do that a lot. Mostly because I internalize, internalize, internalize. Stuff it in, pretend to forget, move on. This has always been my way of dealing with things, and really, until I got married it worked pretty well. Usually because the things that bothered me weren't permanent. I knew that. I'm the kind of person that always needs to know that there is a way out of something. When I had decided what college to attend, my Dad and I drove up one Saturday to find me an apartment. About 20 minutes into the hour and a half drive, I burst into tears. Bawled my little eyes out, telling him that I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to go to that college, and no, I really didn't know why. I switched colleges that day.

Marriage is the first decision I've made that I couldn't get out of easily, at least not without severely hurting the people that I love most. And if I let it get to me, it's a scary thought.

Even scarier is the prospect of divorce.

It's easy when you're down to continue to fuel your thoughts until you've become so lost in the darkness that you can't even imagine what it was like to be happy, to be satisfied. For me, this is much easier than trying to pull myself up. But as with so many things, the easy way out will hurt you in the end.

The author ended her article with a word that she had learned in Morocco, inshallah, meaning "if God wills it". And while I know that there is a God and that he knows what is best for us, I also believe that we have our free agency. That we are in charge of our situations, held accountable for our actions. And I want to be able to say that I did everything I could to be happy, to have a healthy relationship.

And if that means traveling on a difficult path for awhile, I'm just going to have to suck it up and push through. Because the goal is worth it.

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