‘Til death do us part

 

No one said marriage would be easy. Getting married, easy; staying married, hard work. My DH comes from a long line of mono-marriages; I come from a long line of multi-divorces. I joke that my parents are serial monogamists but its really not funny. Cumulatively, they’ve been divorced four times and married six; my mom’s on her third husband, my dad, his fourth wife.

Current statistics show that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. In fact, the year we got married, so did several of our close friends. We couldn’t help attending some weddings that year, wondering which would become a statistic. Marriage is the target practice at life’s artillery range, bullets like graduate school, relocating, children, career(s), and business travel can leave it pretty tattered.

My parents may not have set the bar very high but well-weathered marriages, ones that had endured through the years, surmounted the challenges, and risen above the fray, did. Which is why I am still deeply unsettles by Al and Tipper Gore’s divorce.

Back in June, when the news broke, DH clipped this article for me. It’s not that the Gores were my role models, nor do I think of them as poster-children for “Happily Ever After.” What I find so sobering are the article’s statistics about the diminishing  amount of dinner conversation married couples have over the years.

When marriage vows were scripted, median life expectancy was somewhere around 50. You got married in early adolescence, had children before 20, raised them and died. Manageable, doable, possibly even pleasurable. But now? Life expectancy world-wide is 80!  So maybe I should be thankful that DH’s job has him on the road 50% of the time. Maybe that will give us 50% more time to make up for when our marriage is 20 years in.  And seeing how we got married at 28 and 31, I’m counting on SIX whole minutes of robust dinner conversation by the time our last supper roles around. Opinions welcome.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elizabeth
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 00:46:10

    dinner together?

    Reply

  2. Rachel
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 15:53:09

    Haven’t seen my husband for going on 4 days now. And we’re in the same town! But I am grateful that he has this great time-sucking job right now in a town that’s short on good jobs but has an excess of lifestyle perks (that go with our lifestyle choices anyway). All I can say is that if there’s not a third party in your marriage (talking about God here), I don’t even know how you make it in the end. It’s essential in those days when you feel miles away from each other, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. It keeps us connected and able to give beyond what we think is possible on those days when our human default of entitlement kicks in. It’s incredible really. Anyway, that’s my two cents, and I always love your insight and the way you express yourself!

    Reply

  3. Ann
    Nov 19, 2010 @ 08:50:20

    This definitely resonated with me. I am not married, but every relationship I’ve been in has felt the strain of my crazy travel and work schedule which used to take me abroad regularly and has me out until all hours of the evening with clients. When I’d return, I had some great stories to tell my significant other, but I started to realize that he didn’t need or want new, exciting tales all the time, he just wanted me around for the little stuff like going to friend’s birthday parties, trying out a new recipe, etc. I’ve adjusted my work schedule to be in town more and what’s funny is that our conversations and the time we spend together is somehow more meaningful. When I’m away, I feel like I’m missing the action, not running away from boredom. I think he’s sensed this and is consequently more understanding about when I do have to leave and can’t make it to things. While I’ll never have a 9-5 job and our situation certainly isn’t conventional, our ‘dinner conversation’ has become a whole lot more satisfying for us both.

    Reply

    • growingmuses
      Nov 19, 2010 @ 14:53:48

      Ann, I’m really happy something I wrote resonated with you. It’s tough on any relationship, whether platonic or romantic, when one party is away a lot. On the one hand, the traveler wishes s/he could share the experiences s/he’s having with the party left behind and on the home front, someone’s always left holding the bag; bag of responsibilities, engagements and routines that are a part of the every-day world. I’m glad you’ve been able to add more balance to your life and find someone that’s more understanding of the life/profession you live. Journey on!

      Reply

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