Thursday, 23 January 2014

Till Death Us Do Part?


Let's face it. In life lots of relationships don't work out. People who once couldn't be without each other for 5 minutes end up provoking blood lust on sight. They went from lovebirds to vicious fighting bulldogs in the human ring. What happened?

Common sense says that when a relationship is in serious trouble or at death's door the best option is to make a clean break and not prolong the agony, because staying together past that point creates not only verbal tension, but also many wasted days, months and precious years. And life is already too short to spend fighting. 

So, at what point do you realise that staying together to 'work it out' is actually resulting in more animosity, more bitterness and more long term hate? How do you recognise that point of no return when the end becomes inevitable? 

The haunting question then becomes 'If I do throw in the towel, how will I ever know if we had stuck it out a little longer and worked a little harder that we couldn't have made it work?' 

We have grandparents and great-grandparents who said 'till death us do part' and stuck to it. Divorce was highly unusual in their day. What secret did they know that we don't? Was it just staying power through thick and thin, sickness and health, for richer or poorer? After all, that's what they signed up to! Or were they living in secret misery for fear of public shame, tolerating the intolerable.

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't advise anyone to stay in an domestic abusive relationship, and I don't care if they do have children. Run like your pants is on fire, I say.

But, marriages are dropping like flies and relationships don't last as long as they used to. You can get a divorce as quick as you can get a credit card. Then it's a case of move on to partner number **?**.  But I can't help feeling that divorce is sometimes taken as an easy way out with undue haste. There's just no staying power. Am I wrong? 

So, my question is:
Has divorce been made too easy and readily available?
Does marriage mean anything in today's society or is it just a piece of paper?
At what point should you separate from a person in a relationship if things are not going too well?

I'd love to hear your comments, views and opinions.

83 comments:

  1. Well, where do I start here? As everyone has an opinion of what marriage means to them, what love is to them, what an institution is to them, and what that eternal bond means, I would say you have your work cut out for you. I'm married and I enjoy the woman I'm married to, nothing else really matters.

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    1. The thing is though Scorp, that marriage is a solemn promise between two people, so at least they should understand what it means amongst themselves. Perhaps a lack of this is one of the reasons for the breakdown. One time everyone agreed what it meant and stuck to it. Now everyone has their own view and abide by that...

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  2. I'll be married 39 years this year, and it hasn't always been roses. I don't think it's so much that divorce is easy. It's that people don't give themselves enough time to know the other person before they say 'I do'.

    We were very young when we got married, but I'd like to think we both knew what we wanted in a mate right from the start. And we were both honest with each other.

    Because we felt deep down that our relationship was worth fighting for, we stuck it out when times were rough. This is something only the individual can decide and you have to have a mate who is just as willing as you are. All your good intentions are for naught if the other half of the relationship doesn't put an equal amount of effort.

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    1. Congratulations on almost 39 years of marriage Maria. Numbers like that are hard to find these days and I totally agree that, for a marriage to work, both people need to make an effort. Personally, if I saw the other person wasn't trying it would seriously undermine any desire I had to put in the effort.
      Thanks Maria.

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  3. I think our grandparents worked much harder than we do, especially physical work, and divorce was something they just didn't have time for. Today we have much more time on our hands, unless we're among the poor who work their tails off and have little to show for it. I think people place unreal expectations on marriage, which should be viewed as an equal partnership rather than a fairy tale.

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    1. You've made a good point Stephen, because some people do view marriage as some idealistic, constantly romantic, years of pure unrelenting happy bliss. When it's not that at all.

      I've known so many people who got married young and within a few years their marriage was over. A common reason was that, as soon as the vows were over, the person became their real self. In other words, they were perfect whilst dating but became a dragon after the big white wedding was done.

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  4. I do think divorce is too readily available. It makes people think there's an easy out, so they don't try as hard as they might. That being said, there are some relationships that are toxic, especially in the case of abuse, and should be terminated.

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    1. I agree with you Shelly. Maybe if divorce was more difficult to obtain, people might think long and hard before getting married. But saying that, the toxic ones would cause a lot more damage before the divorce was completed. I'm thinking....

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  5. I'm not qualified to provide an answer. I've never been married because I've never found a woman crazy enough to want to spend the rest of her life (or part thereof, as the case may be) with me. That and it's hard to meet women when you're a hermit.

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    1. Oh Joel, if it's 'crazy' you want, I can set you up with some real nuts round here. You won't have to look far and they'll give you a good run for your money and life will never be the same again for you, ha ha ha.

      And, the only way to meet someone is to get out and about! Always a joy to hear from you/

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  6. I think part of the problem is society's addiction to instant gratification. If I feel like getting married, I want to do it NOW. If I'm sick of being married, I want to get a divorce NOW. Less time spent thinking things through, more time spent on deciding what we want next...

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    1. So true. We want everything yesterday. And just because someone looks good on the first few dates, it doesn't mean their marriage material. Could marriage be another victim of the microwave society?
      Good to hear from you.

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  7. I know a few people who are divorced. Getting divorced is very traumatic and all wish they did not have to go through such hell. It was not an easy decision to make and children were involved. I think there is still part of them that will hurt forever.

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    1. Very few people have amicable divorces, so I can imagine how heart broken they may be especially if one person didn't want the divorce. Also some people deny that children are significantly impacted by divorce. I disagree completely and don't see how this can possibly be true.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I think if there is no abuse and you are not at each others throats all the time, if there is a way to work it out... I think counseling should come into the equation to see if the relationship can move forward... If there is no way than I agree a clean break would be the best...

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    1. Getting professional help is a great idea, especially if both parties are willing to attend in order to try and make the relationship work. Counseling can sometimes make couples see things in a totally different way.
      Thanks for stopping by Launna.

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  9. I think that what marriage means is an ever changing thing, and that's not bad. I don't believe in giving up easily, but if both parties aren't willing to work to fix it, one person alone can't.

    I also believe that we all have the right to spend our lives being happy. If someone's in a relationship that makes them miserable, or with a partner who won't try to fix what's not working, I do believe it's OK to admit your mistake and find a situation that makes you happy.

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    1. I see what you're saying Karen, and I like the fact that you're not someone who would easily give up on a relationship but although we all want to be happy all the time, we know it's impossible, but at what point do you chuck in the towel? I ask this because there might be a period of unhappiness (without any abuse) etc but how long do you allow it to last? My friend went through a very bad patch for 5 years non-stop then just as she was about to chuck it all in, the husband fixed up and their marriage is now the best it ever was.

      Thanks for commenting karen.

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  10. Let's face the truth. A divorce is heartbreaking to the kids. I know it sounds old-fashioned but I do believe that kids should not be forgotten. A couple with kids is a family unit, not just a couple.
    I am not saying that abuse is okay. Each marriage is complex and people should refrain from giving advice.
    But this is taboo. Even with the best intentions marriages may not be functional. Why? Because there are behaviors that cannot be changed. They may be a mismatch or there are things that cannot be changed. I am not an expert in the matter but I could write a book on this.
    I believe that understanding, patience and kindness are more important than romance and passion in a marriage.

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    1. You're right Julia. The kids are always affected when their parents go through a divorce or relationship breakdown, more-so if it's not amicable. Parents sometimes verbally abuse one another, dredging up all the bad stuff, without a thought that the kids are listening.

      Rather than saying 'people should refrain from giving advice' I reckon that those going through a divorce should be careful who they receive advice from and whether that advice is, impartial, unbiased etc.

      Maybe you should consider a book on the subject or even a post :). Either way, I know it would be a good read. Thanks for the comment Julia.

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  11. And I forgot to mention something important for those who say that they did not know each other well before they got married.
    People change over time. They have new behaviors that can disrupt a marriage, so even knowing each other well is not a guarantee of the "happily ever after" idea. Or perhaps people fail to see what they don't like to acknowledge. Both things can happen.

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    1. You make some good points Julia. I'm definitely not the same person I was many years ago as I've changed in so many different ways. And when I look back, I can clearly see why a past relationship didn't work out.

      Some people in certain cultures have arranged marriages to people they hardly know or have hardly seen beforehand. And those marriages can last a lifetime and be happy, so it's true that 'knowing each other well is not a guarantee of the happily ever after'. You've got me thinking now....

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  12. Maybe it is the signal of the time.

    Some years ago there was something called Love that was the base of many things, including marriage, and there were very few opportunities to defy that since life was circumscribed to little else than get a good family, and I should mention the need to toe the line, which was a stern and very important way to show how much you really were a good person.

    Nowadays, we have so many things we want to enjoy "NOW" that Love is something you can use and discard on demand, hence you never think twice if your partner is a hindrance in your way to revel in anything.

    As in all human situations, this is much more complex when you find that you were "cheated" in your feelings, and I am not referring to be loyal only. Then each case is a different subject in its own.

    Also, there are those cases when you were expelled from ecstasy by Fate.

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    1. It sounds like what you're saying is that people now have so many other things beyond family life to tempt and distract them that they've lost the focus on love... even become a little selfish, if that isn't reading too much into what you've put.

      As I read it, I have to admit what you've written chimes in with a lot of what I've observed about the way folks live today.

      Always a pleasure to hear from you Od.

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  13. Although I am married, I am not sure I'd go through with legal marriage again. It's really not necessary in a relationship that's build on friendship and trust. I've been divorced twice (from the same man), and my ex and I have a great relationship, so divorce only hurts kids if the parents behave like assholes to each other. In other words, staying together for the kids isn't the selfless act people believe it to be. I think it often ends up doing more harm than good. The biggest problem people have in their relationships is expectation. People go into relationships, hoping that the other person will eventually change. If your partner isn't acceptable to you the way he or she is, move on.

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    1. You're right about the kids Helena. Many couples have tried to keep a family unit together for the sake of the children but I'm sure that many of those kids who are now adults, would tell you how unhappy their environment was during that period.

      Thanks for the comment mate.

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  14. I am a divorcee and I think my problem was that I leapt into marriage without really thinking about it. We fought from the start mainly because we had different goals in life and were too disimilar. We should have just stayed friends - that way we would still get on I think.

    The relationship plodded along to a slow death; we both should have just remained friends.

    Now I am in a much better relationship with goals and interests the same. You know when you are in a truly great relationship when you have been together for over 15 years and each day is just like the first year.

    :-)

    Cheers

    PM

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    1. Unfortunately, there are many people who have whirlwind romances and believe that marriage is the right thing to do without really thinking about it. I'm sorry that your marriage didn't work out, but at least you're very happy with how your life has turned out now.

      Thanks for stopping by PM.

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  15. Marriage is no longer the "necessary" institution it once was. People are free to explore other options without the restrictions and censorious consequences which existed in the past. Give people more freedom and they will take advantage of it. Women need no longer fear being ostracized for being single, being sexually active while unmarried, or being divorced. The social constraints have loosened and so have people's inhibitions. It's mostly fear of societal recrimination that bound couples and individuals to the "till death do us part" ideology.

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    1. You're right that people's inhibitions have loosened NP. The way people view marriage has somewhat changed. But I still feel that something is at work behind the increase in marriage breakups beyond simply people not being trapped by social pressures and shame, as many were. After all, people get married for a reason and I can't believe they plan for it to end - so what happens? Why do so many change their minds? Will there ever be an answer?

      As always, thanks for your comment NP :)

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  16. Some great answers so far. I think one reason there was less divorce a while back is because women had much fewer options. Buying a house or car on their own was extremely difficult. Getting a good job meant being a teacher, nurse or secretary. That was about it. Now women have much better opportunities which would allow them to stand on their own two feet.

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    1. I like the point you made Janene, because men were seen as the breadwinner and women were mainly at home taking care of the kids. Women have come so far in society, that men are not always required, if you know what I mean, and they have far more freedom to do whatever they please.
      But, as I said to NP above, they still get married.

      Nice to hear from you Janene.

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  17. I honestly think that more divorces is not a bad thing. Women had very few optionsback in the day. They did not.even have.right to their kids if they left their husband. They had no rights to property.
    If people cannot be in a healthy relationship (and have no kids) a clean break is smart. Even with kids, living with fighting and tension is much worse than having functional parents who are no longer together.
    I know divorce is seen as a bad thing, but I see it as a good thing sometimes.

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    1. Divorce a good thing? Hmmm, my gut instinct is to disagree with you, Jamie, because divorce signifies a breakdown in a relationship. The death of a dream two people solemnly swear to share and dream together. But then we do need to be realistic and live in the world as it is, and not as we would like it to be... and I suppose in many cases divorce is the only way out of a painful situation and to begin healing.

      Thanks for sharing your view Jamie.

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    2. Ask most people who are divorced. I bet you a great many were happy their divorces were not harder to get.

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    3. I agree that some of those who are divorced are happy that the process was not harder but....
      what this fails to address Jamie, is the question of how many of those marriages, if they had been persevered may have worked out. One of the things we'll never know.

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  18. The media has a tremendous influence on people today. Problems resolve themselves in 30 minutes or less. Society is impatient. In the heat of anger we sometimes walk away and then live with regrets. People confuse sex with love and they're not the same. The passion we feel in the beginning of a relationship will always wane. It's the substance of a partner that should be the focus of our attention and love. Easy outs don't help matters, either.

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    1. Yes, the climate in our society does tend to focus on the moment and encourage us to associate love with the romantic and passionate elements of what we see in films, to the exclusion of everything else. This does fail to prepare people for the full extent of what marriage really is.

      Thank you so much for sharing your opinions Carol.

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  19. I think being best friends is important. Each person has different views and personal goals. Adjusting to minor differences is vital. Expecting your partner to be perfect is not realistic.
    If they can't tolerate each other then it's best to end the relationship, on good terms if possible. There is a lot of luck involved in finding the right person.
    In the past the marriage vow was accepted as a lifetime commitment which could never be broken. Today it's a little less serious. Maybe it's better this way.

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    1. The irony is, though, that the vow people make is that they will stay together for a lifetime. I'm not sure if people saying things they don't mean really is an improvement! Thanks for stopping by John.

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  20. I think loyalty is gone. I also think women have changed over the years. More women are finding themselves in power positions and sometimes men painted up relationships like you need me because I bring home the bread and butter, well some women these days are bringing home lobster and steak; they don't really need a man except for the obvious reasons. Women still have the need to want to feel like women or feel human at that fact. Nobody wants to feel second in a relationship, everyone wants to feel equal. Today's economy has kind of shown that...it's not stay home and take care of the kids, it's, "we both need to be making $80, 000 a year or something close to that number. Today's economy has evolved relationships...there's alot long term marriages that are based on love but also built on some kind of need..."hes a good guy and he makes $65k a year? This could work..." now it's, "well he seems like a good guy but I make 70k a year...I don't need his pay but does he need me?" Besides the evolution of relationships, I think marriage has become more of a business then an actual love bond...

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    1. Money exerts a powerful influence on any arena it enters. Some would say it contaminates everything it touches and I would tend to agree with them. 'The love of money is the root of all evil' says the good book. Perhaps marriage today is yet another victim of the contagion. Brilliant point L.A. Green.

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  21. Some people stay together for all of the wrong reasons. I have a dear friend whose husband was verbally abusive to her years before they had children, and they still had three kids together. She does not need him for emotional or financial support; yet she continues to stay with him. I don't know anyone personally who jumped into getting a divorce without trying counseling first, though it does happen all too often.

    Julie

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    1. Perhaps all these reports about people rushing for a 'quickie' divorce are exaggerated. Or, come to think of it, perhaps we have a disproportionate view based upon the behaviour of celebrities who the press report on, but who don't behave like us 'normal' people.Thanks for the comment Julie.

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  22. I do believe that people give up a lot more easily these days and moving on is such an easy option. If there's no abuse in the marriage and both partners are being faithful to each other - I think divorce should not be an option. The grass always seems greener - but every relationship reaches a make or break stage and it takes work to make it last!

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    1. You make a good point Corinne. Maybe there should be a lot more options or processes that people should go through in circumstances like you mentioned before a divorce is granted. It also gives them the time to stop and think before signing on the dotted line. Thanks Corinne.

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  23. Hi RPD! Wow, you ask tough questions. I think that our models for behavior have changed. Instead of God or the saints, or just really charitable people are no longer the ideal. People look to movie stars, singers...those in prominence to decide what's good. Oh brother.
    I agree that no one should stay where they are abused. No question there. But marriage for me is a sacrament, and it's binding. My marriage is not perfect (I'm in it, let's face it!), but we're willing to put in the time to make it good. I have a friend who got a divorce because she said she 'deserved to be happy.'
    I don't think she's had a happy day since. It's sad.
    Peace, Ceil

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    1. It's true that the modern icons for a great many people nowadays are celebrities. They aspire to them and drink in their values. God help us! It would explain a lot of the madness out there on a daily basis! Nice to hear from you Ceil.

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  24. I agree with you, I think divorce (nowadays) has made exiting a marriage very easy. Many couples seem to end a marriage without committing through some of the rough times, which rough times are inevitable.

    As you shared, if a marriage is damaging/abusive in anyway, by all means divorce. Because I've known couples who have stayed in a marriage because they felt they had to.

    Also, I think in some cases both parties realize that the relationship and their time together has ended. They may even try to work through it and hope that it will change. However, they've simply grown apart; wanting different things.

    And it those cases too, I think divorce is a healthy choice because some relationships are not meant to be forever.

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    1. But Ron, saying that some relationships aren't meant to be forever has the flavour of a self-fulfilling prophecy ie: I believe the relationship is dead, so I don't work to make it last, so it does end.

      It's not like the breakdown is Godzilla springing up out of the sea to destroy Tokyo. Are people really that powerless in the face of a relationship in difficulties?

      Thanks for commenting Ron.

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  25. I think that if a person has done everything possible to make the relationship a success---such as counseling, open communication, etc. and NOTHING works, it may be time to call it quits. I don't think that a rash decision should be made though---give it a year or two and TRY to make it work. If a person is still miserable in the end, the relationship is like poison and it needs to be severed.

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    1. I agree about trying everything, and I can imagine that with one person putting in more work than the other, this could still fail to work.

      But if BOTH people are prepared to do so much to save a relationship, surely there must be a lot of love there to motivate them... enough to save the marriage? Just a wild thought. Always good to hear from you MM.

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  26. I believe that marriage should be for the long run, but I totally agree with menopausal mama, if everything has been tried to fix the relationship and nothing worked then, yes, I think a marriage should end. Why stay in a relationship which is making both people miserable ? I think marriage is a huge commitment and shouldn't be entered into in haste !
    http://myfroley.blogspot.com/

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    1. That's another angle. How many people tying the knot have really thought seriously about the commitment... or do they just want to have their 'big day'.
      Thanks My Froley.

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  27. Mine is a sad, long, drawn-out story that ended in divorce. I wont go into details. I've posted about it in the past. So,to keep this comment short, my wife got pregnant, trouble is, I wasn't the father. You kinda' work it out from there.

    Take care, my friend.

    Gary

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    1. Yes, I was very sorry to read your posts where you explain some of those sad details. All I can say is that she made a big mistake in failing to appreciate the man she had in you.

      Please leave a link to any of those posts so others can read it too. Thanks Gary.

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  28. NothingProfound hit the nail on the head.

    As for my opinion, I feel like marriage is a title with legal benefits and nothing more. People put way too much weight on it. If two people truly love each other, it shouldn't matter whether their last names are different or not. Why people care about it so much--especially people who clearly aren't ready for a lifetime commitment--is beyond me.

    There's a LOT more to marriage than just loving each other. I wish more people would realize that before jumping into it. Either that, or they can at least get a prenup.

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    1. I think it's the vow, the upfront commitment and through 'thick and thin' lifelong element that makes marriage, marriage... as opposed to the 'it's working today, let's take one day at a time and see how it works out' approach. Hence so much weight being put on it. It's just a very different animal to other forms of relationship.

      Would you say that a 'prenup' is already holding back and looking towards the end of the marriage? Just a thought.

      Thanks for sharing your views Jkweath.

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  29. Great post, good questions and wonderful responses. I have nothing to offer but I learned a lot from reading the responses.

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    1. I get a lot out of reading the responses too Nicole. Thanks for taking the time to read them.

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  30. Interesting comments! Every marriage has its problems. I don't know one that doesn't. And when you think about how long you have to live with someone, sometimes divorce seems like the answer. But then if you go on to the next one, you'll end up with different problems. Then what? You divorce again? If you get married, I think you should try to work through the problems, unless you're in an abusive situation. If you're not willing to work through problems, or don't think you can handle 40 years with the same person, you shouldn't get married.

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    1. Yes Sherry, it's like taking the same baggage into a brand new relationship without dealing with the issues, which might be yourself.
      It's really nice to hear from you, and hope you'll return to read some more.

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  31. My Man... Excellent Post/Questions.

    Extremely tough to answer. Every marriage, no matter how happy both individuals are, will encounter problems of some kind, along the way. Yes, I think divorce has become too easy for lots of couples. Yes, I think married couples today give up on their relationship far quicker than 'back in the day.'

    I am on my 3rd Marriage. Not particularly happy about that. 1st Marriage = 6 years, 2nd Marriage = 12 years, and currently on #3 at 14 + years. At age 58, and through some group studies, I have learned that commitment to marriage is a "Life Long" event. That, there will be struggles and those struggles can and should be worked on and worked out. Thankfully, my wife now is on board with this 'message' as well. We have a great marriage, but there are times... (lol). Marriage is also work, hard work, and husband and wife must each 'participate.' It is constantly an on going process.

    I'll say this... "A Happy Wife is a Happy Life." ha

    Donna says she is "My Wife for Life." Makes me Smile. I'm Blessed. Take care, Slu

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    1. 'A happy wife is a happy life' (love that) is a fundamental key. If both individuals in a relationship have as their priority the happiness of the other, then things can't go too far wrong but it does take two to tango that way.

      Stay blessed and have a great weekend Slu.

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  32. Hallo dear,
    again a difficult question... life today is really different from the time of our parents... everything is changing so fast... again to write something smart I would really think a lot about this.
    We have to say that, at least in Italy weddings are less and less. This is a fact.
    Divorcing: there is something wrong... too easy to do it... tomorrow married, after tomorrow not..
    on the other hands, like you are saying, instead of killing each other.. better to stop !
    so.. my answer is... I don't know... :-)
    it's a mess !!!
    probably the true is that we all want to have too much and we do not want to do some small or big renunciation. we woudl like to be married, but at the same time being complete free to do what ever we wish to do. it doesn't work like this... there is something wrong on our style of life.

    ciao, and try something lighter :-) !!

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    1. I agree that we all have far more than previous generations did, in terms of freedoms and material possessions and as noted above perhaps this has made us a little more selfish, therefore less willing to put someone else first in a relationship.
      Ciao Massimo :)

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  33. That's a tough question but I can say that my husband and I have it a few really rough patches in our 20+ year marriage and we've worked hard to work it out. It all depends on the circumstances, but just throwing in the towel without doing the work it takes to keep a marriage going is not the best route in my opinion.

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    1. Certainly Linda, if you don't even begin to put in work, you truly never will know what could have been. And it seems like this is common nowadays although I may be wrong. Congrats for being married so long, and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Hope I hear from you again

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  34. As a pastor, I had my share of marriage counseling, and in some cases I have seen the torment of couples trying to decide whether it's time to part ways. I believe there are times when this is necessary. When a man, for instance, has violated his wife's trust so many times, that she feels can't handle another emotional blow, and no matter how much the man promises to never do it again, she no longer deems his words worth the time it takes to say them, divorce is all but certain. I witnessed that in a counseling session over a hear ago. I saw the man begging and crying and I saw the torment of her emotions. When they left, I had trouble holding back my own tears.

    I do believe that our very liberated society lends itself to much more acceptance of divorce, multiple marriages (not simultaneously, of course), and the choice to live unmarried and sexually active. Marital vows do not mean what they used to. Wealthy couples enter marriage with prenups right up front. Staying together for a lifetime has never been easy, but it's even more challenging these days.

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    1. Regardless to how much wealth I had, I don't believe I would go through with any marriage where a prenup was part of the agreement. I say this because it's as if you're already tempting fate, arranging for the marriage to collapse. Similar to having a 'will' knowing you will die at the end of the day.
      Thanks for the comment Frank.

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  35. Thought provoking post. I don't know how serious people look at their marriages. What seems to be so sweet at the beginning could become disastrous later. I presume time and tide change people. Anyway, when two heads can't come to terms with each other anymore, there's no better way to be separated. It might not be the best solution but how long could one (or both) live in a home fills with violence? There are cases of people being tormented with abusive words and worse still being hurt physically by their spouses. Home violence happens everywhere, some could sustain it merely because of the fear breaking the sacred matrimonial vow...but after awhile it remains on paper only.

    Thank you for bringing up this topic to shared with us, Rumpunch.

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    1. Error "to be shared". Thank you. :)

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    2. Yes, the consensus seems to be unanimous amongst everyone whose commented. No matter how sacred marriage is, no one should be expected to put up with abuse. It's as simple as that. Thanks Balqis.

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  36. Hi Rum-Punch Drunk, you make some excellent points and it’s something I’ve thought about too. To answer your questions: Has divorce been made too easy and readily available? Yes and No. Yes, because I agree that sometimes people use it as the easy way out. I’ve seen that especially in young couples who perhaps were not ready for marriage yet and should have kept dating. No, because sometimes divorce may be the best option, and resolving the union quickly and painlessly helps both people to move on.

    Does marriage mean anything in today’s society or is it just a piece of paper? Marriage is freer and more open in today’s society than it was in the past, and in many ways that’s a very good thing. In centuries past, women were often not free to marry who they wanted and they were not free to divorce. Today, women have that freedom. While there are certainly more divorces than in the past, there are still many couples who take their vows seriously. But whether to marry or not is a personal choice; you don’t have to have a piece of paper to be in a committed relationship.

    At what point should you separate from a person in a relationship if things are not going too well? Now that’s a very tough question. It’s something I’ve grappled with myself. Every effort should be made to see if issues can be resolved. No one should give up easily, because there’s a reason why two people came together in the first place. But if there are more bad days than good ones, if issues cannot be resolved, or when the love is gone, that’s the time to part. Even then, it can be a difficult and painful decision, especially if two people have been together for a long time. There really are no easy answers.

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    1. It's true that the question about whether or not to break up is tough but I feel that, especially in your 3rd paragraph, you've outlined some of the key nerve points of what a couple should be asking themselves if they were at the crossroads of whether or not to end a relationship.
      Thank you so much for commenting JerseyLil.

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  37. RPD, you have captured the state of affairs with that one sentence, Marriages are dropping like flies.

    I think we have all become obscenely individualistic. I am sure it was not in the original scheme of things. I keep reading about people getting babies using cells rather than the natural process. Intimacy is passe. Soon they will be available in jars, made to order. Something is wrong. Maybe we have lived long enough and our times are past.

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    1. This is a bleak. It's as if Huxley's 'Brave New World' is actually coming to pass in our days... if not for everyone, for a great number of people!
      I hope the pendulum will turn and begin to swing in the other direction before too long. I was just thinking about this the other day :) Thanks Umashankar.

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  38. I don't comment much. This struck me :)
    Back in the day of my parents, certainly my grand parents, sex before marriage was the exception - not the norm. I think that sex is a huge trick that makes you believe you're in love when you're actually in lust. No one takes the time to really KNOW each other first. My opinion.... society gets more and more lax every day. I'm no saint, for certain - but I can see for sure what I and so many others have done wrong. Great post!

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    1. Certainly, since the 'sexual revolution' of the 60s sex has moved from being a hidden thing to being right in our faces, unavoidable whether we like it or not. I suppose it's unavoidable that this would have an impact on marriage. Thanks for the comment Jenn.

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  39. Interesting subject. I actually have two minds on divorce: First, vows are important in a way. I was taught as a young pup that marriage was sacred and endowed by God. I watched my grandparents grow old together and honestly I don't believe that my grandmother truly "liked" my Grandfather. In fact she used to confess "Pete always said that when he first saw me he was going to marry me. But I never said that about him." I suspect during their marriage she always felt that she was the one in charge and holding everything together. And I think Pete let her believe that. Whenever I was with him and he might have said something objectionable to Mary she would always yell from the other room, usually the kitchen, to chide him or to correct him in some way. And Pete would get the bluest sparkle in his eye and the biggest toothless grin you ever have seen! Of course she never knew it so chuckling over grandma's complaining was like a secret between me and Grandpa. He knew what he was doing. As a staunch Catholic there is no way they ever would have been divorced. Period. So he picked the things he felt were important and achieved them. To Pete that was to send his three boys to school so they would never know what manual labor was, which he had done all of his life. And he succeeded. I'm sure he took them under his wing and confidence the same way he had done me, with a wink and a smile, and he got his boys to study harder. How can you disappoint someone that you love so dearly? There is no doubt in my mind that Grandpa was in charge of that family and Grandma's temperament was merely an amusing side note.

    Years passed and I was in a marriage myself with a wife who just did not respect me at all. Not only that but she made it a point to contradict everything I wanted to teach the kids. She would literally stand behind them when I mentioned that an education is important for them and she would tell them that I was wrong and not to listen to me because they could be just happy without an education. And that was pretty much the final straw for me. With two of our kids already graduated from high school and looking forward to menial minimum wage jobs, she started in on our youngest who was still a junior. I told her that I was not going to tolerate it anymore, either she was going to make some changes and get on board with encouraging our children to get educations or I was going to leave her.

    For whatever reason I was never able to gain my own children's confidence enough to overpower the garbage my wife was feeding them. But they are growing older now and beginning to see that minimum wage jobs aren't taking them anywhere. At least they are beginning to wonder if an education is not prudent.

    I am ashamed because of my divorce. I wish that I had my grandfathers ability to accomplish my goals in the face of such marital adversity, but I couldn't. And so the divorce ultimatum became necessary, I believe. And no threat is valid without action, so I am now divorced. And sadly that is no love loss for me, the problem is picking up the pieces of my confused children's lives and moving forward.

    I believe divorce is necessary sometimes, but I wish it weren't.

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  40. So fascinating to hear people's stories and those of their families. It's interesting how you contrast those two imperfect relationships, with one staying together and the other that divorcing.

    It's such a shame that in your case at the end of the day it didn't come down to just a disagreement between the two of you, as it had with your grandfather, but that the children were involved. Children are not stupid, and I believe that in time they will understand what you were saying in regards to education. And I have no doubt that you ex-wife will have to bear the brunt of how she raised them.

    Thanks you so much for sharing such a personal story Johnallenrichter.

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  41. One problem is that people get married too young nowadays. Times are different now with many stresses for a young couple. It's almost like these are disposable marriages, and divorces are easy to get and don't have the stigma attached to them as they did in our grandparents day. Marriage does not have the same importance it had in the older generations.

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  42. Not sure how much I am qualified to this discussion, because I am a person who is always hesitate about commitment, after my first long term relationship, which was 20 years ago. I think, with or without marriage institution, we humans always have that variety of choices of being committed with long term or floating around with short term relationship. There are always someone easy to get bored, someone who prefer boring but secure life. In terms marriage institution, I tend to believe that it s a social control means, when a society needs to be stable, divorce can be illegal, when a society is essentially safe and sound, divorce is just a piece of cake.

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