Like many children of the 70's, our parents divorced when we were young (I was 5, my sister 7). I know it was much harder on my parents than it was for us, as they made sure we knew their divorce was not because of us or something we did. Also, neither of them talked bad about the other one (at least not while in our presence!). They knew that despite their feelings for their former spouse, the other person was still our parent, and I give them both a ton of credit for realizing that.
Who are you again? Oh yeah, my spouse.
We lived with our Mom, but our Dad was always active in our lives- going to our sporting events, choir and and band concerts, and he had us on weekends. My kids are the exact same age my sister and I were when they divorced, and I remember that part of my life SO vividly. I cannot imagine them going through that.
Our community has recently been rocked with a string of separations and divorces, but we're not alone. I talked to friends in other areas and they too have several friends or neighbors going through the same thing right now. The kicker is that almost all of these families, despite whatever reasons lead to the divorce, have elementary school aged children.
So, what is it that happens to a marriage when your kids are older and more independent? What happens when you realize you no longer want to be with the person you had kids with? Have you grown apart and realize this is NOT the person for you? Can you no longer find that person you fell in love with underneath that label of 'parent' now? Have you found someone else who fills whatever needs weren't being met before? All the above?
It's hard to raise kids for myriad reasons, but I think one of the hardest things is that you NEVER have time just to be the two people you were before they came along. You're never alone together, and when you are you've just put the kids to bed and now you're tired after a long day.
In light of all these marriages failing, Scott & I had a chat and decided to make it a priority to do fun things together like we used to when dating. We went to a concert last month and are going to another one soon, we've dined out with other couples, and are talking and playing more. We're also paying a bundle in baby sitters, but our marriage is worth it. (If you want to see a youtube video of Scott watching Ida Maria playing Lollapalooza last year: click here)
Scott's mom, Joan, once told me, "I married Jack (Scott's Dad) because I knew I would have fun with him for the rest of my life." I loved that because I married her son for that exact same reason. We also dated for a long time (8 years!) because we both knew we wanted to do this once.
I have a challenge for you, dear reader. Go and make a date night with your spouse. Get a sitter. If you have the means, go away together (impossible I know, we've never been able to for more than a night-twice! (those kids get in the way, you know).)
Take the time to remember why you married this person and what it was about them that made you want to have their babies! So, go! Reconnect. Play. You may not only rediscover this person you married, but yourself as well. Wouldn't that be nice?