The Worst Thing That Could Happen To A Marriage
I used to think that the worst thing that could happen to a marriage was being left by the person you loved.
I don't think that anymore.
The worst thing that can happen to a marriage is loving your spouse just enough that you don't want to hurt him by leaving--but not loving him enough to want to stay. So you sacrifice your own happiness because leaving him would be like kicking a puppy--it would be cruel.
I'm starting to wonder if that's what marriage actually is-- a slow chipping away at the woman's happiness to fulfill the man's needs. I've seen so many women stay in their marriages from a sense of duty. Not a duty to God or their vows; thankfully, my friends are too progressive to believe puritanistic guilt trips. My own mother stayed married to a man she despised because she couldn't bear the shame of a divorce, not out of fear for her immortal soul. But most of my friends aren't ashamed of divorce, either.
I'm thinking of one friend in particular, who stays because her husband is basically an overgrown child.
He forgets to pay their bills. He doesn't eat breakfast. He would probably skip lunch, too, or eat a bag of chips or M&Ms from the vending machines if she didn't pack a healthy lunch for him. He has a history of heart disease and yet he never goes to the doctor. He's had an infected tooth for months now. She's the one who makes sure the cars have brakes, and gas, and oil in them. He goes to work as diligently as a school boy and then he comes home to her. This is when her job begins. She protects him, feeds him, and takes care of him.
And she resents the hell out of it.
They have children, which complicates things even more. But really, she doesn't stay for them. She thinks that she is setting a bad example for her children, staying in this passionless and unfulfilling marriage. The children are actually one of the reasons she wants to leave him. She wants her children to see that marriage isn't something you settle for or cling to, like a pair of shoes that you've outgrown so that every step you take pinches your toes. Marriage should be about passionate kisses and soul-nourishing moments. If you've outgrown the passion and the love that brought you together, then you owe it to yourself to move on. She wants to teach her children that life is about fulfillment and joy--not guilt and resentment.
Hers is about keeping the lights turned on and making sure her husband shows up for his physical, and finally gets that tooth extracted. And then, when she has tucked her children and her husband into bed, she screams into her pillow.
So, the thing that would be the worst to him--her leaving--has been replaced with the thing that is worst to her, this slow death of her soul, this building of resentment in her heart; the burst blood vessels around her eyes from her nightly pillow-muffled screaming.
That is the worst thing that could ever happen to a marriage, not adultery, not being left because your spouse didn't love you enough. The worst thing is staying because you don't love yourself enough to leave.
Last edited by piperdawn; 04-26-2007 at 03:42 PM..