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Marriage and the odds of making it

Another couple that we know is getting divorced... it's like an epidemic among our friends, and I'm always shocked and surprised and Marc always acts like he's not shocked because he saw the weirdness ahead of time, or knew they weren't that perfect, or could tell they weren't that happy, or whatever.

I always get a complex about our future when some friends get divorced because with everybody splitting up I wonder what our odds are. Like, right before our wedding, a couple split up after EIGHT MONTHS of marriage. We'd been at their wedding! It really bothered me, how could someone date for five years like they did then have it all disolve in eight months?! I told Marc it was impossible, there was no WAY we were going to make it because the odds were just so against us, we have to be a really freakishly weirdly exceptional couple to stay married.

I still get that paranoia, even though we've been happy for five years and everything seems like it's going great, just the same as it always has, we talk our problems out, we love each other, we have good times.

A few years ago during one of my paranoid phases I asked marc what our plan could ever possibly be for if we weren't happy, and that's when he came up with the idea that we'd headbutt each other like rams and whoever passes out first has to make the biggest compromise to save the marriage.

This last phase, I told him it was no use to even dream that'd work, I was like yeah we love each other now, I think you're great now, but that's what our friends probably said a bunch of years ago. and now they hate each other! For all we know that could be our future, it's so scary... I'll kick you out, I'll hate you. That's when he just grinned and said "Oh no. You're gonna miss me."

silly man, at least he knows how to break me out of my panic mode, even if it's just to roll my eyes at him.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
My dad is freakishly good at picking out when a couple will divorce, and can usually tell you why (cheating, communication). He's been able to do it since he was a kid...maybe Marc has a similar super power?

Also, you should start pitching that head butting thing to marriage therapists. Copyright it and stuff. I think it'd go over well.
Dec. 30th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
I think there are a lot of people who get married half knowing it's not going to work out. The first girl in my med school class who got divorced said she kind of hated her husband at the point they got married.
Dec. 30th, 2012 09:20 am (UTC)
In hindsight, I had issues with my ex before we got married. We fought every single day of our honeymoon, including our wedding night. It was tragic. What was surprising was that we lasted 4 years of marriage, actually. I think you do "know", in many situations.
Dec. 30th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
I've seen so many couples break up that I had thought were so happy together (including my own marriage) that I'm losing faith in the whole thing. Is nobody happy in marriage?
Dec. 30th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
Every so often, it still happens to Pete and I. We've been together for ten years now, and every so often one of us freaks out and is like, "Why do you love ME? Why?", or we'll have a big blowout for one stupid reason or another. It's usually a personal insecurity and we need to just be reassured that the other loves us in spite of, or even partly because of, our faults.

I see it, too. Couples who degrade us because we're not legally married, and then they have a big ridiculous wedding and they're divorced two years later. I wonder frequently if our culture sets us up to fail at long term relationships. We're taught that life proceeds in a predictable pattern and that it's wrong if lived in any other way. People graduate college like they're supposed to, get a job like they're supposed to, and eventually they're like, "Okay, so what next? Marriage, I guess."
Dec. 30th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
I hate to sound morbid, but with another of your friend couples getting divorced, statistically speaking your odds go up. ;)

But all kidding aside, we have several friends who have gotten divorced as well. Just heard about another one a few weeks ago and was shocked to learn that the wife got the 7 year itch/early mid-life crisis (she's in her 30s) and apparently was unfaithful. They tried to work things out through counseling but couldn't pull things back together. My friend has such an awesome attitude about it that I think he will be fine, but some of our other friends who have gotten divorced (some before their first anniversary) have not handled it as well. Some have children. It is very sad.

In my and my husband's view, the best thing you can do is communicate a lot and handle any problems up front when they arise, not after they become a big hairy deal with hurt feelings and grudges. I think in a lot of ways, early on in our marriage we just felt like we were "playing house." Some people never move past that point in their relationship and when things don't mature into a functioning partnership, it's nigh impossible to hold it together for any amount of time.
Dec. 30th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
I started to get cold feet about two months before my first wedding took place. I even hypothetically started asking relatives if they would be able to get their airfare refunded. The day OF my wedding, I was doing shots with my bridesmaids in the hotel ready room because I couldn't get a handle on my anxiety. I didn't voice those thoughts to anyone, about how much I was worried I was making a big mistake. Little did I know, my dad was apparently doing the same thing down the hall, something he only told me years later (and not in the, "I knew you wouldn't work out" jerkface way).

I know that part of why I went ahead and got married is that I was involved with a genuinely nice guy who treated me well, the polar opposite of what I had had for so many years before that. I really thought once the whole hullabaloo was over with, I'd just be able to start loving him the way he loved me, the way he deserved. I really didn't appreciate the depth of the damage inflicted on me by my previous boyfriend, which took me years to get over. I also can't disconnect the relationship I'd developed with his family, who became a surrogate for me at a time I really, really needed them.

In the end, that marriage only lasted a few months. I'm glad we didn't have kids, or even much in the way of joint assets (I felt so guilty that I initiated the end of our marriage, I let him have whatever he wanted and paid for all the costs and fees associated with the legally dissolving the union) so all things considered, it was a relatively seamless transition into singlehood. Interestingly, tomorrow would have been our seven-year anniversary, something I've never taken notice of in any other December. The first year I had a new boyfriend, the second year I was single, and in the years since, the date has ranged from uneventful to disastrous so there was never a need to make any observations.
Dec. 30th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
That's one of the reasons why Hubby and my vows were "as long as our love shall last" instead of "forever" or "until death do us part." So far, we're going strong.
Dec. 30th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
silly man, at least he knows how to break me out of my panic mode, even if it's just to roll my eyes at him.

In my opinion, that sentence captures the strength of your marriage: the ability to make each other laugh and knowing how to be genuinely supportive. I'm sure other alignments matter, too, such as financial practices, belief systems, etc, but I bet those get sorted out during the dating phase.

Edited at 2012-12-30 04:18 pm (UTC)
Dec. 30th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
Aw, we had some issues around year 6 or 7...not an itch exactly, but some of the things that were bothering each us sort of came to a head and we went and did counseling and then realized that damn, counselors annoy the fuck out of both of us and now things are mostly* fine. Nothing like a combined enemy to make you team up. ;)

Also, I find our relationship is better when we remember to go to bed early enough for some sexytimes. YMMV. ;)

But mostly what mdaniel said about:
silly man, at least he knows how to break me out of my panic mode, even if it's just to roll my eyes at him.
capturing the strength of your marriage. I think you guys will be just fine.

*there's always something in any relationship. You deal and move on (as long as it's not something really important of course).

Edited at 2012-12-30 05:29 pm (UTC)
Dec. 30th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
Sometimes love is a decision as well as an emotion, if the person you love is honest, hard working and kind then you can make a decision that will carry you through even some long rough patches. I have been married for nearly ten years and a few times in the first couple of years I questioned it but now we have kids I will not abandon this life ever. Decision made, this is my life, the one I have chosen and there is no backing out.

A decision and an emotion.
Dec. 31st, 2012 12:56 am (UTC)
I've met both of you and seen how you interact; you guys are going to be stuck like glue to each other for a long time. I can tell.

I think you can tell when you look at a couple and see how they interact. We've been to weddings, and I sat there and looked at Brian, and he looked at me, and we knew the marriage was going to be doomed. You just know-- the way they snark at each other, pick at the details, fight over silly things, hold grudges, backstab behind each other's back.. it's just not meant to be.

But the two of you? It's great.

Also, from a science/math geeky point of view, the more divorces you see around you, your chances statistically improve? Right? If 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce, the higher the numbers around you...
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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