Ya know... the one you get when the person you're talking to says something that you're supposed to understand on some innate, personal level?
It was a look that said, "C'mon, Gina. You're married. You've got a husband. You know how much it sucks to always have a man around."
I was absolutely dreading it. I didn't want to laugh them off and join in the man-bashing they were so keen to take part in. I also didn't want to ruin the dynamics for the rest of the day by telling them that the only reason they were having this "yay divorce" session was because they were still - after 10 and 6 years respectively - attempting to get past the fact that their divorces STILL hurt and weren't as rosy as they kept trying to convince themselves they were.
But that look was like a line in the sand. I saw the line. I understood it for what it was. Crossing it meant I'd be on their side. I'd be a woman who understood just how much being married sucked. I'd be in their club - the one reserved for angry vent sessions about men and all the things they do to make women miserable.
If I stayed on my side, however, I'd be the enemy. I'd be the naive, young and pompous twit who rode her high horse around the world because I was too stupid to understand that in a few short years, I'd be joining their ranks. And then... oh... staying on my side of the line would ensure their constant vigilance for the day I'd wake up and find myself alone and miserable. They'd both be waiting to pounce on my broken, bleeding heart with a victorious "I told you so, now come with us so we can tear into men together again!"
That pause - it only lasted a moment. It felt like forever because I fully understood the war I was about to wage by speaking the truth of my feelings. I was trying to calculate the words and what effects they'd have so I could do the least amount of damage while still conveying my point.
"I can't really complain about John. My marriage isn't perfect, but I'm pretty sure I'd be up Crap's Creek sans both paddles without him. He's a good guy. I'm happy to be 'chained down' with him. I even got a cute kid out of the deal."
Chained down is their term, not mine, but I figured I'd hit home the point that even though I understood their feelings, I didn't share them. I then tried to buoy the response with our shared love of children - their living reminder that once upon a time, their marriages were good, too.
Unfortunately, it didn't work. Go figure.
As I had anticipated, I was immediately seen as the enemy. What did I know? I've only been married 5 years. That's all honeymoon. Just wait until he gets that 7 year itch. I'll see. And when I do, they'll be there with margaritas and cyber-dating for me to chase off the self-loathing.
After that stellar session with the Cynic's Crystal Ball, they physically turned their backs to me and continued their husband / marriage bashing.
Our culture is replete with these Divorcee Clubs. Every divorced woman gains automatic entry while every other woman is assumed to simply await the day they, too, become part of the club - because even if you don't divorce, you'll still know enough about men to think they're generally terrible.
I get that sometimes it's fun for girls to get together to poke fun at the guys. I partake of it myself. However, I tend to limit it to slight jokes that don't actually call into question my love for my husband or my appreciation for my marriage vocation. I'll roll my eyes at some of the more ridiculous things his mind wanders off to while I'm trying to have a conversation about Honey To-Do's, but his eyes are probably rolling just the same as my eyes glaze over when he starts talking about football.
There are inherent differences between men and women. I enjoy poking fun at the stereotypes or even pinpointing some of the more ridiculous highlights that John and I play out in our marriage. I don't like the conversations that devolve into hating on ex-spouses for the sake of hating on them. Venting is one thing, but when you start bragging about how awful he was and how much better you are without him (several years AFTER the divorce), the entire conversation just comes off as pathetic.
Ah well. I hate those situations. I never know how to properly extricate myself from them.
Divorce shouldn't be something we strive for. It also shouldn't be something we accept as joyous celebrations. Again - as Dom so rightly put it, divorce is a terribly painful, life-altering act that defies the very act of God who brings forth the union of two souls.
Now this entry was not to say that all divorces were created equal. This is not delving into abusive relationships or marriages that took place when there was something fundamentally wrong with the couple. This is more about negative trash-talk than divorce itself. It's more about glorifying what is essentially a terrible thing in order to overcompensate for the desecration and destruction one feels at the hands of such a travesty.
My prayers are with all of those couples who have experienced divorce. They are with all married couples who daily struggle to take the hard road of their vocation. May we all be granted the strength to find the Will of God in our lives - and in our spouses.