Whew. Just found this in my drafts folder. I'd forgotten all about it! Oddly enough, another person recently lamented the same problem, so I think it's due to be published.
A week or so ago, a friend of mine messaged me about a concerning trend she regarding the spate of divorces we were experiencing amongst our group of friends (of which mine is included). She vocalized my sentiments which was a complete surprise! I thought I was taking particular issue with the trend on account of my personal situation.
She said, "I think some well-meaning ladies are a bit too eager to encourage others to leave their husbands or file for divorce... it makes me nervous how readily it is recommended."
See, our group of friends were venting about marital issues and instead of encouraging one another to seek counseling or calm reflection away from the immediate anger of a situation, the rallying cry was "Leave him, you'll be better / safer / happier without him."
It's not like these women were complaining of being beaten with 2x4s every night or of being emotionally manipulated to the point of mental breakdown. It's not even as though the complaints ranged from neglect of children or blowing off financial responsibilities. So why, then, would we be encouraging separation?
Divorce and separation should not be so cavalierly recommended as an option. This coming from a woman who is currently awaiting her own annulment decree, remember. But living in this throwaway culture of ME ME ME, it begins to make sense why the common response seems to be a thoughtless "Leave him, you'll be better off alone."
Because when you're not attached, you have no responsibility to another person. And if children are involved, you can have a built-in excuse to shirk responsibility to them as well. Take my ex, for example. He liked the idea of being a dad (and having little mini-Johns to idolize him), but when he found out there was more to it than that, he recoiled. When we discussed the terms of childcare upon separation, I didn't even have to fight him for custody. He handed it over willingly because it was what he wanted all along - the freedom to be a part-time parent. He loves them, sure, but on his time and terms.
On weekends he doesn't have the kids, they don't hear from him. No "Hey, how are the kids doing?" and no calls at bedtime to see how their day went. Even in the midst of poor Nate being incredibly ill, there were crickets abounding. The truth of the matter is that John cares; I know he does. But he cares on the clock. Once he's "off the clock," the kids are no longer his to worry about.
That problem of selfishness (because make no mistake... that's selfishness) pervades our culture. It's why children are seen as obstacles to happiness rather than joys in and of themselves. Hence abortion, hence massive debt, hence euthanasia. Anything or anyone standing in the way of YOUR personal happiness is nothing more than a string needing to be snipped.
And therein lies the breakdown of society. We're so focused on doing what we want when we want to that the consequences are ignored entirely. "I want to have sex free from consequence" and boom, abortion. "I want the same fancy car my neighbor has!" and boom, credit card debt. "I want to go on a trip to find myself" and boom, more debt. "I want to be able to go out and see my friends whenever I want without feeling guilty that my spouse is home with the kids alone" and boom, divorce.
Obviously this is an oversimplification of problems that have a myriad of causes, but "Me" Culture is a driving force behind this spate of careless advice. "You do you" or "It's okay to put yourself first" is offered like some sort of psychological manna from heaven when really, when put into context, it actually means "It's okay to ignore your responsibilities and ignore the pain you're causing other people for no purpose other than your own temporary gain."
It's just sad that this is the sort of advice that's just being handed out like candy by people who simply don't have the experience or the wisdom to know better. I will always be an advocate for marriage and spousal unity, but it seems my voice (and those like it) are getting increasingly swallowed up by the throngs calling for pity-parties and irresponsibility.
I think that's why it was especially good to hear from this particular friend. It's also why I'm posting about it (finally... months later). It let me know that while my voice is tiny, it's not alone. That really does make all the difference. <3
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