Tuesday, June 17, 2008


After my divorce a lot of my single friends asked me what causes divorce. A couple of friends of mine are now going through divorces, and ... Recently having written about bitterness, I figured this would be a good followup, especially after talking at length with one of them today.

Plain and simple, divorce always boils down to selfishness. Fights about sex and money and friends and claims of incompatibility and even affairs and abuse are really about one or both partners being selfish. There is no room for that sort of selfishness in any good relationship, let alone a marriage! Obviously, you do have to look out for yourself, too, but in the interest of the marriage, your spouse does need to come first, whether or not you are very religious or even believe in the Bible. That's what even secular marital vows mean -- you'll be together and work things through and put your relationship above every other relationship (aside from yours with God, if you're inclined to believe that way). And if you're LDS and married in the temple, those vows and breaking those vows are more serious on an eternal basis, and destroying a temple marriage will have longer lasting and farther reaching consequences than you can begin to imagine.

One of the couples is facing an extramarital "affair." He says he did not have sexual relations with that woman, but he still put the other woman ahead of his wife and *cheated* in an emotional manner, making her his confidant and best friend. Dangerous territory, my friends. He'd eventually fallen in "love" with this friend of his, so whether or not there was sex, he still was not faithful to his wife.

The whole friends of opposite gender thing is a HUGE deal for a lot of married couples. I have *one* guy friend I still keep in contact with, and even that is sporadic. But he and I never "dated" and neither of us ever thought of the other in a boyfriend/girlfriend way. I have one other guy friend who contacted me about 5 months ago -- my husband can't STAND him and hasn't since the night they met. The friend had liked me at first, but I never returned the feelings. In a roundabout way, he got hooked up with his wife because of me. They got married almost 3 years ago, and ... he still treated me like a confidant. It was weird for me. I didn't believe the things he was saying and doing were appropriate, and trust me when I say nothing physical ever happened between us. My husband would get so annoyed even by his name, that I decided even before we got married that having my husband feel safe and comfortable in our relationship was more important than maintaining a friendship with someone who put me in that situation, and I quit answering his phone calls. When he emailed me recently, he was all apologetic he hadn't talked to me for a while and said some other weird stuff. I just told him how happy I am and that I'm pregnant and we're doing great. Never heard from him again. Part of me wonders if he's not happy in his marriage (as he had previously suggested during talks when he wanted a confidant), so he was reaching out to see if I was unhappy in mine. Several of my girl friends who know him agree this is the case. My husband has NO friends who are girls, except through work, and he doesn't socialize with them outside of work and doesn't get close to them at work. Not because I insist, but because that is what he believes is right. We don't go looking for the newest and better version of our spouses, because we made vows and covenants to make our marriage work.

Another thing people who are being selfish do not see is that their behaviors will affect their spouse/partner. They don't understand why they should, especially in the case of the man putting his friends ahead of his wife in his priority list. He's still married to her, right? Wrong. Whether you like it or not, your behaviors, beliefs, decisions, words, and actions will affect/bother your partner, whether for good or bad, and they have an impact on your entire family as well. And in all honesty, he is the one pushing for the divorce. So his feelings are no longer connected so much to his wife, and he doesn't understand that hers are still there for him, even if he is destroying them day by day. He still wants to be her "buddy" and he's tearing her up inside because of his selfishness.

Even if someone didn't want a divorce, but woke up one morning and decided, "I am getting my own way on everything, come hell or high water ..." or, heaven forbid, really felt that way every day ... Oy. Just for example though, let's say I decided today to be a selfish biotch to my husband or belittling or demeaning to him, I could really do some damage to our relationship, whether I *think* it should or not. And it would have impact on all 3 of our kids, too. But if I decide to be kind when I mention things I need done and make an effort to take care of *his* needs as well, and make sure I'm being loving to him even when I'm upset, things go better between the two of us, and that still has an impact on our kids and our extended families as well, but a positive one instead of a destructive one. We have still had fights about his gaming and my spending (and various other things), but he's learned what I need and I've learned what he needs and we *try* to accommodate each other. And I've learned somewhat how to express my displeasure with certain things without being harsh or accusatory. Not that it always happens! We are not perfect! I cannot emphasize that enough. We have our share of problems. But we keep trying and keep working, and somehow even through all the bad stuff, we make it through.

So there's this week's lecture. lol. I'm going back to bed.

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