I found a link to a very moving blog while looking at other sites which link to mine. The author is a woman who divorced her husband 7 years ago and now deeply regrets her actions. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of any site on the Internet, but her story does match both anecdotal evidence as well as the AARP study focused primarily on people who divorced in their 40s. In her blog post titled My husband was the best friend I ever had, she describes the reasons for the breakup of their marriage:
My husband was an easy-going, simple man. He never complained about anything, helped with anything when asked, worked hard and made an above average living, didn’t cheat on me, didn’t drink, never hit me, and was a loving father.
His faults were many: sleeping too much, clowning around too much, being too interested in sports, not knowing how to cook, not remembering the names of his childrens’ teachers, not getting home before 6 pm because of his 2-hour commute, not liking poetry and art, and other heinous offenses. All deserving of divorce, right?
The truth is that he endured years and years of my contempt, grinding criticism, big mouth, and deep character defects and he loved me in spite of it.
You see, he didn’t demand perfection like I did. He was just there for me through the good and the bad, doing what a real husband does. Too bad he didn’t have a real wife.
I think husband and wife being best friends is much more common than not. At least it is the case for my wife and I and the couples we know. Our 5 year old daughter complains that we talk all the time, and has commented that she can’t wait to have a husband who will be her best friend. Given the nature of female relationships and the difficulty of non romantic female to male relationships, this would seem like something wives should especially treasure. But somewhere along the way many can be talked into believing that they need to divorce.
About 6 years ago my wife was working for a small branch office of an insurance company and a woman came in crying and visibly upset. When she asked the woman what was wrong, the woman explained that her husband had just told her he wouldn’t continue their weekly lunch date since she was divorcing him. He was her best friend, and she treasured their lunches together more than anything else. When my wife asked why she was divorcing him, the woman struggled to explain. All she could come up with was that she had asked him to fix the garbage disposal in their sink several months ago and he hadn’t gotten to it. With some more probing my wife learned that all of this woman’s friends were divorced and were egging her on. When the woman left she had changed her mind on divorcing him, but given her choice of friends I suspect she might have reversed course again and gone through with it. I also wouldn’t blame her husband for not wanting her back. How could he ever trust her again? The words from the divorced woman’s blog could well be what she is saying to herself today:
I didn’t have the strength of character to make it through the demanding years of our childrens’ teenage and college years. If I had endured those tough years, I would now have a companion to come home to, to eat dinner with, to go to a movie, travel, and grow old with. I do all of those things alone now. Seven years after the divorce, I still miss him.
Another woman has him as a husband and best friend now and he has forgotten me. Good for him.
The primary reason women gave in response to my post on movies like EPL being tacky was that women were too smart to be influenced by the media’s ever present drumbeat selling them divorce. But this simply isn’t true. Happily married women are influenced by this message and the messages they receive from their peers. This is why divorce is catchy in a social group. Dana shared the example of her own mother being influenced by the pro divorce messaging on the comments section at Hawaiian Libertarian’s blog:
My stupid f***** baby boomer mother called me after the announcement of al gore’s divorce to tell me she was going to divorce my dad (41 YEARS of marriage) and LITERALLY pointed to an article about baby boomer women divorcing to back herself up. thank god i talked her out of it
At least that story has a happy ending. I raised the question before of the authenticity of the blog I quoted in the beginning. I have to say I really hope it isn’t real. But even then, from the data the AARP found her story is far closer to the norm of what happens to women who frivolously divorce than anything the media sells them.