It wasn’t that long ago that I woke up and realized that it didn’t matter to me what other people thought of my marriage. While it’s fairly normal for married people to vent their frustrations to others in private, I had people telling me to give up, to leave and that my husband wasn’t worth it.
And I listened.
I listened because I have never known what other marriages are like. My parents had a turbulent relationship growing up and that was the example I had. Disney movies and rom-coms teach us that every relationship should be slightly dysfunctional in some way and that is how you know he’s the one for you and it’s right.
That is not the truth.
Every marriage has problems. Everyone fights, everyone has grievances and resentments, but the fact is that no one should have any influence over your decision to stay or go but you and your spouse.
I stopped talking to people. And while I may stay for ridiculous reasons, I stay and they are MY reasons.
I had a husband who came home from war not wanting to be around me anymore. He never checked back into our life together and he never included me in anything ever again. Foolishly, as a young newlywed who had just spent a year waiting for his return, I grabbed on tighter. I held on to him as if my life depended on it.
Forcing someone to stay married is not going to make you happy. They will feel trapped and you will simply feel more despondent and depressed then ever. And I did. And I do. And I made that mistake over and over for five years.
But, I did, at the minimum, stop talking to those who didn’t know the true inner workings of my marriage. Advice is just that and it’s hard to give truly objective advice when you are only hearing the bemoaning’s of a broken heart.
So I stopped talking to people. I stopped telling them when I was angry, hurt, or frustrated. I simply lived in silence alone.
I do not have a partner. And, true to any situation, there are two people at fault. Myself and my husband.
So, I live largely alone in both the physical and emotional sense.
I have not felt loved or cared for in five years. He has felt trapped for nearly as long. And the worse things got the worse we both held onto our convictions that things would get better by repeating the same behaviors. The more we repeated the behaviors the more people were likely to tell us to get divorced, which is why listening to outside perspectives for an internal issue is not the wisest of ideas unless it’s a professional.
We are both at fault for the situation we are in with no clear path on how to stumble back out. We are both angry, resentful, and full of reasons we don’t want to keep trying. Love might truly be the only thing that keeps us both here fighting day in and out (quite literally). But love is not enough and we are at the tell tale part of the sonnet where true love will either be requited or fail. A trapping that neither of us understands how to navigate or how to gain a specific outcome.
Most people are happily married. We never go the chance to be. External forces of war and duty intervened before we had a chance to even establish the most basic footings of marriage. He has always been a selfish man and I have always been too determined for my own good. Neither of which makes for a very desired partner. He simply became more selfish as things went wrong and I became more determined to make it work whether he wanted it to or not.
Again, you can see the faults of both and the human trappings of two young people who didn’t know what else to do.
Six years in, we are barely friends. We barely speak unless to fight. We barely have any semblance of a relationship. He has longs since lost my trust and I have long since pushed a man who didn’t want to be forced into anything.
So, in a marriage such as this, what is the right answer? I don’t know that there is one. We can band together and fight for our marriage as partners, if that is possible. We can call it quits and accepted that we had neither the tools nor understanding to maintain a successful marriage. Or we can continue along, apathetically living life, mutually indifferent to our relationship. There are any number of possibilities and hypotheticals and I don’t know that any hold any true answer as to what the right thing to do is.
The right thing for some is not for others. Which is why marriage advice sought at the hands of a friend rather than an impartial third party is likely to get you nowhere. Especially in a world where divorce is common.
The Marine Corps has the highest divorce rate of any branch of the military. Couples where one gets diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder are significantly more likely to get divorced than their healthy counterparts with a divorce rate of 75% vs 50% . We are unfortunate enough to have both situations working against us and no good answers.
In the end, it led to anger and apathy towards a relationship we pledged to be devoted to and a wealth of people encouraging each individual separately to give up. I would give anything to have the answer. But the most I can do is acknowledge that both parties are to blame for a broken marriage, but neither has any clue how to fix it.