As some of you know, I am twice divorced and I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked what happened. Only natural I suppose. The simple answers:
With marriage number one, I was way too young. I was 21 and yes, my parents, especially my mother, tried to talk me out of it but how do you dissuade an all-knowing, all-stubborn-just-come-out-of-my-teens person not to marry the person she loves? It will be alright, I kept telling her. Anyway by 22 I was playing mummy, wife and student. There were many other factors that I can now see, that did contribute to the demise of marriage number one.
Marriage two didn't stand a chance. It started all wrong. I met him when I was going through a very acrimonious divorce from husband number one and he seemed to be my knight in shining armour. The foundation was wrong. The circumstances were wrong. My mindset was wrong. So I ignored what wasn't working from day one. It will be alright, I kept telling myself. It caught up with us later though.
Now, here's the thing, in March this year, I will be travelling to Kenya with my daughters to go celebrate my mum and dad's 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years!
They got married when my mum was 18 and my dad 25/26. By the time my mum was 25 she had all 5 of us. She was employed full time and for a while there had no help at home.
What I remember of their marriage was a mixture of really good times as a family and times when there were constant loud arguments in the nights.
We were fortunate enough to be able to travel every holiday as a family, sometimes with friends, sometimes just us. We went to private schools, had nice houses and new big cars. But at times, I felt that I could easily have given all that up if the arguments and whispers about who had done what to whom would just stop.
But under the same breath, not only did they never, ever disrespect one another in public, but they always put on a united front when it came to us. My dad always demanded that we respect our mother.
They always did something special for one another on their birthdays and anniversaries even when a couple of days before they had been engaged in a bitter row over something we didn't even understand.
I remember my mum telling us recently that one time when they were going through a really bad patch, she packed her bags and us and drove back to her parents' home. Upon arrival, her mother, my grandmother, called her to the side, said something to her and my mum turned around, took us all back home and never tried to pull that stunt again.
To this day, she won't tell us what her mum said - I promise to keep trying to find out though.
50 years! I respect that a whole lot, especially when you have been part of it and seen that at times it was touch and go.
Today, it does concern me when I visit some online forums or speak with friends and family and they talk of wanting to leave their marriage because they are bored, because he doesn't do much in the house, because she has become boring ever since having children. Basically because things are settling down, things are changing and the whole high on love feeling is dissipating.
50 years? Is that possible to achieve with our generation?
Despite my two divorces or maybe because of them, I take marriage very, very seriously. I take your marriage seriously.
So I ask you do we take to divorce like a duck to water? Do we give up too easily and too quickly once the problems and changes begin to permeate into our relationships?
It's a genuine question to you because I actually, really don't know.
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