In 4th grade I visited a friend’s house after school to have snacks, rollerblade in his long driveway, and hang out with the neighborhood kids. While I was there, I met my friend’s stepfather. I didn’t quite understand the concept. My friend had to explain divorce to me, and how his family worked.
Social relationships are incredibly complex, and I can’t say that growing up in a divorced family is necessarily worse than growing up in a household with committed parents. But it’s my conviction that, in general, children who go through divorce experience insecurity, distrust, and a lack of faith that changes their view of relationships (with friends, family, and significant others) for the rest of their lives. They may not be willing to fully invest in other people, to trust them, to give selflessly and to stand by their friends, family, and significant others, and community in a deeper and more profound way.
With any relationship where commitment is involved, time passes, and a history is developed.
In the movie “Shall We Dance?“, Susan Sarandon’s character testifies to the power and meaning of commitment, specifically with regards to marriage:
We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
People are, by our nature, social creatures. We develop identities and a sense of self based on relationships. I am Stewart Jason McCoy and cognizant of this fact based on my memory of my relationships with people and how they’ve influenced me as a person.
With committed relationships you develop a sense of stability and security because you have another person to witness your story. They provide you with validity, with a sense of self worth. They are a reminder that you have a place in this world and that people depend on you and care for you.
In the majority of long-term relationships, there comes a crisis point in which two people have to decide to move on, or to remain committed and work through their differences and reconcile their expectations for the relationship.
I’m a firm believer in reconciliation. Besides situations in which their has been adultery, or one partner is suffering physical or psychological trauma because of the relationship, I believe their a few situations that cannot and should not be moved passed.
This conviction stems from growing up in a family where there were situations in which “divorce” was screamed across the living room, or up the stairs. It’s a terrifying word. What did it mean? What were the implications? Luckily, I haven’t witnessed divorce in my immediate or extended family. And because of that, I’ve seen the kind of relationships that grow and blossom with time. They evolve and partners continually redefine the boundaries of their relationship.
These days, committed relationships seem to be more rare. You hear this statistic all the time: in the U.S., the divorce rate is 50%.
Below I’ve reblogged an article entitled “We All Married the Wrong Person”.
The highlights for me:
…many people will put only so much effort into a relationship, then say, “I’ve done enough.” But very few of us will do that with our children. “Instead, we say despite their flaws, we wouldn’t want anyone else; yet, our kids can be much more of a pain in the ass than our spouses.”
Even the couples who remain married don’t describe themselves as completely happy with each other, he adds, but rather committed to one another.
That choice to work on the relationship can lead to a more profound, meaningful experience together.
Here’s the article that sparked my train of thought above:
via Marriage Gems