get married they make a promise to stay together, only to be parted
by death. They're in love, that's why they get married in the first
place. But making a promise if often far easier than keeping one,
and when you're talking in relation to the rest of your life is
it wise or even realistic to make promises at all?
When and if I ever get married, I would like to think that it really
would last forever. But then doesn't everyone who gets married think
like that? Maybe that's the problem, maybe people look at marriage
more as a 'here and now' situation these days rather than a 'till
Divorce is seen, from the outside at least, to be so easy now that
if your marriage does start to go wrong you could easily just walk
away from it, no harm done. But rarely has a lie ever been so well
disguised. Out of all the divorces there have been, it must be the
smallest fraction that have been as simple and painless as the parties
involved might have hoped.
In the past few weeks one of my closest friends has made the decision
to leave his wife. I'm not about to write about his reasons for
this, that stuff is of course deeply personal. But as his friend
I felt completely unqualified to help him deal with what must have
been the hardest most painful decision of his life. He is the second
of my friends to go through a marriage breakdown, but the first
who I have been significantly close to.
We chatted quite a bit before he made his decision. I knew there
had been rough patches before but nothing ever seemed this serious.
His tone was different, I could hear that this was putting him under
severe stress. There were children involved, children he loves dearly
and fears that he may lose touch with. There were feelings of failure,
and also a real loathing to break the heart of the woman he had
promised the rest of his life to. It was a dark place for anyone
The weight of his decision really played on my mind. I can't even
begin to imagine how hard that must be. There are so many considerations,
and not too many rosy outcomes either. Just how do you face a decision
like that? I know when he got married he was completely serious
about it, and now after 8 years or so he has to decide whether to
end it or not, to break the promise I know he meant to keep.
In all honesty his story scares me a little. I simply wouldn't
want to go though what he's going through. Divorce isn't like a
simple break up, and it gets even more complex when children are
We've talked about how he might feel when and if his wife gets
into a new relationship and also how she might react if he did.
You stand the risk of being at battle for the rest of your life
with your ex. Of becoming one of those bitter people who never seems
to let go or get passed the anger and disappointment of divorce.
The effect on Children is well documented of course, so that is
another consideration. You'll both have every intention of keeping
them out of it, but surely that is impossible, they're your children,
they're involved by default. They'll be hurt like victims of friendly
fire, and no matter what you do there is nothing you can do to prevent
Of course at this point my friend and his wife are still only separated
so perhaps all is not lost. But should be even look at it in terms
like that? Is it right to consider this a 'loss' as such. They had
a relationship and it didn't work out, they've had happy times and
now have children that they love too. So maybe thinking of this
as a loss or failure is an entirely wrong approach to the situation
from the start?
What is the answer? I just don't know. If my friend had stayed
around longer would that have helped? If he had tried harder would
that have helped? If he had just settled back and accepted his lot
in life would that have helped? People change, maybe more time would
have seen more change, maybe things could have turned around? In
reality you're ill equipped to make that decision for the rest of
your lives in the first place, so what makes you better equipped
to make another decision like that again?
In the situation of my friend I have little influence, and to be
honest I prefer it that way. I feel quite cowardly though. These
are such huge decisions he is making that I almost want nothing
to do with them so that I can't be blamed by anyone down the road
when something doesn't work out. Is this wrong? Am I being a bad
friend? I just don't know. Our lives are entirely different and
as much as I can listen to him, I can't really offer him any decent
advice because I have no experiences of similar magnitude to draw
Usually I'd wrap up now with a final paragraph tying up the lose
ends and coming to some kind of conclusion. But as I sit here staring
out of the window at the new green leaves on the tree outside I
realize that in this particular story of my friend, there is no
conclusion yet, and maybe there never will be.