How many times in the past year have you heard of a marriage falling apart, a family disintegrating, a future destroyed?
“Too many, Heidi. Too many.”
Well, that should be your answer because it’s the truth. And if it isn’t your answer either you a) have no friends b) live in a bubble c) are a liar.
It’s frightening, this war on family and marriage. How are we supposed to survive when so many are going down in flames?
If statistics are to be taken seriously — and let’s be honest, after last November we are all a little cynical — less than half of us will end up, old and wrinkly, holding hands with the same spouse who walked us down the aisle.
Remarriage for women, as we age, becomes less and less likely. Should we get started talking about the cost of child support? On both sides? What about how alimony can financially cripple either party’s ability to provide for a second family. It doesn’t happen or it takes too much of the paycheck.
Simply? It makes sense to just stay married. Especially for us, ladies.
Especially for us.
That’s you and me, darlin’. You and me. We’ve already invested our perky selves, baby-making hips, and the “looks cute in a two-piece” years. We’ve given them to the man we wake up to and the children we make dinner for and unless we are careful, that investment might not pay off.
I know I want to reap the rewards of that investment.
I’ve earned those rewards. There is no way I want to jeopardize where I end up and how I live because I didn’t have the courage or willingness to pursue my marriage and family with integrity now. Before the hurricanes and menopausal tornadoes.
See, to be blunt, we don’t fare well in the re-marriage market as only 25% of women who are divorced in their 30’s-40’s actually remarry. Men will generally marry at a rate closer to 50% but, even then, they aren’t looking at our Match.Com profiles. They tend to marry women far younger than themselves the second time and, well, that rather gives a raspberry to both our aging marketability and our chances at second time marital bliss.
Seriously. 25%. I don’t like those odds.
Have you seen the dating market for women our age? Have you seen the dudes interested in us? How many of those men would want a ready-made family and a whole set of busted up luggage? How many of those men would you want around your 14-year-old daughter or raising your little boys?
Hollywood says women can do anything and have anything no matter what they look like or what mess they’ve made of their lives. But Hollywood also uses CGI to make dead people talk so we know they’re a bunch of liars anyway.
When it all boils down and we are left with the goop in the bottom of the pan, it seems wiser to just hang on to the 41% chance that I get to be one of the women who can hold on to her husband and intact family for the long haul. At least as much as it is in my power to do so.
Don’t feel like you have power? Oh, I disagree. Strongly. We have so much power. We have no idea how much power we have.
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Not someone else. Our parents. Poor upbringing. Unfortunate financial woes. Not our husbands.
Us. XX chromosome. PMS and feel good cries. Just the whole deal of womanhood. Us.
We build up or tear down our own houses.
These aren’t bungalows and cottages that I’m talking about. We don’t use hammers and nails or crowbars and chainsaws here but, I’m afraid we do a lot of housework. And for many of us? Given the destruction of marriages?
We are doing it all wrong.
I’m not currently writing to the ladies who build up. Not yet. This is to the sisters who bulldoze their own security and future. Shingle by shingle. Tear by manipulating tear. Guilt trips by angry blaming.
Every day, systematically destroying their homes, one snark, one bitterness, one resentment at a time the foundation crumbles until there is nothing left to preserve. Nothing left to fight for or hold on to.
I don’t have to make a list, we are familiar with the usual suspects. Anger, resentment, bitterness, defensiveness, and arrogance. No one needs to be convinced those elements are at the heart of poor choices. Toxic to our warmth and hospitality.
But we justify. We excuse our failures. When we are at church thinly masking our dishonor of our spouse with a carefully worded prayer request or trying to explain our behavior to our friends… Maybe we spend too much time searching for a friendly ear when we believe we’ve been horribly “wronged”.
But there really is no limit to the depths of ugliness in the human heart. Have you thought about how disrespect and comparison, victimhood, and slander can pull down your house?
What about isolation and exclusion?
See, we can’t fix those with fortune cookies or coffee dates with the girls. Those are real issues with real life consequences.
We have grown up women who need to stop blaming everyone else for their broken houses.
It’s time to quit pretending our status quo is all there can ever be.
Get your gloves on, girlfriend. It’s time to work on the house.