Grow old along with me?

My parents, who are in their 60’s, are recently separated and beginning the process of divorce.  Imagining your children’s grandparents divorcing is so odd and very difficult for me to wrap my head around at times.  How often does that happen?  Call me crazy, but I have to imagine that most people would think that once a married couple has made it past their 40th wedding anniversary, that they were in it for life.  Right?  As uncommon as it may seem, it is not that big of a surprise to me.  The biggest surprise is that my mother waited so long.

My mother is very active and my father prefers to sit at home all day.  She wants to travel, he does not.  My father quit being the man she married.  No, he’s not sick, he’s not disabled, he just chose a different path.  For years and years, they have basically lived separate lives, each doing their own thing.  It was not until now, well into the second half of her life, that my mother finally found the courage to break free.  She no longer wants to live a life without a partner at her side to share and enjoy life’s experiences.  As much as my father is hurting, and as much as it hurts me, I respect and understand her decision.  I only hope that my father can understand that it is not fair and it is not love, to hold someone back from the life they want to live.

Ever since the day I entered into my second marriage, I have feared ending up like my mother.  As my married years quickly increase and my husband’s activity level quickly decreases, my fears rise.  We used to be active…TOGETHER.  Now, more and more, I go off on my own and he stays home.  This is not the man I married.  The man who now wears sweat pants 50% of the day, is not the man I married either.  I feel as if I’ve been duped at times.  Was it all for show?  Were all the, “Yes, honey, let’s do it!,” just to suck me in? Now that were married, does that mean we can just let it all hang out?  That is not what I had in mind.  I feel that when you love someone and yourself, the effort marriage takes comes naturally.  I feel there is very little effort going on these days and it makes me angry.

I am currently reading, “The Mastery of Love”, by Don Miquel Ruiz.  The author speaks about how couples with life long marriages speak as if they have survived something, like WWII, or the Great Depression.  It is rarely spoken about with love.  Of course they love one another in some sense of the word, but are long lived marriages supposed to feel like time served?  Marriages no doubt take effort, but in the end, I don’t want to feel like I survived something.  I don’t want to feel like I suffered so that in the end, I can proudly wear my Badge of Marriage.

I just want to happy like everyone else just wants to be happy.  The problem lies in hurting others to make yourself happy.  I suppose some of us do deserve a badge if they have chosen to “take one for the team.”  I, however, would never want to be the reason someone earned a badge.  Would you?

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