This I Believe

Lorraine - New York, New York
Entered on April 15, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, love
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I believe that people who want to be married, stay married; and those who don’t find a way out.

I have been married for 21 years and we have been together for 28. People often ask me — some sincerely, other sarcastically – “What’s your secret?” There is no secret. There are no magic words. No sure fire behavior that will keep things together; only the desire to want to keep going, as the saying goes, for better or for worse.

Divorce is not easy. It is hurtful and painful and scary. I have seen my share. Infidelity and abuse are I believe the top two reasons. Then there’s, “We grew apart,” or “We fell out of love.”

I’m not advocating people should stay together no matter what. But I think many marriages that end in divorce do so, not because there’s anything wrong with marriage, but because the people who got married really didn’t want it in the first place, or they did so for the wrong reasons. And there are plenty of those: society puts a great deal of pressure on people to be married and have a family. Others get married for financial security or because they just don’t want to be alone.

But with so many valid reasons (the aforementioned abuse or infidelity) to get divorced, how come so many stay together? What’s that statistic people are always quoting? Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. That means that fifty percent stay in tact. Why? Simply because they want to.

Some people just have a strong desire to make the marriage last, and they are willing to do so matter who calls their intelligence or self-esteem into question.

No one wants to marry a criminal, but some women do and they wait for his release to start anew. I knew a couple who let a third party come between them. They got back together and moved to another state to start over. There are women who are brutalized, yet the give the man another chance to redeem himself. And there are those who look across the breakfast table and yawn, and not because it’s morning. Still, they stay, find their own interests or find a way to reconnect with the men they once loved.

They are not better or worse off than those who leave for a fresh start. People who stay married just believe that they can get the fresh start from within rather than going outside; that sometimes the grass is not greener, just taller and with a different color hair.

The desire to be married is very potent (more than love or sex) and as long as it exists people will endure anything.