Monday, August 3, 2009

Blaming marriage problems as excuse for failure


LET'S say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You're still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other's eyes in candlelit city bistros when you were single and skinny — have for the most part come true.

Two decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You're the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You've done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing.

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever did. I'm moving out. The kids will understand. They'll want me to be happy."

But wait. This isn't the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It's a story about hearing your husband say "I don't love you anymore" and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.[...]


  1. Beautiful article. I'm still trying to figure out how it may be relevant to any of the topics typically covered on your blog, though. Regardless, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Just an example of commonsense winning out of the views of experts

  3. This sounds a lot like what happened between me and my wife a few years ago. I didn't have the sense that the author of this article has to remain calm, but after a (wild) year it did blow over, and things seem better than ever.

    You said it, common sense. And realizing the value of marriage.

  4. “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”


    I don’t understand how anyone can truly convince themselves of such a thing if they did in fact, at one point in the marriage, love their spouse. Can a person project their issues onto someone else to the point that they delude themselves into believing something which is not true? Telling a spouse that they were never loved is pretty severe!

  5. the Monsey TzadikAugust 4, 2009 at 6:07 AM

    There two researchers/writers Michele Weiner and John Gottman (the love lab professor) who advocate similar approach to people facing divorce or separation.

    John Guttman is the professor from University of Washington who can interview couples in city hall applying for marriage certificates for 15 minutes and predict who will divorce 5 years later. .

  6. To me, it sounds as if the husband had a mistress, then she dumped him, and them he was "thankfull to have a family".

    Unfortunately, she this not disclose if this was the case.

    But if I were a man, that's exactely the kind of propaganda I would love:

    If your husband has a little affair on the side, don't blame him, don't divorce, just act as if nothing happened, and he will come back to you, and the family will be happily reunited. And at the next occasion, he will be able to do it even without the bad conscience he had the first time (and the third time, it is already a Mitzveh)...

    My experience: if he did it once, he will do it again, the more you forgive the bolder he will become.

    bottom line: no, I don't think this examplary, and I don't think they should get away with everything they want.

  7. EY: what is a "wild year"?
    Did it involve extramarital affairs?
    (Just for statistic's sake.)

  8. Shoshi,

    Interesting. Call me naive, but the possibility of an affair being involved in the story depicted in the article didn't even occur to me until you mentioned it.

  9. Shoshi,

    By 'wild' I meant in terms of separation, court cases, a big fight.

    Like Chizki, I'm still pretty 'naive' even after going through what I did.

  10. Shoshi,

    Look at this cartoon:

    There's a whole divorce culture and divorce industry out there, and a lot of people have what to gain from convincing people that divorce is the answer to all their problems. Sometimes divorce is the answer, but an attitude which starts with lots of respect for marriage like the woman in the article seems to have seems to be the way to avoid mistakes which are very costly.

  11. Well, perhaps you are not burned. I have such cases in my family.

  12. The question is:
    would it make a difference if cheating is involved or not?

    In fact, I think her Etzot are quite fine in the case there was no cheating involved.
    However, if cheating was involved, I would judge it differently.

    That's why I think it is a pity that she doen't tell us, she just states mysteriously "We’ve since had the hard conversations." Whatever this might mean.


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