Have you ever noticed that women's favourite conversation topic is how pathetic men are at household tasks? We're constantly berating them for not knowing how to dress the children so that they are color coordianted, not knowing how to pack kids' lunches, not knowing to take sunscreen when you go to the beach.
I'm not sure if men talk about women's lack of knowledge about cars or plumbing in the same way, but I do believe that we women are very hard on men, giving the impression that most of us believe that the world would be a much better place if we were all women and there were no men.
And so, with that in mind, I bring you this pathetic article from a "happily married" woman who claims she still dreams of divorce, as do all women (yeah, right). I'll let her speak for herself
Still, beneath the thumpingly ordinary nature of our marriage --Everymarriage --runs the silent chyron of divorce. It's the scarlet concept, the closely held contemplation of nearly every woman I know who has children who have been out of diapers for at least two years and a husband who won't be in them for another 30. It's the secret reverie of a demographic that freely discusses postpartum depression, eating disorders, and Ambien dependence (often all in the same sentence) with the plain candor of golden brown toast. In a let-it-all-hang-out culture, this is the given that stays tucked in.
This is the Mid-Wife Crisis.
Mind you, when I say Mid-Wife Crisis, I mean the middle-of-married-life kind, not the kind where you go to Yale to learn how to legally brandish a birthing stool. As one girlfriend remarked, it's the age of rage -- a period of high irritation that lasts roughly one to two decades. As a colleague e-mailed me, it's the simmering underbelly of resentment, the 600-pound mosquito in the room. At a juncture where we thought we should have unearthed some modicum of certainty, we are turning into the Clash. If I go will there be trouble? If I stay will it be double? Should I stay or should I go?
That "mid-wife" crisis she points to around the late thirties early forties, exactly the demographic I'm in. Perhaps it's perimenopausal, but she says most women are just irritated by their men.
I recently stood by as a clothing designer, a mother in her 40s, announced to a group of women that she was divorcing her husband. The women's faces flickered with curiosity, support, recognition, and -- could it be? -- yearning. Not a one of us suggested that she try harder to make it work. No voice murmured, "What a shame."
Because it isn't a shame. Divorce is no longer the shame that spits stain upon womanly merit. Conventional wisdom decrees that marriage takes work, but it doesn't take work, it is work. It's a job -- intermittently fulfilling and annoying, with not enough vacation days. Divorce is a job too (with even fewer vacation days). It's a matter of weighing your options.
We women are lying to ourselves. If you're in the position where you are irritated by your husband, and you think getting out sounds so freeing, you are missing the boat.
I don't mean to minimize the heartache that you may be feeling, but being alone is not easy. It is expensive. It is a lot of work. And it is lonely.
In Linda Waite & Maggie Gallagher's book A Case for Marriage, they devote each chapter to another benefit that marriage has. And those benefits are enormous. Married women are wealthier, healthier, and happier. They are less likely to be abused. They are less likely to be victims of crime. They live longer. They are more likely to achieve orgasm and much more likely to have a satisfying sex life. Their children are more likely to be well-adjusted, to go on to post-secondary education, and to marry well themselves.
Yes, divorce has lost a lot of its shame. But that, in itself, is a shame. Marriage, when we work at it, is one of the best things on earth. It teaches us to be holy, happy, and generous. It stretches us. And it gives us an identity.
That last one shouldn't sound like such a bad thing. Part of my identity is in being Keith's wife, and I'm happy about that. It doesn't make me less of a person. It makes us together more of an entity.
And that's what we are. You can't pull us apart, even though we had a rip-roaring fight last night when we were both tired and I know feel very silly over. More on that later. And we're all fine again.
So don't dream of divorce. The grass is not greener. People are trying to sell you something, to tell you that independence is the greatest god in this world. It's not. Independence means you are alone. There is something beautiful about interdependence, and it's too bad we're trashing that so much today.
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