Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Dislocated Marriage

It's no secret that more and more marriages are ending in divorce.  It's often quoted that you have a 50% chance of making it these days.  It's difficult to get statistics on this but the government does say that from the census it is evident that there are roughly twice the number of marriages as divorces in a year.  Any way you say it or look at it though, the numbers are too high!

Divorce changes everything!  It changes you, your partner and your children.  It makes you into different people.  Many people say that divorce makes them happier but I wouldn't say that that's true.  I do think initially, when you are living in a miserable and damaged marriage, then remove yourself from that situation there is a feeling of relief.  I would liken it to a dislocated arm.  I, thankfully, have never had this happen to me but my husband has had issues with dislocation and I am familiar with the effect.  When an appendage is out of joint it causes immense pain and it limits your movement.  I think a damaged marriage is like this.  It causes a lot of pain and it limits your everyday life by becoming all consuming.  You're emotions are so caught up in problems at home it always with you, right there in the back of your head, drawing your attention to the negative every time there is a pause in activity.  The arm needs to be set.  Many times people think of divorce as the only method of "setting" a dislocated marriage.  Many people say that when an arm or leg is set it is intensely painful and then immediately, the instant it is back in joint there is an immense feeling of relief.  In many marriages today divorce is the option used for getting that relief and setting the relationship. 

The problem is, just setting a limb doesn't mean that it is totally fixed and as good as it was before.  My husband has had his knee dislocated and the effects of that are lasting.  His knee is not as strong as it was, it becomes more prone to dislocation in the future, arthritis can set in and his knee hurts if he does to much walking or kneels down to much.  It will never be the same.  It's the same with divorce.  You can remove yourself from the relationship but the emotional damage will still effect you, you are more prone to future divorce, your personality is changed and the relationship can still cause pain.

With any injury, you give it the best chance of recovery by taking care of things the right way.  I think divorce is like setting the shoulder, expecting it to fix everything and then moving on like normal.  I would compare the rehabilitation of a marriage to the proper rehabilitation process.  Divorce is more like set it and forget it.   

When I looked up rehabilitation for a shoulder dislocation and found that it goes in 2 phases.  The first is wearing a sling and being careful not to irritate the injured aria by moving it in certain way.  I would compare this to finding support for your marriage.  People that might have been through some similar things to you and improved their situation can be a fantastic resource.  They can point you to materials that can help resolve some of the main issues you have and encourage you to work through the problems.  Reading books on the topics that are of the most concern to your situation are another method of support.  Avoiding further injury would be like taking a rest from some of the most soar spots of your marriage.  For instance, if sex is a soar spot it might be a good time to agree to a bit of a time of abstinence so that no one feels pressured and that you don't cause greater damage due to something that is a sensitive to one or both partners. 

Phase 2 is physiotherapy and exercise.  This I would compare to counseling and talking through the problems and issues our marriage is faced with.  Just like with physical physiotherapy there will be a lot of pain involved!  It hurts to try and build back muscle and function in a limb that has been dislocated but in the long run the recovery is much more complete and the function of the limb is as close to normal as possible.  It's the same with a marriage.  If you don't take a good look at the problems in a marriage and avoid the pain of digging into them and sorting out a workable solution for both of you the marriage will never be the same.  It will never be as supportive and loving as it could be if you both confront your fears and annoyances and find a way to work together. 

I think we could all agree that the solution for a dislocated shoulder is not to just stop using that arm for the rest of your life.  In the same way the solution for a dislocated marriage is not to simply avoid the emotional baggage you and your spouse have.  The best chance you both have for being whole and healed people is to delve into the issues you are experiencing and actually do the work of resolving those problems.  Yes, divorce will remove some of the pain but it will hobble you emotionally in the process.  If you want to be able to have healthy and fulfilling relationships in the future you will have to do the emotional work at some point.  To me it just makes sense to fix it right the first time around. 

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