Do anyone really know anything about how to create and maintain a strong marriage?
Recently several bloggers I've been reading for years have announced their separations. I won't claim to have any personal relationship or connection with these people other than reading their blogs. I'm also not one who thinks that because you write about some aspects of your life means that you're not being honest or authentic if you don't blog about every aspect of your life. Even people who share their lives publicly have rights to privacy.
But still, I was shocked. In each case.
I am the child of divorced parents. Sure my parents didn't separate/divorce until I was in my late teens, but I was my mother's confidante far too young to have any illusions about the stability of their marriage for the many years leading up to it's inevitable demise. So I guess I figured that I was a bit of an expert on what bad, failing marriages look like: the extremely limited communication; the years of uncorrected miscommunication; the lack of honesty - at times straight-up dishonesty; the constant inappropriate disparaging comments made to children about the other parent; the utter absence of affection; the hostile silences shared far more often than laughter; the walls of emotional distance erected and wielded as weapons of offense and defence, etc.
Basically, my parents did their best to avoid confronting and addressing their issues for the entire 18 years they were married. So I think I'd just assumed that people who made concerted efforts to identify and fix the weaknesses in their relationship were the ones that succeeded in having a solid, healthy marriage. That the secret to marital stability was to embrace the opposite path to the one that my parents took. To ask the serious questions. To truly listen to the answers. To seek professional assistance if/when necessary. In essence, to act like the emotionally-mature adult examples we want to set for our kids.
But perhaps there really are no "As" for effort. And that is really, really scary to me.
Edited to add: I'd read this piece before and was remind of it recently. Though I'm thankfully not having any marital issues (that I know of), it does give you something to think about in terms of what may often really be behind a divorce.