Email me if you have something to say. I like you.

 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh, the Facebooks...

The other day, I composed a tactful email (which, with my limited social skills was probably not at all tactful), to find out if a long married friend was separated. Why? Because Facebook declared she was "no longer listed as married." In fact Facebook, the worst marriage counselor evah, draws up a separation agreement every time she changes something on her profile, like hometown or education. Although changing your hometown without informing your spouse is one way to get separated, it's not the most mature.

My husband and I are at the age when friends start getting divorced. It's sad, even when it's the best decision for all parties concerned. When I hear about a separation, I pray they'll either work things out or divorce as peacefully as possible if it's meant to be. Any honest person who's been married long enough knows that separation can happen - "but for the grace of God" and all that. Marriage and parenting humble you like nothing else in the world.

Most married people are aware that no one really knows what happens in a marriage but the people in it. Sometimes they don't even know. I won't ever ask or attempt to answer the question "What happened?" about another couple. Life happened - and certainly not in the way they expected. People who ask that question really want to know if there was cheating and with whom. Am I the only person that reads women's magazines? Cheating is the symptom, not the cause, y'all! And it isn't your business, unless you were one of the parties involved. And obsessing over what other people do when they're alone is creepy, so drop it.

If you want to help, take a casserole. When someone dies, everyone brings food. When I had a miscarriage, several meals appeared on my doorstep, along with several bottles of oh-so-recently forbidden wine. When someone has a baby, in comes the casserole and banana bread. New house? Brownies. Like any of those events, separation is a huge transition. Change, whether happy or sad, is stressful. Basics like food and housekeeping sneak up on you. I suspect no one wants to take a casserole to the newly unpartnered because it's awkward. We don't want to call attention to it. Truly, there's no shame in separation or divorce. Aren't sadness, resentment and loneliness enough? No reason to heap shame on top of those. Most couples have carefully considered their choices, even if they didn't talk to you about it. What seems impulsive to an outsider has been a long time coming, maybe even the duration of the marriage. Human error and all that. There's a pretty big luck component in relationships that last, isn't there?

No matter how ready someone is to be free of a marriage, they're still minus a household member. Even if that household member stunk. Even if that household member never helped with cleaning or childcare. Even if all they did was fight. A newly separated parent might rather hug her children and take extra time helping with homework than cook. She might want to cry until dinner time. She (or he, I know) might not be used to cooking with children underfoot. So don't be shy, take a bowl of pasta and a salad. Throw in a bottle of wine and stick around for a glass. If it's your friend's night off from children, ask her out to dinner. Being home alone takes a lot of getting used to. From all accounts, separation is time consuming and difficult, so take a casserole. Or a pot of chili. Or a chicken pot pie. Or pizza. Other than that, mind your own business.

Namasté, y'all!

P.S. If you see this whole entry as an attempt to receive lots of free food if I ever get separated, you are one smart cookie. In fact, my marriage is solid at the moment, but why don't you make me a sandwich, just in case? I like roast beef.

7 comments:

Suz said...

Amen!

(To all of it.)

Anonymous said...

You, dear unknown person, are a treasure.

I turned my friend on to your blog (that I stumbled on) a few months ago, and because of how we constantly relate to your writings, we both swear you are are best friend! That friend of mine called me today to tell me she left her husband of 20+ years this weekend.

You've got a valuable gift of being able to connect (to hearts) that pays no mind to the confines of space and time.

Many thanks and blessings...

Anonymous said...

Correction: "... are our best friend!"

UGH!

Annie said...

Dear Suz - thanks for the Amen!

And Dear Anonymous - Awww...you just made me all teary...and we are friends. My thoughts are with your friend. Take her some banana bread and a casserole for me - or a yummy leek, Brie and mushroom quiche.

Blog O' Beth said...

We're at that stage too and I hate it. We've had some very good friends get separated, get divorced, navigate thru an affair only to later reconcile. It is all so horrid. Whenever I hear something like this I feel like I'm ten years old again and I just want to bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening.

localgirl said...

I'm there, too. It makes me so sad for all involved.

atomicblonde said...

*sigh*...I loved this one. We're pretty young and new to the marriage game, but we've already had several friends separate who've been married 2 years or less. I like what you say about shame, or the lack thereof...there's enough shame going around without us adding to the pot.