Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If it's the last thing you do...

I was recently speaking with a psychologist.  In my line of work, I do that often.  He and I were debating othe merits of divorce.

He was adamantly opposed to divorce.  "Divorce should be the last option," he told me.

After more discussion/debate, he admitted that he, himself, was divorced and remarried.  "I got it right the second time," he said.  But he didn't take his divorce lightly.  He worked through everything he could think of before he fiinally threw in the towel.  "I wanted to tell my little girl I had tried everything."

He had tried everything?  But he was divorced?  If he had tried everything surely he would have tried suffering for the rest of his existence. 

Saying that divorce should be the last option is very much like finding something in the last place you looked.  Of course it's the last place you looked.  Why would you go on looking elsewhere once you found it?  And of course, divorce is the last option since it's the last option you choose.  It was the last option the psychologist chose.  You don't tend to choose other options to work out your marriage after your divorce. 

But the point is, everyone has their own strategy for looking for things.  And everyone has their own internal, perhaps undiscovered list of options to try before they choose divorce.  For the psychologist to argue that divorce is bad, that it shouldn't happen and that he only divorced as his "last option," is only sanctimonious "holier than thou".  Only the fellow who suffers for the rest of his existence can make this proclamation with righteousness.  Everyone else needs to eat some humble pie and stop the hypocrisy.

Some folks leave at the first sign of trouble.  Maybe they aren't that committed or maybe they aren't that into suffering.  Some folks stick it out a while longer.  Maybe they have more faith, maybe they have more hope or maybe they have more tolerance.  Some folks hang in there even longer.  Maybe they never say die or maybe they have a streak of martyrdom.  Maybe they are a little into masochism, too.  But everyone chooses their own level of endurance.  It must be so.

And marriage involves a fair degree of endurance.  The test, it seems to me is, is the harmony better than the hassle?  If it is, you make that music together.  If it isn't, it's time to sing solo for awhile, maybe even start another duet.  (Some folks are really out there and get a whole chorus going.)

And my personal experience is that the awareness that you can make daily choices makes your daily choice to remain committed that much more fresh and new or renewed.  And if that isn't your choice, perhaps it's time to try to "get it right the second time," just like the psychologist.  Or the third.  Or the fourth...

The point is, you don't quit.  You don't lay down and die.  You live, fully, another day.

May you live fully each day.  May your music be beautiful.

Michael Manely

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