‘Till Death Do Us Part’ or ‘Till The Kids Part’?

From Pininterest

As Jill Brooke points out, the words “Till Death Do Us Part” have defined how we look at marriage for generations. But in fact, they are five of the most polarizing words. “Why?” you may ask. Because if you look at the stats, almost 50 percent of you may not stay married to the person you are lovingly gazing at. Instead, there is a possibility you may get tangled in a divorce.

Don’t you think it is unrealistic to have the expectation that love will flourish for a lifetime that now runs into our 80’s and 90’s? We’re living longer than generations before us did, and “till death do us part” could mean 60 or even 70 years together instead of 20 or 30 years. It is very hard to fulfill that promise, till death to us part, for such a long time.

When a marriage lasts decades, it’s a gift, but no longer the norm. However, when people break up because they have had the expectation of forever, deep inside they feel like they failed.  Why do we focus on failure rather than acknowledging and celebrating the decades of success?

As Jill Brooke points out, it’s time to say what a success these marriages were for lasting as long as they did and accumulating memories and milestones.

Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean that you and your ex don’t have a relationship. It just means that it’s changed. You won’t stay married, but you will always be parents to your children. You will always carry your histories.

From http://cyndi10.hubpages.com

Stephanie Coontz, one of the great sages and scholars of relationships and the author of Marriage, A History, points out that “by having high expectations that marriage should last, we may work harder,” she said. “But studies have also shown that those people who have the strongest sense that marriage is sanctified and should last forever are most likely to see it as a failure and betrayal and have more anger and disappointment.”

From http://drhurd.com/

For Jill Brooke, second marriage has now lasted 15 years. “Till Death Do Us Part” were not in the vows. Why has this marriage worked? “Luck, compatibility, a commitment to family and each other,”she writes, “One big reason is that I don’t feel entitled, I feel grateful. That has helped me manage expectations and not take anything for granted, which I believe is essential for long term marriages to stay alive and thrive.”

So may be, as proposed by Vicki Larson, instead of wringing our hands about so-called gray divorces and seeing those long-term marriages as failures, perhaps we should consider marriage as more “till the kids part” than “till death do us part.” The partner we need in our 20s and 30s, when many of us are looking to settle down and raise kids, may not be the partner we need in our 50s, 60s and beyond, when we’re free to explore new passions or reinvigorate the ones we gave up when the kids came along.

Can’t we just be honest about that and move on?

From pinterest


29 thoughts on “‘Till Death Do Us Part’ or ‘Till The Kids Part’?

  1. Ajaytao2010 says:

    Nice post dear 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Glad that you liked it, Ajay. I thought some people might find it a bit controversial – it is hard to please everyone 😉

      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        No dear in reality it is the truth which you have projected about the institution of marriage and beliefs from centuries. Bravo it need strength and courage to even write that 🙂

        thank you dear although I am not married but still i understand very much about it 🙂

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Thanks for your supportive words, Ajay. Much appreciated 🙂

      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        🙂 🙂

  2. randomrose says:

    Was married 42 years then I left, divorced and haven’t been happier. Was the 42 years a waste? No, it was what it was. Three beautiful children and now four beautiful grandchildren. Ex and I don’t speak but we did for 42 years, that’s enough talk for two people 🙂
    Your post is well done, congratulations.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Wow, 42 years. I think you are a true hero. I’ll be very proud of myself, if I find enough topics for discussion with my spouse for 42 years 😉 Glad that you liked this post. All the best to you and your nearest and dearest 🙂

  3. mommyx4boys says:

    I am pretty old fashioned when it comes to values and morals, so I dont like the idea of divorce unless it is an absolute must, my husband and I have been together almost 14 years and while we dont always like each other the love is constant.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment. My parents were together for over 20 years and divorce was a truly healing experience for them. I wish they have done that earlier – it would be so much better for me and my brother. I described my family’s experience at https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/healing-through-divorce/

      At the same time like you I do believe that married people should do their best to maintain marriage unless it gets to a state, when divorce is unavoidable. I don’t see that notion to be old fashioned.

      In my view, the most important for marriage is not to turn into a bitterly painful unbreakable cage with no escape, where spouses start taking each other for granted without appreciating and truly caring about each other.

  4. Konstantina says:

    Strange but divorce made me a better person, although I believe that you have to fight for your relationship.. now. My ex husband is my best friend.

  5. Mélanie says:

    @” You won’t stay married, but you will always be parents to your children. You will always carry your histories.” – true, correct, exact, realistic, positive…
    * * *
    I guess that after 20-30 years of marriage(common life), the main key question would/should be: do you wanna grow old with me, too?… since we’ve already lived together for quite a while… 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      True, Melanie. Very good question regarding growing older together and different couples might come with different answers to that question. The most important in my view is to avoid turning marriage into unbreakable cage. Once it becomes a cage with no escape, people might start taking each other for granted, without appreciating each other. Marriage should be a happy loving experience, not a bitterly painful one.

  6. wow -what an awesome post. Very intelligently linked up with source(s). as well. Nice job!. I needed this so badly, because me and my ex have an eleven year old, she is still so bitter – and it is bizarre, because, the ending of our marriage was because, obviously, stuff with me & her – but also coinciding with released [unfortunately] addictions/mental illness peaking / getting-diagnosed-finally. anyway, great post – so true and people need to see this viewpoint, because it is helpful. 😉

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Glad that you found this post helpful. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and both me and my brother felt a huge relief when their marriage was all over. Looking back, I think it would have been better for everyone in the family if they separated earlier. Divorce can be healing – at least, it was for my family to some extent. I described my family’s experience at https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/healing-through-divorce/ Thought, you might find this post helpful too.

  7. Willy Nilly says:

    I like this in many ways, not that I’m a fan of divorce, but it provides an escape route that doesn’t place a permanent stain on one’s mind that says, I failed, and look at the damage I caused. Instead, it gives hope of recovery and acceptance. For me, like many others, my growth to a healthy relationship was made possible, unfortunately, by the lessons of failed ones. My wife and I have been together for 25 years. When we married she told me no divorce, only an autopsy. Somehow, that helped me focus on resolving issues that put us at odds and up to this point the autopsy hasn’t been necessary.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Very glad for both of you. 25 years – that’s a big milestone. I wish you lots more happy years together, full of laughter and smiles (and no autopsies 😉 )

  8. satzie says:

    I understand the good intentions in the post to be optimistic in divorce and breakups, how expectations could make us frustrated and disappointed, how feeling grateful can help us manage expectations and prevent us from taking things for granted, why it is not wrong – to move on and cherish with new relationships as we age, how divorces could also be seen as “a change of relationship”, how a divorce could also be a means of mutual understanding and care, how hard it would be to fulfil a promise of life long love, how half of the married people might not stay together lifelong.
    Good post Otrazhenie 🙂 I admire the way you collect & present good articles and insights.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks, Satzie. Hope, that post will help those, who are going through divorce or are ‘stuck’ in unhappy marriages. No matter how well people manage divorce, it is still a very painful experience for everyone involved, a very big change. There is something good, bad and ugly in all relationships. Unfortunately, people often tend to focus too much on the bad and ugly sides completely forgetting the good moments and memories. We should treasure more those good moments and memories. They are part of our life. Thanks for your insightful comment 🙂

      • satzie says:

        I get it. As you said, divorce might give pain to everyone around, irrespective to how well it is managed. You’ve again rightly pointed out that we tend to see a person as just a part – identifying a person with the dark side alone, during our harder times. When we see too much of the dark side of the other person, we need to develop a habit of seeing more of the good side as well.

        After giving few more thoughts on the post, I felt from your post that we aren’t satisfied with the least when we needed more. In others words, we might need two glasses of water but what we get is one glass of water. If we are optimistic, we can see the better side of the situation, but still thirst remains unquenched partially.

        I see the post points out that we need to understand marriages might not be a success in all cases or through all years and how hard it is in reality to maintain a life long love. Acceptance is essential, and I see acceptance as understanding. But stopping there ( with understanding/acceptance ) feels like keeping something partially unfulfilled. Accepting certain things doesn’t work between the couples and understanding those things, could inturn re-establish the lost love.

        I also realize how a divorce could make home a better place, when there is war. I see the divorce as the most essential step needed in such wars. It makes situations, places and people better but not best. To make situations from worse to better, divorce is required, and to convert the better to best, love is required. As humans, we expect best, we expect growth which I see it as part of our nature. I intend to point out that acceptance and expectations are good friends, and we can make use of both in proper order depending upon the situation.
        And I feel grateful to thank you again for such a good post.

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Thanks, Satzie. Love your insightful comments. 🙂

  9. Healing Slowly says:

    This was another really great post, and I’m so glad that I scrolled down to read it. I wanted to address your comment earlier about not knowing if you could find enough to talk to your spouse about for 42 years. I swear that sometimes, my husband and I share the same brain waves. One of us will say something, and it will turn out to be the exact same thing the other of us was thinking. Or we’ll often say things at the same time. If we ran out of things to talk about after 42 years, I’d be really surprised. Even when we talk about a subject we’ve discussed before, we’ll discuss it again, because that discussion might take a different path this time. My husband and I both have very active brains. They have the ability to find rarely used paths that most people wouldn’t mentally walk down. So we can start off a chat about the most minute topic, and two and a half hours later, we’ve discussed about ten to twenty other topics. We enjoy our chats. It’s one of the reasons we go out to eat sometimes. We go out to have some nice food and then spend an hour just talking to one another. It’s such a severe contradiction from my previous marriage. My wasband and I literally ran out of things to discuss after about two months of being married. My current husband and I have been together nearly 6 years, and so far there hasn’t ever been a lull in our conversations. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that my husband has one of the sexiest voices I’ve ever heard. Sometimes it doesn’t matter to me what he talks about, it only matters that I get to hear his yummy voice say any manner of things. I really never believed that I could feel such a strong connection with another human being. I have absolutely no doubt that he and I will definitely be together until one of us dies. 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Enjoyed reading your comment a lot. You both are so lucky to have each other. I wish you lots of happy years and decades together with millions of interesting things to discuss 🙂

  10. FlorenceT says:

    To not have preconceived notions of how one’s life ought to be… Life will unfold…and we can be open to its possibilities.

  11. […] interests and hobbies. Quite a few found new relationships – nowadays marriage is often more “till the kids part” than “till death do us part.” And I don’t see such marriages as failures. Raising kids is a long-term commitment […]

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