Before you read further I want to say that all opinions expressed are 100% my own. You may agree, you may not (I will not hold that against you!!) I welcome any and all points of view. I will not however tolerate any rude remarks, name calling etc. This is a topic that I know will cause issues, so I just wanted to state that ahead of time!!
As Ben and I approach our ten year wedding anniversary on the 20th of this month, I have gotten to thinking more and more about how many people I know who have made it to their 5 year anniversary or longer from my generation. Sadly I do not know of many.
I met Ben when I was 18 years old and he was 22. I knew right away that we were going to marry. Yes I sound like a sentimental fool, but I just knew. I was young and so was Ben. We were told by many to wait and not rush into things. After only 9 months of dating, Ben asked me to marry him. Looking back now, and going by just numbers (age) I think we were very young to be thinking of these things. I would question my children immensely if they were the same age and telling me they were getting married.
Now at the time of our engagement, Ben's older Brother was getting married the next year, and we did not want to take away from their special time. So we planned our wedding for three years later. That is a three year engagement we had. We were together four years before we got married. That is four years to get to know each other, and to call it quits if we had wanted too.
Around the same time as our engagement, many of my friends of the same age were getting engaged as well. Some of them "had to" because they were expecting a baby, and others were in love. Thinking back, there was at least 20 friends tying the knot at the same time.
Out of those 20 friends that got married, how many are still married now?? 4. 4 out of 20 are still married. There are a couple reasons why they are not still married. The most common reason that I have heard from them as to why they are divorced is because "it didn't work out." One of those "it didn't work out" marriages was from a friend who was married 5 months. Seriously 5 months?? Come on. We hadn't even used half of our wedding gifts by then. How could we know if it would work out or not.
For our first 8 years of marriage, we really did not fight much. Don't get me wrong, we did have some arguments, but nothing major. Shortly after our 8th anniversary (right before thanksgiving to be exact,) Ben was laid off from his job. We were devastated. We had finally reached a comfortable place in life. We owned a home, had money in the bank and in savings, had started to save for retirement, and were just comfortable. Then it was all taken away.
Ben was given a severance package (his accumulated vacation time, and a bachelors degree bonus) but that was it. Not a tremendous amount of money. He was also able to get unemployment, but that was only 75% of his pay, and it took three months before that started. We counted every penny, and started religiously clipping coupons.
No matter what anyone says, the job market is HORRIBLE!! Yes Ben could have gotten a job at a fast food place, but that would never cover all of our bills. All the jobs that came available in the same salary range (which were not many) as what he had, were highly sought after and Ben kept getting "we're sorry" letters. For a little while, we were ok. We cut back on a lot of things, but we still had the unemployment coming in and Ben has had a part time job with UPS for 10 years that brought in some income.
After awhile, the unemployment checks became smaller (by 50%.) At that point we had no other options then to use our savings. Then our retirement money. Nothing made us feel worse then knowing that everything we worked hard for was gone.
After a year, Ben finally was given a job that actually paid more then he made before. I HATED the job right off the bat. Ben was working 10 hour shifts over night, would have a two hour commute each day (most of the time longer because of the winter weather,) and when he was home he was so tired that we barely saw him. The worst part was that he would only see Ben Jr two days a week (because of school.)
Beggars can not be choosers, so we tolerated it. When this new job forced Ben to have to take a leave from UPS, it was the final straw for me. UPS is where we get our health insurance. We pay nothing, and have almost 100% coverage. With my health problems and two kids, it scared me to not have insurance.
Ben and I differed on this subject. His opinion was that he would get insurance through the new job, so we didn't need UPS anymore. Plus he did not want to work 14 hour days not including the commute.
My opinion was that we knew UPS's coverage, we paid NOTHING for it, and the new jobs insurance would not take effect for 3 months. A lot of bad things could happen in that time if we did not have insurance. Plus the new insurance would cost over $400 a month when we currently were not paying anything.
We fought over this A LOT. We actually went a month with out talking. We only spoke when it was kid related. It put a HUGE strain on our marriage. I spent many, many nights crying myself to sleep. At one point I screamed at Ben and gave him an ultimatum. Either go back to UPS or I would leave him.
Ben went back to UPS, and actually told me he was glad that I would not let him quit completely. He realized that the health insurance was/is worth it.
Unfortunately shortly after he went back to UPS, Ben's new job took a huge loss, and laid Ben off. Yes that is our luck, getting laid off twice.
Even though I threatened Ben with leaving, never once did I honestly want too. I knew we would eventually work things out. I just had to do something.
My point in all that rambling is that we are now hitting 10 years, and are still going strong. Even with a pretty bad couple of months, we would not call it quits. We both believe in our vows, and take the "till death do us part" part very seriously. We love each other very much, and will always work things out.
I truly believe that one of the things that aids in an extremely high divorce rate is the fact that couples are not working things out anymore. It is much easier to just call it quits and get a divorce then it is to take a stand and fight for your relationship.
A friend of my sisters was engaged to be married. Three weeks before the wedding, she started talking about how if it didn't work, there is always divorce. Two weeks before the wedding, her would be groom and herself started saying that they could always bring another person in the bedroom after awhile, because the sex just has to get boring. Less then two weeks before the wedding, they called it off stating that they knew they could each probably find someone better. In this case, it was good that they called it off before the wedding, but this scenario has be asking "Do all couples go into marriage thinking these thoughts?"
I am not going to state figures for divorce rates. You can see from my examples of friends that it is pretty high. I just want to know why?
I have loving examples in mine and Ben's families that proves marriage can last. My parents have been married 34 years. Ben's parents would have been married 44 years this year if my Father in Law had not passed away. My oldest Brother in law just hit 12 years. All four sets of our Grandparents had hit 30+ years or more before their spouses passed on. In each and everyone of these marriages, they couples are/were happy. It is not a marriage for the sake of marriage. They all had hard times like we did, and they worked it out.
Another issue I see is that people want to get married because they want a wedding. There are all those shows on TV showing brides and how the weddings have to be perfect. Then you see them a year or so later and the marriages did not last. They did not want a marriage. They wanted a big party!!
So with all of this said, I truly want to know why marriages are not lasting.
I am not judging anyone by any means. I just really want to know. If you don't mind talking about it, please leave your thoughts and stories in the comments below.
This post is written by Sarah Coulsey. She is a Wife, and Mother of two boys living in New England. This post may contain affiliate links.