Divorce selfies are a thing now. You can search #DivorceSelfie on Instagram and more than a few photos appear. I found this out during my morning coffee and news routine. I wake up alone every morning. Russ gets home from work at midnight and I’m already sleeping. He, understandably, does not want to wake up as early as I do. I get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. every day, pour a cup of coffee, bundle up with a blanket on the couch, turn on local news, and scroll through twitter. I don’t really need to wake up until 6, but there’s something peaceful about that window of the morning when I know most of the world (including my fiance) is fast asleep or in between hits of the snooze button.
When I was little I had a recurring nightmare that my parents were getting divorced. The 90s were (for lack of better wording) a hot time for divorces. My parents spent many of their early mornings and middle-of-the-nights calming my fears.
Russ and I both come from parents who’ve been married for more than 30 years. It’s not unheard of, but it is relatively rare these days. We have great marital examples set before us, but that doesn’t mean our marriage will be any less work.
Divorce is everywhere. I mean, it might not really be any more “everywhere” than it has been in past decades, but I’m certain I’m noticing it more than I used to.
I don’t sit around worrying that Russ and I will get divorced, but I do recognize that most sane people don’t go into marriage thinking this thing might end before “‘til death” comes true.
Divorce is rampant in pop culture, as a force of “oh we just don’t feel like working at this any more”. This kind of divorce feels seedy, and harmful to what marriage really means. It’s the kind of divorce that’s easy to brush aside – it doesn’t seem real, no one was counting on it lasting anyway. That’s not the kind of divorce I see around me.
On a more familiar level, divorce happens to real people who put real work into their marriages. It happens for many different reasons, and I’m not here to judge any of them or the people involved.
The existence of #DivorceSelfie tells me some marriages end in such an emotionally good place that couples take smiling selfies together out in front of the courthouse, but reality tells me no divorce is without pain. Divorce, by and large, is as tough and sad as a wedding day is happy and celebratory.
As I spend these months sorting out all of the plans for one big day, I’m humbled by the fact that this isn’t about a huge party. We’re not walking into something that will be as easy as dancing to our favorite songs at the reception. We’re taking on a life together. We don’t know what that life will bring. We don’t know the challenges.
We’re not any better than so many of the people we love who’ve been through divorce. All either of us can do is hope that the happiness and love we share will help us in the moments down the road when things aren’t as blissful and easy.
Getting married is fun. It’s being married that takes courage. I see courage in every couple around me who gave this thing a shot, whether it lasted or ended.
As we breeze through some of the best times of our lives I don’t feel like we’re doing anything particularly brave, but we are. We’re making a promise and it’s one we both fully intend to keep. I’m not naïve enough to think that countless divorced couples’ only mistake was not going into marriage with this same mindset.
As much as we can count on this time we’re in to be full of joy, excitement, and congratulations, we can count on facing a whole lot of hard work as time passes. Here’s to hoping we carry what we’ve seen, both good and bad, with us down that road.
I don’t want to take a #DivorceSelfie.