Sunday, July 26, 2009

He She We

I’ve been reminded lately that it’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. I came home from Korea to learn of the impending divorce of a friend of mine – this makes five divorcing friends since the first of the year and, frankly, I’ve felt so saddened and conflicted that I haven’t felt able to write. I think I just need to write about this and get it off the top of my mind so that I can move on and write about other events and ideas that are also rambling around in my brain.

Five couples, five divorces in just seven months – not good news! I’ve realized that I look at a marriage as a combination of the “he”, “she” and “we”. There are two people – the “he” and “she”*, each of whom have their own separate identities and then there’s the couple – the “we”, that is, in many ways, an entity of its own. As I’ve learned about the divorces of the five couples, I’ve found that I grieve the loss of the “we”. Even though I may stay friends with one or both of the individuals, the “we” of the two together is no longer there. Even though this “we” is intangible, it feels like a tangible loss.

When we learn of the death of a person who is our age, it feels kind of creepy – “That could have been me.” Perhaps the news of so many divorces is upsetting in a similar way because I realize that, just as life is fragile – it can be taken away at any time by accident or illness, the “we” in a marriage is also fragile – it, too, can be lost, leaving just the “he” and the “she”*. I exercise, eat well, drive safely and look before I cross the street in order to minimize the chance of accident or illness in my life. Similarly, I think the way to process the news of so many divorces is to do what I can to bolster my own personal “we”, something I think I do well naturally; it’s just that right now I really feel the need to cuddle up, wrap us in a cocoon and do some serious “we” building.

*or the “he” and “he” or the “she” and “she”


Kim H. said...

Welcome back home and hope your house gets back in order real quick! So cute how Kora and Halley have been talking back and forth since the trip. I'm so glad they can keep their friendship going! Wish I could have found a way to get Kora to the campout, but not comfortable having her fly by herself! Maybe next year.

I know the feeling of focusing on the 'we' of a family, as in husband and wife when you hear of other 'we's' not working out. Life changes, as do people, but it does take a tremendous amount of work to make a marriage work. I'm not saying others didn't try to make it work, just saying it is hard work. Especially when kids are involved, we tend to forget about the 'we' when we focus so much on the kids. I keep reminding people that our kids grow and have hopes and dreams, but that we need to make sure that 'we' focus on our growth and keep our hopes and dreams alive too!

helen said...

Our neighbors all moved in to their homes around the same time and our kids are close in age. None of us have moved away in over 20 yrs. We watched each others kids grow up. When one of our neighbors divorced I felt a deep personal loss. I had always pictured us together celebrating wedding and grandchildren. I missed the children of that family as they stopped visiting us as they began shuffling between houses each week. Debbie you are right that divorce ends the "we" and that affects many people.