Poppets, I have such a migraine. I almost never have migraines, and this one is a doozy. It's the one I used to get on wedding anniversaries--the anniversary of my first wedding, the one that began a bad marriage that ended with a decree of nullity from the local Catholic marriage tribunal, Deo gratias.
(Long-term readers know about all this. Recent readers might find it a bit of a shock. In short, I married at 25, was miserable, ran away, got a divorce, was granted an annullment, was mad at Church--though not God, actually, was in therapy for years, went to theology school, turned into Seraphic Single, met B.A. when I was 37, became Auntie Seraphic at 38.)
One thing I absolutely resist is being a poster child for divorce. I don't hate divorce, per se, but I do hate bad marriages. And I do mean bad marriages, ones that should never, ever have happened. I hate them so much--and I love good marriages so much--that I am inspired day after day to write this blog. Having been both, I can tell you with all confidence and authority that it is better to be lonely, sad and Single than to be lonely, sad and Married.
My migraine is reminding me of a sunny day in a German city where I was sitting in a wine-bar with two classmates, one of whom was moaning about her German fiance. In the manner of German fiances, he seemed a lot more German in Germany than he did where they met, and this was driving her crazy.
My other classmate understood this as her boyfriend was German, and I didn't because I rather like Germans both home and abroad, although one must always be careful before asking for their opinions because sugaring an opinion is an absolutely foreign concept to a German.
Anyway, there we were, and the engaged girl was wondering if she should marry Axel (not his real name). The wedding had been delayed by red tape, for all her documentation had to be translated into German, and German weddings are a nightmare of red tape no matter what. Therefore, she still had an escape hatch, although they were living together and her parents had booked their flights, etc.
And the other girl said, "Well, I think you should just marry him and then if it doesn't work out, you could just get a divorce. Look at Seraphic here. She's divorced, and she's doing fine! She's in a PhD program, she's studying here in Germany..."
And my heart plummeted to my mules because, really, of all the role models I might like to be, The Proof Divorce is Okay is not one.
Getting married, no matter how briefly, is a big fat deal. I don't know if this is cultural or spiritual or what, but if you marry some guy, even if it is ludicrously unsacramental, it leaves a permanent mark on your psyche. It could be a good mark. It could be a bad mark. But it is a mark and it is permanent.
The best way to prevent divorce that I know of is to not get married to the wrong guy/girl and to not get married when you ARE the wrong guy/girl and to not get married at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons. In short, there's a lot more marriage going on than there should be. However, once a marriage is made, it's made, and once the kids are born, they're born, and there's no going back. You can get a divorce and sometimes an annulment, but you can't erase history. At least, no matter how awful the marriage is/was, something good--the children--came out of it.
That said, I'm glad I didn't have any children from my first marriage. NFP really works when you hate and fear the person. I don't hate and fear him now, by the way. I haven't the foggiest clue who he is, so much older than he was. I hope he's happy and successful--although if he's not remarried that might be for the best. I couldn't tell you for sure. He might be a very saintly person today. I am a much better person myself.
Until this morning, I thought it was all over, and that scars I thought would never heal really had healed, but then I got an email--a friendly email, actually, nothing bad-- about that time, and I got hit with The Migraine.
Because I hate to lose an opportunity to hammer home the point that it is better to stay Single than to make a bad marriage, I am laying all this heavy stuff on you. Better have a cookie now, or something.
I shall be as right as rain in a minute, but for now I am going to have a little lie-down. Maybe I will take B.A. out for dinner or do some other particularly nice thing this evening.
No comments on this one, poppet. Paradoxically, I wrote about it but idoanwannatawkabowdit.
Update: Okay, who prayed? It got me out of bed. Thank you!