Northwest Native: Divorce.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Divorce.

Well, I had another not-so-eventful weekend. I feel like after last weekend's post, I didn't need to put you guys through another full recap of a not jam-packed weekend! We had a few cheat meals, some healthy meals, and were pretty productive! Michael and I both made some returns, we got some workouts in, I got a lot of reading done, our pups got bordetella vaccinations, and oh yeah, we had our first pre-marital counseling session (more on that later--and no, we're not having problems!).

Okay, on to today's topic. I don't think I've ever mentioned this, but my parents are divorced. They got divorced when I was a baby, my middle brother was about five or six, and my oldest brother was about eight or nine. My mom has been remarried for over twenty years. I call my stepdad 'Dad.' I also call my biological father 'Dad.' I think on the blog, whenever I've said 'Dad' I was talking about my stepdad--he's the retired tugboat captain. The sister I've mentioned is my stepsister.
Me with my mom and stepdad when they visited me in Australia.
My stepdad told my dad years ago (when I was a little girl) that he was going to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day along with my dad. I've always known they would both be walking me down the aisle, but I didn't know my stepdad had informed my dad of that when I was still just a little girl.

Another thing I don't think I've mentioned. Michael is Catholic. His dad is actually a deacon. In order for his dad to marry us, we have to get married in a Catholic church. I never wanted to get married in a church growing up. But I think it will be really special to have Michael's dad be the one to marry us, so our wedding will be in a Catholic church. Going into it, we thought all you had to do to get married in the Church is to have a few meetings with a married couple from the parish and just talk about marriage. Michael's grandparents do this at their parish in Minnesota. The church we chose is apparently a lot more strict...these are the requirements:
  1. Complete a weekend retreat (with other engaged couples) or a six-week 'Evenings for the Engaged' series. We completed the six-week series. It was every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.
  2. Complete at least three sessions with a marriage counselor. Our first session was on Friday.
  3. Michael has to show a copy of his baptism certificate. I don't have one, so my mom has to go to a Catholic church and get a paper signed by a priest (after he interrogates her about my life). It's mostly to confirm I've never been married before.
This turns out to be a lot more expensive than we thought! (The Evenings for the Engaged course was not free, and of course, therapy is pretty spendy.) So that gives you a picture of what we're dealing with.

The Evenings for the Engaged course had six different topics. Each evening was taught by a different couple from the parish. One of them was taught by the priest and the woman who works in the parish office. This woman looooved to bring up divorce. She also loved to say things like, "The non-Catholic in your relationship..." usually followed by something offensive. She said that divorce is not an option and ruins children. Um, hi, thanks for saying that with a child of divorce present. You are a gem, lady. You know what, I'm happy my parents got divorced. I don't think they would've had a happy marriage, and I think that would've messed me up more than an extremely amicable divorce. (My mom never fought with our dad, never bad-mouthed him, and they didn't avoid each other--they both came to things like recitals and sporting events and I'm sure they sat together. My mom had him over for dinner with us and my stepdad pretty often.)

I understand that the Bible is against divorce. Really, I get it. And the lady who works for the church can absolutely be against divorce, but I think what she said in a room full of seven young couples, not all of whom were Catholic, and none of whom she knew the life story of, was in poor taste. I think the point of the marriage class was to prepare us for marriage, hopefully so we could navigate any problems without turning to divorce. The thing is, her comment was about people who were already divorced and how it impacted their children negatively, which has nothing to do with strengthening our marriages and avoiding divorce. That being said, I don't think anyone should go into a marriage with the thought that if it doesn't work out, there's always divorce! But I think that sometimes, there are unfixable problems in a marriage. And divorce would be the best option for all involved. Michael was talking to his dad (the deacon, remember) about how upset I was about this woman's judgment and Michael's dad said that even the Pope (I love the current Pope, btw) said that sometimes divorce is the best course of action.

I don't mean to offend anyone with this post. I just mean to point out that when someone makes a generalization about you or your life with no insight, it's upsetting. I wish we could all stop judging people based on their skin color, their outward appearance, their religion, their occupation, their sexual identity/preference, their personal life/decisions, etc. We should all just go ahead and mind our own business.

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26 comments:

  1. Holy crap that lady should have been told to sit down and shut up. That is so damn rude. This is why I don't "assign" myself to any religion. I have my own beliefs, I believe in God. I pray. And that's all that matters. And if anyone tries to tell me otherwise (like that last you mentioned) then I will just make them cry and hide in a corner in fetal position. Heck no. I wouldn't go back to that place. I would find another young couple support group. How incredibly rude to say in front of a bunch of young couples about to get married. They're scared enough as it is. THAT MAKES ME RAGE!

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    1. I meant "lady" not last. I corrected it wrong LOL

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  2. Wow even if she was against divorce I think her approach and words were terrible. Yikes

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  3. Mattie, honestly, I had to laugh at the title of your post. When it showed up in my feed, I was like, Divorce?? They aren't even MARRIED yet!! Ha ha! Just a little Monday humor from the blonde air-head this morning!

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  4. Mattie I love your point of view...yes the Bible says no to divorce but God has also called us to love everyone and judging people for divorce is as much a sin as divorce itself. Have a great day and I am praying for that woman and also you and Michael :)

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  5. Wow Mattie! That's so much to get married! Kyle and I literally signed a marriage certificate and boom we were married. Although when I first saw the title of your post, I was thinking who's getting divorced? you know, in my family no one has ever gotten divorced. No one (except my grandmother and grandfather, they were the only ones) it's kind of strange (seeing as divorce is kind of all over the place), but that concept was never something I thought of before. I learned that marriage wasn't about divorce, it was about lasting, and getting through the problems and the issues no matter what. That marriage was work, but the good kind.

    HOWEVER, that lady should have sat down and realized what she was saying. That's not what to say to couples. My grandmother married her first husband (who was abusive after they got married) got the strength and courage to divorce him (and she was VERY VERY catholic) and then married my grandfather. She had two children with the first husband and one child with the second (my mother). And I think my mom, aunt and uncle came out perfectly fine despite the divorces. Thank you very much lady...I would just take what she said with a grain of salt.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

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  6. Good topic!!! I've had friends who've had both their stepdads and dad walk them down the aisle together and it was so sweet. In my eyes, family is family no matter how it was formed!! :)

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  7. I think people are so close minded at some things... & old fashioned. Divorce, sadly, is just a common thing now. I am more shocked when I do wedding photography when I have a bride & groom that does NOT have step parents/siblings.

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    1. That's so sad though. I remember the pastor that married my husband and I commented on the fact that both sets of our parents were together and that our grandparents were still together. Divorce is common, but it shouldn't be and it's sad that people treat it so lightly

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  8. I've never been touched by divorce so I can't even imagine how hurtful her words must have been. But sometimes encountering people like that can be good for us. Not only does it teach us to be kinder, but it teaches us to second guess our own judgements that we may be making towards others lives. Even though the way she worded things was horrible, don't waste your energy begrudging her. I always look for the best any situation so remember that there is some goodness in what she said because at the end of the day you both want the same thing...for you and Michael to have a long and happy marriage

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  9. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. Hopefully because of the choice you made to talk about it some changes will be made in the class so that future attendees aren't hearing the same things that you did. Getting married can be stressful already, and nobody should have to be upset while they're doing something that's supposed to make them more prepared for marriage.
    Still, so exciting that his dad gets to be the one to marry you, and that both of your dads get to walk you down the aisle! So special that everyone gets to be involved!

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  10. I heart this post. Heart eye emoji. Growing up my biological father wasn't in the picture so my stepdad is my Dad. He and my mom walked me down the aisle. :) Ian and i also had to do the therapy sessions and retreat. Our priest actually went to a hockey game with us. Kind of random!

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  11. My parents are also divorced (though it happened much more recently than your experience) and I think I would have been turned off by that woman's comments, too! I think the point of ANY pre-marital class should be to help you learn how to strengthen your relationship in times of trouble. But like you said, there are some cases where divorce is the only option. I also don't like that she referred to you as the "non-Catholic" because I'm not Catholic either (though I am Christian) and I'm sure it was unsettling to have her continually pointing that out! Good for you and Michael for "jumping through the hoops"...your wedding day will be so worth it :)

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  12. From one kid who had her life ruined by divorce to another haha! Who is the lady?!! Divorce is obviously not preferred, but I am firm believer in it in some cases. I am glad your parents have worked it out well! That makes everyone's lives SOO much better. Glad you talked about this today! I can imagine with your wedding coming, the walking down the aisle moment is on your mind lots. Thinking about ya with all your requirements too! Soon enough you get to wear a fabulous dress and eat lots of cake though!! The only thing that matters ;)

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  13. Um, rude. I completely agree with you- she can have her own opinions on divorce, but stating that in a class based on marriage preparedness was inappropriate and uncalled for. I'm a child of divorced parents too, and though it was not in any way an amicable split, I'm positive it was for the best. I think it's great that your family has such a open and welcoming relationship with one another, and it's so sweet that they are both walking you down the aisle!

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  14. My parents are divorced too and have been since I was in middle school. My parents did a great job of not putting us in the middle and always attended our school functions together as well. Divorce isn't ideal but it's a very common thing in this day and age and everyone can still come out of it happier and better off!

    That lady needs to take it down a notch :)

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  15. I think it's great that you're going to have your stepdad & dad both walk you down the aisle-- my stepsister did this at her wedding & it was really nice. I have friends that are Catholic so they had to do the retreats/classes & counseling too. I can imagine that it would be tough! But really, that lady sounds incredibly rude & I would have complained about it. Thankfully they only taught one class & not the entire session though.

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  16. That is so great that you grew up with 2 dads and that they both get to play a special part in your big day! I love that. It is so hard when people are so incredibly judgmental. I'm glad that you are able to take that experience and turn it into some thing positive for the blog world. I think that your experiences will definitely help you in your marriage. I think it is awesome that you are doing premarital counseling. I bet it will be super helpful for understanding one another as you continue throughout life together.

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  17. Ugh that is the hard thing about religion sometimes, people can be so judgy!!! My parents got divorced when I was an adult. I think I was a senior in college...or maybe it was the year after I graduated? Either way, they were unhappy with each other for so long. And while my mom tried not to argue in front of my sister and I, my dad had a bad temper and we heard some stuff anyways. I think that we would have been better off emotionally if they maybe would have divorced sooner than they did so that we could have had a chance to see what a healthy marriage was. Either way, they are both remarried now and I have never seen my mom happier. When Chris and I got married, of course...we are in it for the long haul. I don't even want to think about divorce and I never say it or threaten it if we are going through something...as all couples do. But I certainly don't judge those who are divorced. Or think for a second that it could never ever happen. I say all this to say, I completely agree with everything you said!

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  18. I'm going to keep this short because I could ramble about this topic. My parents are divorced. I have no idea why they thought they were ever compatible enough to be married in the first place.

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  19. "I don't mean to offend anyone with this post. I just mean to point out that when someone makes a generalization about you or your life with no insight, it's upsetting. I wish we could all stop judging people based on their skin color, their outward appearance, their religion, their occupation, their sexual identity/preference, their personal life/decisions, etc. We should all just go ahead and mind our own business."
    I LOVE WHAT YOU SAID HERE AND I COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF. I AM 100% IN AGREEMENT WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS ENTIRELY TOO MUCH HATE IN THIS WORLD........
    BB

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  20. I'm so happy for you that you know who you are and what you stand for. I'm glad you and Michael were able to get through that and not separately but together. Y'all will be great today and i'm so excited for you!

    Ps. I was nominated for a little award on my blog today and chose to nominate you if you're interested in doing it :) Have a great day!

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  21. This is super interesting! I am LDS (Mormon) and I always just thought to get married in a church you just had to say "I wanna get married in this church building". It was semi-similar to what I had to do to get married in an LDS temple. My husband and I attended a Temple prep class (basically learned more about the temple and about marriage) and we had to do a few interviews to ensure we were ready to marry inside of the Temple. None of it cost any money, it was just making time to get these things done and my husband had already been through the temple because he served a mission in Spain. But anyways, I agree that in an unhealthy marriage, it would be WAY better for the parents to divorce than to stay married and be a bad example to their kids. My parents are finally getting a divorce (which sounds weird that I'm all for it) but they have had a terrible marriage and their marriage took a huge negative effect on me when I used to think "if this is marriage, count me out" they basically made it look like hell to put it simply. K wow my comment is turning into a novel! But basically I agree with you and I am sure you've learned ways to make a marriage wonderful :) Although my parents marriage sucked, it taught me how to make my marriage great and not crapy. the end!
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

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  22. Wow, I'm shocked at that woman's words to the group! My parents divorced when I was three. My parents couldn't live happily together. My dad met my stepmom shortly after and they were married a few years later. I call my stepmom "Mom" also so I can understand the initial confusion when telling people. I think it's so sweet that both of your dads will be walking you down the aisle. I wouldn't take what that woman said to heart. There are always people on both sides of intimate issues. Same with abortion, gay marriage, and any other issue. At least you're done with those classes!

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  23. I just found your blog, so sorry for seeming random! I started with all the dog posts and now I'm here haha. But that is crazy! My Mom was raised Catholic and she choose to not raise us Catholic...for many reasons. In fact, we weren't brought up the be religious at all. Anyways, I'm getting besides the point. My parents got divorced when I was 5 and my younger sister was 4, so it's pretty much all I've ever known. Sure some parts suck, but it is fine! Everyone turns out fine! My family life was FAR from perfect, but I turned out fine, and I'm married now! And divorce isn't even something I think about. I think marriages end for all kinds of reasons, and it just doesn't work for some people, religious or not. I think religion helps some people "stay in line" but it isn't everything. (no offense anyone) Both my parents remarried, my Dad still is, but my Mom got a second divorce and decided it's just not for her. And my Dad actually walked my step sister down the aisle with her real Dad too! My Step mom always calls us the "modern family" because My Mom will come over for Thanksgiving and stuff. As long as everyone is getting along, kids will be fine. And two grown adults should be able to make the decision if they need to. ANYWAYS- wow sorry! So long! I hope these classes get better. My husband is a Catholic too..but I doubt he's been to church more than 5 times in his life, so I didn't have to go through any of that. I would have been very offended too!

    x. Morgan / www.morningappleblog.com

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  24. We can't really generalize the outcome for everyone just because they seemingly went through the same situation. I believe that divorce is usually the last resort of couples who are going through serious problems, and sometimes, it’s usually the best for both of them. And it doesn't always come with a negative impact to their children, just like you. Your Mom and Dad are in good terms though they got divorced and you seem to grow up to be a fine lady. :)

    Joanne Krueger @ Kurtz And Blum

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