November 2, 2014

Divorce and Spousal Relations

Do you truly believe that the relationship with your former-ex-separated spouse will get any better, once they have gotten all they want, whether it be divorce and remarriage or divorce, annulment and remarriage? Do you think you will be treated any differently than you are now or have been? Do you think just because your spouse has now found the "Bed of Roses" they have been looking for (and you, my friend, were definitely not it!) and is now living "happily ever after" that they will be all smiles and giggles as regards you?

Did the 2014 Synod definitively, doctrinaly and morally uphold in clear and concise language the Sacrament of Matrimony and the perennial teaching on sodomy and homosexuals? Uh, huh...

It will never change, so don't be naive about it.  It will be impossible for any relationship to return to what it was before the one decided to split, obviously. But neither will you ever become platonic friends whose common interest and concern - the children - are tantamount and demands a truce, at least as far as any children are concerned. It (the relationship) demands that discussions for and about children should be conducted between the spouses as if they were still married - with the honor and respect due to each of their respective vocations. With any disagreement falling on the side of the Residential Parent, it remains for the the other Spouse to accept such decision charitably, even though it may go against good order and discipline. Even if it goes against the moral good of the children, there's naught you can do but accept it, other than pray, of course.  Your spouse has Civil Law on their side, being the residential parent and all. 

Photo Credit

Erma Bombeck once wrote the best-selling book The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank. And she should know, being a Catholic wife and Mother whose marriage lasted almost 50 yrs before her death at 69. She once said that "God created man, but I could do better" and I believe she was referring to a future time when many would take that as their mantra when faced with the specter of dissatisfaction within a marriage. "Well, hrumph!" you may say..."God may have created man and through His Son the Sacrament of Matrimony, but He certainly didn't create either to mean we really - and permanently? Really? - have to live a man or woman who doesn't satisfy us and our needs. Otherwise, God wouldn't have allowed annulments, right? I mean, don't I know what I need better than He? Hmm??"  Maybe, I suppose...but Erma didn't tell you the reason the grass is always greener - underneath, the sod is full of s**t, slime and sludge - the offal from the septic tank of marital compromises, errors and subjective needs/wants/desires. With so much stink under the green grass permeating the "relationship air", is it any wonder you can't have "peaceful co-existence"? Why there can never, ever be a "can't we all get along" relationship. 

As I've written in a previous post, you will find yourself in a continual no-win scenario: on the one hand, you have to challenge your spouse when faced with errors, especially when your children are involved; on the other, you know such challenges do nothing to ease the tensions - and more than likely will be known by the children, causing further tensions. You will be wrong at times in pursuing this course and right at other times. It's going to be a judgement call among the millions of others you will be faced with over the course of 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years, depending on the ages of your children. So...what to do? You can't stop living your vocation as a Parent, any more than you could walk away from the marriage that was violently ripped from your grasp. You will find yourself at times compromising on your principles, just to keep peace - biting your tongue and making it bleed, so to speak. And you will not be wrong in doing so. So, again...what to do?

It's no easy answer and you'll never know if its the right one. Probably choosing to communicate with as few words as possible is best, ignoring the need to challenge in favor of the greater good to keep peace. Even where it concerns your children, answering directly and with as few words as possible is preferable to a potentially cantankerous email exchange that will do neither of you any good (besides, you run the risk of having second-spouse come to their defense, something you do not need and that will serve no useful purpose.) So, you will find you have to retreat to an almost virtual silence, answering in short, incomplete sentences and paragraphs. Writing more when it concerns children, but never what is truly needed - an over-coffee exchange of two parents chatting about the kids. Not one parent and one non-parent. Not one loving and caring parent and one disinterested one. Just two parents concerned for their children. As the poet Randall Mann wrote: "There was a time we had functional alignment. I was your individual contributor, you my associate director."  

Alas! that time is now no more, as you have been let go in favor of a seemingly more worthy contributor....

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved