Friday, 10 May 2013

staying together

Do you remember a little while ago I did a blog post about women being a reserve army of labour, and how I'm glad to be a full time Mum?

I love this photo of me with my parents... it's so Goth,
even though it was taken in the '70s!
I got lots and lots of feedback from that post.  It really caught the imagination of the good women at Mothers at Home Matter, which was great.  My Dad also read it.  He was glad that I enjoyed being a full time Mum, but, being my Dad he's obliged to worry about me.  He wondered if I shouldn't work, just to keep my hand in, just in case, you know.  What he was skipping around was the word 'divorce', and he would be worried about it, because it happened to him.  So it happened to me too.

When I was nine, my parent's marriage, which had been faltering, finally ended.  We moved so they could live in different houses, with a lot less money.  My parents had shared custody, which was unusual at the time, but is what the Government is angling for happening all the time now.  My parents did the best they could, and I think my brother and I turned out alright, but I still concluded I never wanted that to happen to me...

My Mum remarried.  Here she is with her three
children and five grandchildren (so far - no pressure)
Well, it turns out that marriage is not easy, especially when you have small children.  It's difficult to remember why you're together when there are chores coming out of your ears, people are screaming at you, and you've had nowhere near enough sleep.  Sometimes there are days when you maybe do stay because you can't afford not to.  Or because you don't have the time to arrange anything else.  And that truly sucks, but you can get through it.  There are lots of things you can do to get through it, most of which involve cutting each other some slack and trying to have some fun (this is a great source of some ideas).

But even then (yay, stats coming) 40% (ish) of marriages will end in divorce.  Some people are more at risk than others.  You're more at risk if:
  • this is a teenage marriage
  • you're between your 4th and 8th wedding anniversary (is this a children bump do you think?)
  • you're working class
  • you're childless and from different backgrounds
  • you work separately from your partner for long periods of time 
Our friends Iain and Babs will get married later this month!
But the great news is that the divorce rate is going down.  Maybe it's because people are getting married older, or because it's OK to cohabit now, or because we can't afford to get divorced, or a mixture of all three.  Whatever, it's great news because divorce is horrible and it hurts like hell.  It is totally necessary sometimes though.  I'm going to keep hoping it doesn't become necessary for me, and I'm not going to take action now expecting something horrible to happen (apart from getting life insurance and critical illness cover).  Instead I will keep trying to make our marriage, and our family a good place to be for all of us, and thank our lucky stars we've been able to move to seaside town where we get to see much more of Kenny.

Wish us luck (and right back at you)!  What are your top tips for keeping a marriage together (keep it clean please people)?