There is a commonly heard statistic that is thrown around, citing that around 50% of marriages end in divorce. This has always concerned me because I see it as myself and J standing next to another couple and thinking, one of us will end up divorced. I know it’s not that cut and dry, and anyways I usually I see J and I coming up as the “victors”, if you will. Obviously this is the way one would hope they view their own marriage, having the ability to withstand the test of time.
My brother-in-law and his wife starting dating very close to the same time and J and I did. They got engaged a few months after us, and then married a few months after us, as well. So we have grown as individual couples, together. On one hand, it is easy to make comparisons because of this side by side timeline. On the other hand, we are quite different. My brother-in-law (let’s call him Trey) and his wife (let’s call her Charlotte)* are very passionate, type A people and my brother in law can be a bit stubborn. (Ok I can relate to the stubborn part). They both have strong ideas of what they want from life, and I sometimes think they don’t necessarily jive together.
My brother-in-law is a doctor in residency, so he has essentially been in school since him and Charlotte started dating. After finishing his BSc, they moved cities for him to attend medical school. Luckily, they did not have to move again when he started his residency, but I’d imagine the situation on the whole has still been rather trying for them. In the time that Trey has completed medical school, and started on his residency they have gotten married and had two children, turning 3 and 1, respectively in August. Charlotte is a stay at home mom, and Trey works on call, and lots of crazy hours. He has also been working extra shifts lately, to provide for his family’s wants.
I can understand that this would be a trying situation for a young couple with two small children, but they seemed to be managing relatively well. Granted I don’t see them very often, but Charlotte is very strong-willed, and I know she tries to do and be everything for her girls. She is also one of the most cheery, and chipper (annoyingly so, sometimes) people I know. But obviously I do not see inside her home life, and I’m sure it is quite different from how I imagine her perky self to be. She tries to be open, and honest about her life, but truly, who would be open about serious turmoil in your marriage (especially with me, a sister-in-law she is not particularly close with)?
Yesterday, J was texting with Trey, who admitted that they were struggling. He told J that they were at a fork in the road, and apparently things have gotten quite bad. I don’t doubt that they have rough times (like anyone), and maybe more so because of Trey’s work situation. But I did not anticipate things being this bad. I don’t know that they’ve uttered the D word, which could easily lead to the beginning of the end, but it’s sounding like a separation may be on the horizon.
Trey might be coming to stay with us next weekend, I’m not entirely sure why, but he does come to visit every once in a while because all of his friends and family still live where we do. He is not seeing eye to eye lately with his parents (my in-laws), which I’m sure has also added stress from another angle, hence why he is staying with us, and not them. Normally him and his whole little family come, but not so this time. I feel badly for him, especially since they have such young children.
Now J and I have had our own issues, and some big ones at that. I considered leaving about 9 months prior to our wedding, when we were forced into dealing with his drinking problem, among other things. Neither of us had ever been in a long-term, mature relationship before and we kept sweeping things under the rug until it finally came to a head. But despite our problems, we still loved each other very much. So we went to counselling, we had lots of fights and arguments (to make up for the 3 previous years that we had just coasted along). We learned how to communicate with each other, and we undoubtedly strengthened our relationship tenfold.
As J and I were discussing Charlotte and Trey, I asked him if they had been to counselling. He said he wasn’t sure, but then J said to me, “Can we talk about things before they get too bad?”. I cannot tell you how much that makes me love this man. Before our counselling, J was very closed and did not like to talk about his feelings, so for him to say that to me just shows how far we’ve come. When we sought help previously, we were very close to being over. Dangerously so. We were saved just in time, and with that experience, plus infertility now, I don’t doubt we will work very hard to make things work when life gets difficult (which it inevitably will). We’ve put so much into each other, I know it would take a lot for us to just call it quits.
I truly hope, for Charlotte and Trey, as well as their children, that they are able to work things out. Although, I want to survive the odds of divorce, I hope it’s not at their expense.
*Why yes, you do sense a Sex and the City theme in my blog.