Marriage Mondays: Divorce

Wonder if that was just the mom of this Postsecret author putting her "in case" plan in writing?

Has it happened to you yet? Have you had a friend experience a divorce? 2011 marked a year of firsts...1st wedding anniversary, 1st time experiencing the loss of a pet other than a goldfish or hamster, and the 1st time we had a friend divorce. It was rather bittersweet because I never really loved my friend's wife and I certainly never felt they were well-suited for each other. On the other hand, A.P. and I really liked hanging out with them. They lived out of state, but a close enough drive that we would hang out with them a few times a year. They were one of our favorite couples to hang with! I'm happy for my friend because I think that he's happier now, but I know divorce is a mess of a thing, and that, for him, 2011 was perhaps not his best year.

Here's the thing: Divorce is a part of marriage. And it's a part I feel that should not be discussed with your partner but should also be prepared for whether you plan on divorcing or not. A.P. and I have no intentions of getting divorced...ever, if we can help it. But we have talked about divorce and what we would want for each other if we were to get divorced. For instance, A.P. always tells me that he's happy I have a career and that if we got divorced I wouldn't be helpless and my source of income wouldn't dry up. That happened to his mother. We also try to talk about how we would try to be civil to one another. It's easy to say things like that now in the hopes that we never get divorced and it's a non-issue, but the reality is that it's more likely we'll divorce than not. In reality, the hope is that we remember these things, these other vows we've taken in the event that a divorce occurs.

I also feel that as a woman, it is my responsibility to secure my financial future and take care of myself in case of a divorce. Some of the best pre-wedding reading I did was an article about financial planning that emphasized how important it is as a wife to have your own money. It is why when we got serious and later married, I insisted on keeping a personal checking and savings account (I've talked about our finances before in case you're interested). In 2011, I saved a substantial amount of money...for myself. And I continue to do so. This is not for retirement or our house or anybody else but me. This is my "in case shit" money. If I lose my job, it's how I would pay my portion of our bills. If we get a divorce, it's money A.P. and I have agreed will remain mine. Of course, that may end up being money that's used to pay a lawyer, but it's my money. I earned it and I worked hard to save it. It's rightfully mine and in total, it's less than I have contributed to our joint finances all year long.

This does no harm to my marriage but makes me feel secure in so many ways. It means that if I needed to, I could get an apartment in a pinch because I'd have the security deposit. It means that if I needed to, I could buy a plane ticket somewhere. It means I have a safety net. And that is worth more than the money I have saved.

Does all this make me cynical? Perhaps. Does it make me selfish? Well, if that seems selfish, then I guess I'm selfish. But I've seen too many people be destroyed financially after a divorce and, in the end, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Plus, I'd rather know that at some point I could remind A.P. about our conversations, our other marriage vows, the ones where we vowed to be kind in case shit happened.

Do you talk about divorce in your marriage? Or is it more of a taboo topic?

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(Photo of Postsecret via here)


  1. I am not a child of divorce. I haven't seen a divorce in my family. But I have already seen lots of people from my generation, and some of my friends getting divorced. Some had married really too young to their high school sweethearts, which I feel is a highway to hell. Some had met their significant other at an adult age, had had kids, yet it didn't work out.
    I have enough examples that divorce can be avoided, and is not the only possible conclusion. If we have realistic expectations about our partner and marriage, then this must be doable. On the other hand, I do think a lot of this, and wonder how we can cope with the way we change in life without becoming strangers. Not easy, not easy. I think, though, that keeping some things and some money separate is a good option for the reasons you explained.

  2. I agree that divorce can be avoided, but statistically there is a high likelihood that our marriage could end in divorce, a statistic that increases dramatically because we are both the product of divorce. For us, and quite possibly because we saw our parents divorce, it's important to not only talk about it, but prepare for it. And when I say prepare for it, I mean in the same way that you prepare for the possibility of your electricity going out. You've got things set up and you understand it could happen, but more than likely it won't. I honestly don't think A.P. and I will divorce. I see us in it for the long haul, but marriage is no easy road. People change and grow in ways you can't foresee and it's best to understand that and be prepared for its possibility that sometimes those changes mean the end of a relationship. Honestly, though, our rule is that divorce is not an option. I just think it's important, for women especially to have those uncomfortable conversations with their spouses and to set themselves up financially so that they are prepared for the worst.

  3. I don't think keeping money separate is a good idea and my partner and I fight about it all the time. He and his ex-wife has separate accounts... and then, well, they divorced. I'm not saying that there is an absolute if/then causation here, but I do think that when you think like a single person, that can take a toll on a relationship in ways you don't see. Being completely committed to someone, in my book, means that you are committed in the really, really tough areas-- money being on of those tough areas. God, I HATE fighting about money-- but it forces me to think about what's really important and for me, self-sacrifice and self-giving are what is really important. Not security and what ifs. BUT, I totally respect where you are coming from and I get why you want to keep money separate.


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