Couplehood is laid out in chapters. One chapter is rife with romance as your peers get hitched. The next is replete with pride as your peers have babies.
The next — the one I’m in now — is saturated with shock, anxiety, and discouragement as your peers bicker, cheat, and surrender their once-happy marriages to the life-hacking bandsaw that is divorce.
It’s ugly. Though my marriage feels sturdy, it’s hard not to wince and take cover, whimpering, under the storm of blame lobbing, heart wringing, and estate dividing that so many friends are weathering.
With national divorce rates around 50 percent, are half of us doomed to betray or grow apart from the partners we promised to have and hold? Are we damned to disillusionment for failing to cherish ’til death do us part?
Our grandparents managed to stay married, either through a stronger commitment to wedlock or a greater tolerance for misery. But if splits are inevitable in today’s live-for-the-moment culture, then can’t they be — shouldn’t they be — less painful?
What if, when our spouses’ faults begin outshining their favors and that irresistible yen for newness comes a-knockin’, we could gracefully excuse ourselves from the union with no hard feelings? What if marriage were a temporary construct? What if it simply expired, like milk?