“Live as big as you can, with what you’ve got.”
― Jill Shalvis, Instant Attraction
It’s a free week here on 4F1H and with recent events I thought I tackle a topic close to my heart.
I will have my “Leave-aversary” next week on the 4th, and my “Arrive-aversary” on the 6th. Yes, I’ve been calling Australia home for 17 years now. Unbelievable!
What’s that got to do with my topic close to heart – I miss my family. Terribly! Thank goodness, for Skype or telephone, right? Don’t get me wrong, my family is not perfect, and I don’t really want to share family details here, but in that imperfectness (does that word exist?), when we need each other, we’re there for each other. No questions asked. As simple as that!
I know of a wonderful lady through friends who lost her husband a few years ago. No doubt about it, she and her two children miss him dearly. What I admire about them is their tight-knitted bond of three. They’re each other’s world. But not only that, she and others in the family travel big distances to welcome a new family member into this world, or she visits her late husband’s family member who is dying of a terrible disease. I envy her of this family bond.
The dying Art?
Many marriages around me are falling apart. Not friends or neighbours, but people I hear about. Young couples get married and stumble over the first problem, giving up at the next one. Really?
I’m not a religious person, but what happened to the “till death do us apart”. Is that the generation that is unable to deal with conflict?
I read in the paper that a woman left her family (let me emphasise: family!), because she couldn’t deal with hitting the forties. The counsellor enforced her mindset by telling her to take care of herself first and not to worry about her husband and two young children. Say what?
What about the guy who cared for his wife who’s struggling to come to terms with childhood issues, only for her family to accuse him of foul play instead of pulling up their sleeves and help out.
So I ask you all, is family a dying art?
In too many cases, I believe the answer is “yes, the importance of family is dying out.”
Quite sad, too. I’m most familiar with American history, of course, but in the generation which preceded mine, the family was all they had — for many people born and/or raised during the Great Depression.
My father, born in 1920 to a new widow with 6 other children, was in such a family. They stuck together in order to survive. And, though two of the siblings moved a state or two away, most of them remained their entire lives within some dozen miles of each other. During the terrible times, they all pitched in to help their ailing mother … and, as much as possible, to help each other.
They’re all gone now, including my father. But their struggle — and survival — has inspired me.
It’s also made me wonder: what would a similar sized family in similar circumstances (patriarch dead, mom not literate, no appreciable skills) do in today’s world? Would they hang together … or would they disintegrate?
I only have a small extended family, but I have to admit we “pitch in” to help each other in every way possible. Mum has a get-together with her cousins on a very regular basis, most of the people I know dont’ even know their cousins 😦
I love the history of your family, yet not your grandmother being a widow with 6 kids!
In addition to those 6 living kids, my grandmother also lost at least two — one possibly in childbirth and at least one during infancy.
My grandmother had 13 kids! Imagine That?!
“Dying art”; I have never heard it put better! So few try to stay or join together any more.The revolving-door relationships have everyone messed-up, most especially the children.People have become dispensable.
People the idea that in choosing someone, loving someone, you have to LIKE that someone.
I came from a non-religious family, but if there were two people who should never have married and should certainly have divorced, it was my parents.People should never stay in a toxic relationship for any reason.( and I won’t bore you with my family’s details, either).On the other hand, any problem, any stumbling block now and everyone seems to go out the door. No one is perfect, and people change their minds as they grow, mature, experience and the world changes around them,(at least, they should), so even if people are perfectly matched at one point in their lives, that well may be subject to change down the road, and their partners just have to cope,since they have probably changed, too.
I have been lucky;my husband and I seem to have changed with our circumstances in the same directions, (for the most part). But people rush into relationships and rush right back out. No one gives their heart; marriage vows are to so many, (as you said), meaningless. Blame society; there is no reinforcement for marriage. A returning war veteran found his wife had all but abandoned their little child, had a series of men into their apartment,(the one he caught her with was a drug dealer who was supplying her with drugs), had spent all his money and finally left him.He took her to a counselor because he thought he could ‘save’ her.The counselor told him that this was the right thing for her, being her own person!
We need to find a place for family again, EXTENDED family.No young person here lives alone, but they will not be caught dead living in their parents’ home after the age of 18; you are considered a ‘loser’. Even my sons have only temporarily come back after divorce and or in illness, leave as soon as possible because of social pressure.
We need to start pressuring relationships in the other direction again.There has to be a happy medium between no-breakups-no-matter-what to breaking-up-over-anything-and-everything.
Wow, sorry! You hit a raw nerve here!
I have indeed, haven’t I ?
Interesting parts in your comment, but I suppose like with everything, marriage is part of the “throw-away-society” … it’s too easy to get in, even easier to get out.
We had in our short marriage heaps of obstacles, but we know how to “talk” and that has helped us along. I’m not much of a “talker”, but I have a feeling that “art” is getting lost as well. Sadly!
It makes me sad to say that family does seem to be a “dying art.” Every reason, you, Tonette and Jeff have given seems to be a part of the problem. But not all situations are as they seem. I so envy those who do have lengthy marriages and close family ties and bonds. All I have ever wanted was to have a long marriage and celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary, like my parents did. But that has not been in the cards for me.
I have been divorced twice. I’m not saying I’m perfect, nor am I trying to make excuses for that, but both divorces were forced on me by the other half of the equation. 😥
The first by slapping me around while I was trying to recover from my brain surgery (at which point my mother took me to see a lawyer).
The second decided that I was not good enough for him, due to my brain injury.
The first only lasted six years until I received TBI, it would have lasted longer if I had not been injured. I would have made SURE of that!
The second lasted 20 years until he changed careers and saw women who worked with him and made good money, while I ‘sat at home and did nothing,” My TBI makes me unemployable! He KNEW that before we married, but we were both in denial of my disability.
My life up to this point has not been easy and those are the reasons, not excuses, for my marital status. But God has seen I have persevered and he has given me joy in my life and my career in writing! He helps those who help themselves. 🙂
Janette,my dear, as I said, no one should stay in an abusive or toxic relationship. I believe that Iris and I were talking about walking out when there is little reason .You were lucky to be rid of your husbands. I never said that no one should divorce; I cannot imagine that any of us here would be crazy enough to say that there are not some perfectly good reasons for divorce. I think we just see that many,many people now see marriage and family relationships as “easy come, easy go”. You never felt that way. We were not discussing ugly situations, we were talking about people facing reality:If they expect every situation to be perfect and think they can walk out when it isn’t, they have a lot of growing up to do.
Thank you, Tonette. 🙂 I believe I’m a better life partner now, bc of all I’ve been through. I just can’t find that life partner!
I’m able to make my statement of belief bc I have had the same boyfriend for almost 12 years now, and we have never had a fight. Every situation hasn’t been perfect, but we’re still together bc we can communicate, and bc of that we can say we’ve never had a fight. I guess we’ve both learned from past failed relationships. The problem is, he’s gun-shy and has decided he will never marry again. 😦
Sounds like you are doing OK to me, Janette! We will soon hit our 31 years of marriage mark but although people think I’m joking,I seriously mean it when people ask if we did something special for our 25th anniversary and I say: “Yes, we did something special;we DIDN’T get a divorce!”. It was rough sailing at that point and the waters still get choppy now and again.
Hang in there!
LOL! Sorry for laughing, Tonette. I don’t think you’re joking! You’ve just got a funny one-liner! I like to live in top floor apartments, and while he helped carry some of my heavier furnishings up to the 3rd floor at the last place I lived, my bf told one of the other movers that he was going to divorce me if I ever moved into an 3rd floor apt again! (I told him he couldn’t divorce me bc we weren’t married!) I have since moved into another 3rd floor, but we’re still dating. LOL!
I’m so sorry hearing about your divorces and by all means, I wasn’t implying that a divorce is a bad thing, not at all, what I was trying to say was people too easily give up on marriage, the skills of “relationships” aren’t there anymore. We don’t teach our kids to cope with conflict, but wrap them up in cotton balls.
An abusive partner is intolerable and good on you for finding your way out!
Thank you, Iris. But I can’t really say “I” found my way out of that marriage. I had actually put up with his treatment and told lies about what happened to me, on his behalf. “Battered Woman’s Syndrome.” My momma is the one who got me out of that situation. I wanted to stay married!
So soon after my injury, I was pretty much a “follower.” IOW, I pretty much did what was suggested to me without question. When my momma found out how he treated me, she took me to see a lawyer.