Just a couple of hours ago, we came back from our date night, watching –well, Date Night. It was hilarious and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I thought Tina Fey was awesome and we could identify with some issues raised in the movie.
It was a great night. When we were driving back, I couldn’t help but silently pray that this happiness would last and that even though we would not be deliriously happy all the time, that this stability and happy marriage that we have would last till, well– death do us part. Why the sudden urgency for this prayer of hope and thankfulness?
Well, an hour before we left for the cinema, I got a msg from a very dear old friend, one whom I knew since I was having ponytails and babyfats still intact– that his marriage has fallen apart and they are currently going through divorce proceedings. They have a kid, barely 3 years old. This came as a shock to me as I didn’t see it coming. The last I saw them together on a trip back home, they were a picture of a perfect small family, financially stable and both of them being very educated people.
Prior to this, another good friend’s marriage ended slightly just before Eid last year. That one made me sad because it took so long for him to finally find his Miss Right and finally he got married at the 2nd half of his 30s. I remembered his radiance at this wedding and how he beamed gleefully when we congratulated him at the dias, jesting– FINALLY!
Currently in between breaks of editing my work, I suddenly began counting, amongst my personal friends, around 5 of them had gotten divorced before their 7th year of marriage, most of them with at last a kid. While about 4 others are having troubled marriages.
The highest divorce rates back in my hometown belonged to the Malays. In the past, this was said to be caused by lack of education, low family income (hence they always fight about money), lack of religious knowledge , lack of.. well any other thing. It seems that the lack of something, more often material was what attributed to the crumbling marriages of the Malay community in that tiny island of ours.
But then again, as I am typing this, my friends whom I mentioned above are educated, with both husbands and wives with at least a general degree, some even with Masters in hand already, high-flying careers in their resumes– so it is very unlike they lack money and fight often about it, and they definitely do not lack basic religious knowledge by the amount of community work they do for the people of the same faith there and the classes they attend. So then again, why?
My father once made a statement… “Budak-budak sekarang, kawin main-main… for my generation, we stick through thick and thin together. Sekarang, tak suka, just walk out!”
I dare not agree or disagree with him, because I am pretty sure that whatever the reasons may be for the crumbling marriages of my friends, and the many other marriages these days, they must be valid enough for two people whom once upon a time love each other to walk out of each other, kids notwithstanding.
Whatever reasons they may have, I just pray that those reason won’t be applicable to my own marriage, and that my friends, who are going through some painful episodes in their lives right now would see the light at the end of the tunnel.
My most ardent prayers are for their children, actually. When I was teaching English in the school back then, I got my students to write daily journals of their feelings and experiences. The journals of kids from broken marriages were the most painful to read. My own husband came from a broken family. And I see the impact of it in him, although now as an adult, he has mellowed down by a lot.
Through these kids whom I taught and also my own experiences with my husband (and in-laws), I finally understood why in my faith, although divorce is allowed, it is the thing most hated by HIM.