Why don’t all relationships work?

I have been married to my wife and life partner for almost fifteen years. We have been together for sixteen. We share six wonderful children, one grandchild,  and while our relationship works because we both work at it, I can not understand why so many people around me have failed relationships. Marriages aside from “simple” relationships have a little more invested. There are mortgages, homes, children and property in some cases, involved in the lives of some of my friends. But most of them are either in relationships with people they don’t want to be with or have split up with their partners and looking for someone new.

I ask myself this simple question. What makes it work with some people and not with others? I can use my marriage as an example of this. My wife and I obviously don’t have it all. We both work, we both rise the kids, we both have had some college and she has earned her master’s degree in education. Is it our education level? Is it the fact we have so much invested that makes us cringe every time we hear about another friend who’s getting divorced to someone we thought was great for them?

Maybe it’s the kids. Maybe it’s they ,who we run from dawn to dusk for, that keeps us young, keeps us together like the glue in our marriages.  Or could it be we both have our own interests. Not everything I do is tied up with my wife. I have friends and interests outside of the house, while I have been neglecting them, I do occasionally get out and do things apart from my wife. But most of the time, if we do go out, we go together. Our favorite book store and a cup of coffee, dinner at our favorite restaurant or simply a walk on the beach is our idea of an ideal time to spend together.

So we work and pay the bills together, the bath time and bedtime, together. I get the garbage and she gets the dishes, my point is we make it work. To us, there is no other alternative.

One of the first questions I asked my then perspective wife was, “Do you want anymore children?” While the question perplexed this mother of three, and sparked her interest in why I would ask definitely made an early impact in her decision making about me. We were a good match. We listened to those around us who were saying we were perfect together.

Her mother loved me and her father respected me for “taking on” such a “challenge”. I thought he was either full of it or an asshole at the time. Now, I respect him. He was a father to little kids himself and he understood the pressures of a family.

Why not the Smiths or the Bakers? What was it that happened in those households or didn’t happen that ultimately made the last straw, the last straw. What series of events occurred to make two grown adults, some of which had years together already under their belts, make the decision to divorce. Divorce, even the word is nasty. Could there ever be a “Nice ” divorce? 

 “The trend is to reject the scorched-earth model in favor of civility and self-determination. Is this part of a look-it-up-on-the Internet, DIY ethos? Or are today’s divorcing couples members of a generation whose worlds were so rocked by the acrimonious divorces of their parents during the divorce explosion of the 70s and 80s that they swear they will not do the same to their children?

Margret Klaw, Family Law Attorney thinks so. She wrote an article in The Huffington Post that says just that. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-klaw/the-good-divorce_1_b_2192503.html) I find it very fascinating how well we have separated ourselves from that generation. So we divorce, we move on, we remarry and start the cycle all over again. Could it be we are trying to involve others in our lives before we have ourselves figured out. I have a friend who is an awesome example of this. She has recently broken off  a few month-long involvement with a man I thought was going to be an improvement after her first failed marriage. My wife and I have spoke on the subject and there is really only one thing we can deduce as the cause. She [my friend] is trying to fill a hole, a void in her life, with a man. She feels inadequate and has low self esteem. A man’s attention makes her feel complete and a relationship is a status symbol in her social circle. I can see how this can be, however, what kind of collateral is there in a relationship with a man that has mental illness and drinks all day long?

I do not profess to have it all figured out and my marriage is by no means perfect. But it works with she and I. Whatever it is, it works and continues to work day in and day out for the last fifteen years. Why doesn’t it work for everyone? I guess our differences are what makes the world go ’round. It’s these same differences and idiosyncrasies that sometimes don’t work with others. My wife and I were not high school sweethearts. Her high school sweetheart is divorced from her and mine, I have no idea where she is.