Friday, April 13, 2012

Dumb Marriage vs. Smart Marriage

Was my marriage stupid or was it just unsuccessful? Or was it unsuccessful mostly because it was dumb? 

All marriages will go through good and bad times. Isn't that not only expected going in to the deal, but also made pretty clear during the recitation of most couple's vows on their wedding day? 

(Although in my case, the STBX messed up that part and instead of promising to love me when it was both "easy" and when it "was an effort", he stammered that he would instead love me when it was both "easy" and when it was "effortless" -- and he was reading from a card! Red flag? Um yeah, you could say that!)

What isn't made clear, for almost half of those out there getting married in this country as evidenced by the current divorce rate, is the differences between what makes a dumb marriage versus what makes a smart one.  From what I've gathered, a dumb marriage is doomed to fail when faced with problems while a smart marriage is likely to succeed even when faced with the same damn problems.

Huh? Hold the phone ...

Why is that? 

According to,  

A smart marriage is defined by the fact that a couple will react to situations and problems in a smart, resolving way in order to not let it affect the marriage adversely. 

So, while most couples fight about the same basic things -- sex and intimacy, money, children, in-laws, time management and work-life balance etc. -- in a smart marriage, couples most often have already learned what to expect surrounding most of these issues before saying, "I do", and in their commitment to one another and their relationship, these couples actively work together to each acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to handle disagreements and challenges in a way that strengthens their relationship. 

My marriage was not smart.

Not only was it entered into for the wrong reasons, and not only did we lack common values, but we just were dumb and dumber still when it came to what is expected of actually being married.  So, from my own experience, in a dumb marriage there is a general lack of understanding when it comes to what may be expected.  Furthermore, instead of learning skills necessary for effectively managing differences and challenges (that should have been predictable for the most part, mind you), we actively acquired behaviors that destroyed us and tore us to pieces.  

Our disagreements were horrendous. Conflict-resolution was practically non-existent. 

Even if our love was a true love for all of the right reasons (it wasn't), we still wouldn't have survived.  The utter stupidity of how we barely managed our marriage would have killed even the purest love and devotion for one another, and we probably would have ended up divorced by middle-age.  Because our love was fickle, not true and based on bullshit more often than not ... the failure came quickly (dare I say, thankfully?).  I first wanted out when I was just five months pregnant with our son; it took almost another year and half for the failure to become so apparent that it could no longer be ignored, but that was still just a few weeks after our second anniversary.  

What was the most stupid about our marriage was that more often than not, neither of us could let go of our own individuality even if doing so would have been beneficial for our relationship.  Also, because we failed to establish open and honest communication early on, resentment and hostility swooped in fast and furious. 

Compromise didn't stand a chance.  

We each continued to live as we might have if we had never gotten married in the first place. What I mean is, we were both too stubborn to adapt to being two individuals in a successful partnership.  As the same problems arose without resolution over and over, we each became more and more unyielding in our own way of dealing.  We lived together as individuals completely unsuccessfully because we never learned how to actually be together

It's no wonder we are getting divorced, really.

Marriage counseling couldn't even save us.  Four months of going to therapy as a couple fueled my desire to leave because it merely served to reveal how broken we really were; how dire the situation really was.  How can you "rebuild" something that never really was in the first place? 

I'm hoping that through examining this dumb marriage vs. smart marriage idea, I am more apt to make better decisions surrounding any serious relationship of my future.  Not only do I want a true love that is real with someone that I share common values with, but I also want to be able to stand on a solid foundation with someone that still somehow makes my heart soar higher than it ever has before ...  

I'm taking the failures from my dumb marriage and using the lessons learned therein to increase my chances for success when there is a next time.  That's not only wonderful, but smart too.  Wise even.  

(Wise doesn't mean old; I will punch you in the throat!)


  1. This...was like reading a journal entry that I hope to write very soon. I am 28 years old, with a six-month old daughter, and have been separated from my husband for 15 months. We were both too immature when we got married, and did not share the same values/principles. Everyone hoped he would change his "bachelor" ways when I gave birth, but of course, he never did.

    I hope to one day have the same strength as you, and that my heart heals.

    1. Awe, hun! Virtual hugs being sent your way. And I am so glad that you spoke up here and commented. I seriously melted upon reading this because your words, heartfelt and full of pain and compassion all at once, are the number one reason WHY I made my journaling through divorce public. In sharing my story, I hope to provide comfort for others.

      Thank you for being here and I hope you'll stay for future posts!


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