Today is the Feast Day of one of my most beloved Saints, a patron of the impossible causes, hopeless cases, difficult marriages, and yes, infertility. It was only brought to my attention that she is a patron for infertility a few years into the journey, when another blogger who had a particular devotion to St Rita told me all about it. She quickly became one of my favorite Saints, and not just for the infertility connection.
The difficult marriages. And other patronages connected to it. That was an incredible source of strength and devotion for me to this powerful, while intimidating, Saint. While Saint Gianna would always hold a special place in my heart, she was also in a loving, holy, Sacramental marriage that was an inspiration and model for so many other couples. Their love letters to each other have been published, which is so beautiful (if you haven't read them, yet).
But, that was not something I could really connect to with Saint Gianna. I strove for it, sure. But, couldn't ever connect.
Saint Rita, and her circumstances? A whole other story. I felt like I had finally been brought to a Saint I could fully get on board with, someone who knew what I was up against. And in 2013, when things really began to go down? She was my fortress.
While I cannot and will not get into specifics here on this public blog, I do feel it prudent to speak to what are NOT the reasons for this divorce. On this day, Saint Rita's Feast Day, and the woman who I focused on as my personal role model in continuing a marriage despite all signs pointing to major problems, I think it is important to clarify reasons that were not the ultimate reasons for this decision - after 10 years and 2 separations before it. Why? Why is it important to clarify these non-reasons? Because marriage is a Sacrament, marriage is work, marriage is a Cross to embrace, and marriage is ultimately the salvation of those who are within it. And my circumstances, while not public-ready, yet, are VERY particular to the point that those who do hear the whole story are stunned speechless. This is not your run-of-the-mill divorce. And the following are NOT the reasons for the divorce:
I have not been "happy," or "in love," since early in the honeymoon.
While true, this is not a reason to divorce. Love is a choice, it is not a feeling. I chose to love a man (who I thought I knew, which speaks more to the reasons behind looking into the validity of the vows), and I stood by that choice and still do. While it may not be a Sacramental love, it will continue to be a love as Christ taught us to love our neighbors and our enemies. Likewise happiness is not the ultimate goal of marriage, or anything in life, for that matter. The goal is heaven, not happiness on earth. While 95% of the time I was unhappy in my relationship, and the other 5% of the time I chose to give in to the denial and the picture that had been painted for me, that didn't matter AT ALL. And, it shouldn't.
I have not been emotionally supported.
I can sit here and list a million different ways in which I was not emotionally supported or fulfilled throughout the entirety of the relationship. But, who can't?? Seriously. While yes, it would be wonderful to at least have glimpses of support and Christ-like love from the person you are giving it to, it was not the lack thereof that dictated the necessity to separate.
He did not financially support, provide, or contribute.
Again, while true, there are many, many couples out there where the woman is the primary or sole provider, and that does not make their marriage invalid or mean that divorce is necessary. I may have had some unrealistic expectations from roles in marriage, just as I think most people do, especially the young. But, the journey is in adjusting to the new, learning to meet the challenges together, and overcompensating for periods of time when your spouse is particularly struggling. (The problem in our relationship is that the "period of time" was ongoing, and spiraling downward, never getting better. And still, this was NOT the reason.)
I will stop here, as I fear getting too lengthy will lead to one personal caveat after another, and I risk losing the privacy I need to maintain at this time.
The point is this: There are more reasons nowadays to divorce than there are to get married. I believe that by seeking happiness, feelings of Hollywood-like love, a sense of complete emotional well-being, and financial security, we do ourselves a major disservice. I am not saying these things in and of themselves are BAD things to be avoided, heavens no! (Well, maybe the Hollywood love is, lol.) But rather, that seeking them out as the ultimate gifts or goal of marriage - because this is a recipe for disaster, and one that will lead to divorce every single time.
In my case, (you'd think with all the NaPro in my life, I would have been better at detecting this), it didn't boil down to these "symptoms" within the relationship, but rather, the underlying causes of the symptoms.
And that, my friends, is the topic of my someday book.
Saint Rita, Pray for Us!