by Jay Johansen | Sep 11, 2020
I am recently divorced. And it struck me that one of the things I miss most about marriage is the sharing of victories and defeats.
It's often said that a benefit of marriage is that you have someone to help you through the hard times. This is true. But marriage also means that you have someone to share the joy of your victories.
Not long after my first divorce, 20 years ago, I got a pay raise at work. The way that company worked was that they gave you a letter informing you of the pay raise. And I sat at my desk looking at this letter, and I thought to myself, This will help me to pay the alimony, but it's just not fun like it was when I had a happy marriage. Back then, when I got a pay raise, I couldn't wait to race home and tell my wife. We would promptly blow a chunk of the first check on a fancy dinner out. We would talk about how we would use the extra money, how this brought us a step closer to our dreams. We would plan together. It was fun and exciting. But after the divorce, there was no one to celebrate with. It was nice from a practical standpoint, but it wasn't fun.
A few weeks ago, my dishwasher broke and I had some problems fixing it but finally got it working. A small victory, but`I was very pleased with myself. And, silly I suppose, but I would have just loved to share this good news with my wife. To celebrate that we didn't have to pay a professional repairman or maybe even buy a new dishwasher, and, frankly, to boast a little about my home applicance repairing prowess. :-) I told myself that I was being silly. It wasn't that big an achievement. I suppose I could have called one of my children or told friends at work. But that just wouldn't be the same. A co-worker would probably say, "Umm ... okay ... good for you." I'd be asking them to be happy for my victory, rather than our victory.
There's the old slogan that marriage is "you and me against the world". Sometimes the world wins, and you can put bandages on each other's wounds -- literally or figuratively. Sometimes you win, and you can celebrate your victory together. That's one of the greatest things about marriage.
© 2020 by Jay Johansen
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