As of today, I have been married for 13 years. I actually have two wedding anniversaries. The first is January 22, 2004. I was married to Martin Wesley Muhammad at the Justice of the Peace in a room full of strangers in a mass wedding. It was hilarious. I actually thought we might not be granted our marriage license because we caught the giggles in the middle of the ceremony. While our decision to get married early was motivated by the fact that I was pregnant, it was not a shotgun wedding. We were already engaged to be married. You might say we got married sooner for our first born child. Thus, she would not be born out of wedlock (and we would have more health insurance). Exactly four months later, I was married to the same man on May 22, 2004 in front of friends and family. If you would have told me then what I know now, I would not believe it. As a matter of fact, the content of this blog is a surprise for me and I’m writing it. Then I was strictly opposed to staying married for your children. My how times have changed.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Martin Wesley Muhammad (affectionately referred to as Big Daddy). However, sometimes living with him is hard. Believe me, I am sure that the feelings are mutual. I am just as confident that couples who get the opportunity to celebrate 50 years of marriage have contemplated divorce. They just don’t do it. A successful marriage requires that you honor the vows that are taken, “…for better or worse, until death do us part”. I believe that divorce should be a last resort for married couples, especially couples who have children.
Just this week, I spoke with a client who stated that if it weren’t for his children, he would have left his wife long ago. Children give some couples the motivation to do the work that is required for marriage to survive. It gives couples the opportunity to be selfless and to consider the impact of destroying a family when they give up on a marriage. Divorce is the easy option. Staying and doing the work is tough, but the rewards are endless. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Martin and I both come from broken homes. While they were very different homes, the trauma of loss and dysfunction has affected our lives in similar ways. We both were left with poor lessons in love, and we have sought to fill this void in several ways. Some good, others, not so much. Personally, The Recipe for Ecstasy book series was motivated by my desire to find love and hold on to it forever. I have learned a lot during this process. One thing is for sure. Marriage is hard! It ain’t for the weak or lazy. Think carefully before you make this life altering decision. Are you ready to do the work?
Although my husband’s parents divorced when he was young, his story has a happy ending. His parents did not give up. After nearly 10 years apart, they remarried and have been together ever since. I wish he could have been spared the grief of those ten years. However, without the divorce, we would not get the chance to see two people fight for their marriage. Now we get to see his parents work through the struggles of life together. I am grateful for this lesson. Thank you!
I don’t think that it is a coincidence that his parents reconnected when he was a teenager. The hard part was coming to an end. “Marty”(the youngest child) was knocking on the door of manhood. People should stay married while their children are young. The trauma of divorce is too great. At the same time, I know that having children places an enormous strain on marriages. The older children get the easier life becomes. I am looking forward to the day when mine are grown, gone, and off my bank roll.
Of course there are exceptional cases where divorce is the best option. No one should subject themselves to abuse. Being raised in an abusive home isn’t good for children either. Sometimes you must choose between the lesser of two evils. As previously stated, divorce should be the last option. It should only be considered after you have done the work to save your marriage. Remember, marriage is a committed. It is not to be enter into carelessly.
Today I reaffirm my commitment to Martin W. Muhammad. I will do my part, honor my vows, and do the work of staying in love with Big Daddy. I want to grow old with him. I want to see his highs and lows up close. I want to show the world how it is done. I want to give our children an example of how to love, how to fight, how to make up, and more than anything, how to stay through it all. If you do the work on the front end and pick a person who is right for you, someone you really love, and more importantly, someone you really like, then you should have all the motivation you need to stay married. If you lose that motivation, stay married for your children. Once you have honored your obligation to them you can make the decision to reclaim your life. I believe in the power of love and work. If you believe then…
You, you, you and me could move a mountain
You, you, you and me could calm a war down
You, you, you and me could make it rain now
You, you, you and me could stop this love drought