dear sharideth: What are the Relationship Deal Breakers for Married People?

i got an email that might be my favorite so far because the first thing it said was a quote by me. what? humility is not my spiritual gift. here’s the email:

Sharideth,

“for the sake of this blog i will just clarify that i am talking to the unmarried masses.  the list of deal breakers for married folk, in my never humble opinion, is short, finite and a blog for another day.”

Has that day come, and I’ve missed it? Or has it not yet come? If it hasn’t, consider this a submission for the next edition of “Ask Sharideth”. Thank you. That is all.

Sincerely,

Want to Know Don’t Ask Me Why

dear WTKDAMW,

that quote is from “relationship deal breakers: the big 4”. you’re welcome. and no. i haven’t written it yet. honestly, the list for deal breakers in a marriage are the same, but the reasons and the breaking points are on a whole other level. the stakes are much higher. you might be sorry you asked.

i think i’m about to get myself in trouble with a large segment of the Church. it’s not the first time. most assuredly won’t be the last. there will also be those who don’t like what i have to say because it will make them feel like selfish, shallow people who take divorce too lightly, because that’s what they are.

here we go:

the four reasons for *possibly* getting a divorce:

1. lying – this one is not a “get out marriage free” card after the first offense. or even the second. or third… only in cases of unrepentant, repeated lying that is causing serious harm is it grounds for divorce. if lying is an issue in your marriage, you need counseling. there can be reconciliation and trust can be rebuilt. anytime that is possible, that is the choice you must make. if you are eager to call it a deal breaker, you need to evaluate your own heart and make sure you’re not using it as an excuse to get out. if you are, both of you are guilty of lying.

2. cheating – i use to believe this one was a “one-time and you’re out” deal breaker. i do not believe that anymore. no, craig never cheated on me, chill out. but i have seen several marriages reconciled after affairs because both sides still had love and compassion for one another and come out stronger on the backside. repeated offenses? yes. deal breaker. the person who cheats hasn’t just broken the “forsaking all others” part, but all of the vows. but if your spouse cheats and comes clean and begs forgiveness, seriously consider working it out. especially if there are children involved. please know i am not trying to guilt you into staying in your marriage after your spouse has had an affair. i AM asking you to look at your specific circumstances, the level of repentance in your spouse and your own heart and make the best decision you possibly can. if you find yourself relieved that your spouse had an affair so you can play the “get out of marriage free” card, check yourself, because some of the problem probably lies with you.

3. abuse – now THIS is a one time offense. your spouse hits you and you’re out. especially if there are children. if you stay, you are telling your children that getting hit is okay. i honestly don’t give a shit if you don’t believe that’s true. you not believing it won’t make your children choosing abusers for mates any less a reality. there can be counseling for emotional/verbal abuse, but that shouldn’t be tolerated for long and maybe even consider a separation while the counseling (both individual and family) is happening. p.s. if your spouse is emotionally/verbally abusive and refuses counseling, you are free to go. again, the vows are broken already by the abuser not by the one who leaves. abuse sets a torch to “love, honor and cherish”.

4. addiction – this one is harder. addiction can become part of a marriage without any prior history. the best advice i can give you is if your spouse wants help and actively participates in recovery, stand beside him/her. your support could be the life-line back to sobriety. if he/she refuses to acknowledge the problem or refuses to seek help, you are going to have to make the decision that best safeguards you and your children.

let me be clear about vows. they mean something. scratch that. they mean everything. if you vow before God and man to love, honor and cherish for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, forsaking all others, until death do you part amen, you’d better mean it. those are not idle words that just get you to the shiny ring and the chicken dance. those are words that you speak before witnesses, declaring a commitment to your spouse until you die. got it? i get so sickened by how many people forget what a serious thing taking a vow is. there was a time when breaking a vow meant abject dishonor among your peers. frankly, i think it’s a shame it’s no longer like that.

calm down, i know about grace and mercy and forgiveness, but wouldn’t it be just dandy if we didn’t need so much of those because we weren’t totally selfish douche bags?

but like i described above. there are times when getting a divorce isn’t breaking the vow. the vow was broken long before the marriage ended and you must protect yourself and possibly your children from further harm. i have a few choice words for those in the church who would look at a situation like that and still blame the one who got out. those words are, “go screw yourself”. where is the grace and mercy for someone who is shattered by the actions of a spouse?

pretty sure i just turned my soapbox into kindling…

what say you? do you agree or disagree with any of what i’ve said? do you think there are other deal breakers for a marriage?

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18 comments on “dear sharideth: What are the Relationship Deal Breakers for Married People?

  1. Thanks for responding to my question. Yes, it would be nice if we didn’t need grace and mercy and forgiveness because we weren’t totally selfich douche bags. Unfortunately, we are. Douche bags, that is. That’s why we need grace.

  2. Oh, and I’m glad my email “might be your favorite so far.” 🙂

  3. Jennwith2ns says:

    Pretty sure that line (and leading up to it) are MY favourite that you’ve said so far:

    “i get so sickened by how many people forget what a serious thing taking a vow is. there was a time when breaking a vow meant abject dishonor among your peers. frankly, i think it’s a shame it’s no longer like that.

    calm down, i know about grace and mercy and forgiveness, but wouldn’t it be just dandy if we didn’t need so much of those because we weren’t totally selfish douche bags?”

  4. FatSquirrel says:

    Abuse: there would appear to be an exception if the abuser is a female. My wife smacks me and I’m out? Probably not.
    Cheating: at this point, what IS the point? You aren’t sexually attracted to your spouse and now it’s just a marriage of convenience.

    • While it’s rarer, a wife abusing a husband does happen. If a man’s wife uses him for a punching bag, he should get to safety just as much as a woman whose husband uses her for the same.

    • why would there be an exception for females? if you married a violent woman, why would want to stay with her, especially if you have children? i don’t think women should get a pass on physical abuse.

      as for cheating…i’m just trying to clarify if i understand you correctly, are you saying it’s acceptable to cheat if you are no longer sexually attracted to your spouse?

      • FatSquirrel says:

        no I mean what’s the point of being married but for convenience, it’s a sad life

        • ticoandtina says:

          people go through phases of marriage and there are many reasons for no longer being sexually attracted to your spouse. sometimes those reasons are our responsibility more than our spouse’s – ie. I don’t know if you’re a man or a woman, but I have noticed a HUGE difference in my attraction to my husband when I have not been taking responsibility for what I allow my mind to dwell on, like if I’m thinking negative thoughts about him a lot instead of focusing on his strengths. this is certainly not a reason for divorce, but for many other things! changing my thought processes, better communication, etc. etc

          • This was well said, Tina. Too few people these days understand that love is a decision and a commitment, not attraction and feeling. We’re in a world that thinks love, infatuation, and arousal are all the same thing, and builds relationships on the latter two then crumbles when those aren’t there or someone else inspires them more.

  5. For #3, I’d be inclined to say immediate grounds for separation, rather than immediate grounds for divorce. Abuse is certainly *valid* grounds for divorce, but I have known of marriages where the one occurrence was enough to shake up the abusing spouse and trigger a life change. That said, you should definitely be getting yourself and children out of an environment where you are in danger. Particularly where children are involved, you should not stay in an environment where you’re being abused.

    I hate to even bring it up, but we should also add child molestation to the list. We can categorize that under abuse as well, but it unfortunately deserves a mention in this day and age.

    • re: #3…possibly. i’ll give you that. and as for molestation, absolutely. it does fall under abuse, but my belief about molestation is that it must be reported. if it’s not, and another child gets hurt, the adult person who knew, but didn’t tell, holds some responsibility.

  6. reneamac says:

    I think you’re handled this quite well. Thanks, Sharideth.

  7. Kati says:

    Damn, I love your blog.

  8. Susan says:

    I would also like to add under the abuse part. As you know Shar what I have been through. You may need to add in Mental along with the physical abuse. Sometimes it can be worse than getting hit. Yes it is a fine line for all.

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