the grace of divorce – why we go: change

The rotation of his old orb creates two relational influences, of which we can do nothing about. One is time and the other gravity, both of which can be caustic to a marriage. While they are as predictable as a sunrise and a waterfall, they also give us a false sense of certainty, where, in fact, they are catalysts to change. And we don’t like that.

We’re uncertainty avoiders. We live by the predictability of appliances and automobiles, wireless hubs and browsers to the point that an entire day can ruined if we can’t log on to Facebook. Few things are more disconcerting than silence after you’ve turned the key in the ignition, or the sounds your house makes during a power outage. We like certainty, sureness, predictability, security even more so in our relationships.

That’s what’s so deteriorating about change. There are so many forces at work it’s inevitable, change happens. But we like things as they are right now because we know how to deal with them.

We know how to deal with good health. We know how to deal with what we believe. We know how to deal with the people we love. Throw in a carcinogen or two, a crisis of faith, a void of trust and suddenly your world is rocked. Slow changes are even more malignant, especially when we resist them.

When you first got married you had an idea of what you were getting into. Not that the idea was correct, it was your supposition, your hope, your vision all captured in that psychological Polaroid. We do that because we like our ideas, our ideals, and are banking at the time that they will endure, that they’re not subject to ebbs and flows of time and gravity.

That notion pops pretty quickly, perhaps as soon as the nuptials are over; an errant fart, the first lack of consideration, even the resurfacing of an old habit safely tucked away during courtship can weasel its way into surprise. These are little changes, no deal breakers necessarily, because the way love works we overlook these little surprises in the beginning and take them for what they’re worth. Everybody farts.

Spin the planet a year or two farther and more significant changes emerge. We call them children. They change everything right down to the way you look. No longer that couple in the wedding picture. Pregnancy does wonderful and terrible things to the female form. Some side effects impact the male one, and arguably for the most part, things will never be the same. I must say that it’s been my experience that the female form survives and rebounds from childbirth much better than the male.

Other physical changes have entire industries devoted to their taming, from weight gain to hair loss, sagging boobs to crinkling crows’ feet, falling arches to failing spines. For some reason, we don’t think this is pretty. Younger is pretty, at least according to absolutely anything we’ve ever paid attention to electronically.

A change of mind is no less insolent, especially when it isn’t ours, but is much more earth shaking. Try it. Switch political parties. Go from Coke to Pepsi. Convert religions or disbelieve altogether. Say you’ve had enough.

If it’s your mind changing you have that dynamic certitude, a conviction of direction, a get-the-hell-out-of-my-way determination that sets you on a new path. If you’re married to that changing mind you’re in for a ride and there’s nothing you can do except go along or bail. I believe the ride can be exhilarating if you let it. Others though, many others don’t do well with a change of mind.

A change of heart is continental drift. It’s not just love enveloped in that cardiac metaphor, it’s all emotion that is impetus to all our action.

Grief is a change of heart, irreconcilable to so many, unassuaged for so long, it can make a heart irretrievable, a change no level of astrophysics could thwart.

Lust is a change of heart, or rather a change of lower organs connected, sometimes inseparably, to the idea of love. Shifting the intentions of sexual affection will change a relationship even if there’s no one else involved.

Depression is a change of heart. Like heaving ice it quietly separates. A change in disposition invites all kinds of fear and suspicion, where its root may not have anything at all to do with the relationship. Left unchecked it digs deep and subjugates hope.

Fear is a change of heart, enough for emotional paralysis. It can hemorrhage jealousy and change relational affiliations in a heartbeat.

And certainly love is a change of heart. When it’s a change towards, the heavens sing with cherubs. When it’s a change away, one is left to the mercy of their own heart, and a breaking one has little to give. It’s here we want to spin the world and get behind us that blind sided moment we wish to never suffer again.

Outside the universe of the self, change certainly has its impacts. Financial stability, post-traumatic stress, a change in acceptance and hundreds of other dynamics work their havoc in relationships to a point where earth’s rotation slows and gravity’s pull increases, miring us in that horrid feeling of not being loved.

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