Tuesday, May 29, 2007

School of hard knocks

Having parents who divorce after the kids have left home carries its own unique pain and loss. From Georgia Family Law Blog:

"For a lot of students, it's a loss of their security," says Mary Anne Knapp, counselor for CAPS. "They think, 'I just got here and am getting my bearings. I wanted something constant to go back to. I wanted to know there was security at home.'"

Darn messy kids

I just couldn't pass this one up.

Split-family living isn’t easy. Children of divorce often ride a roller coaster of emotions that can sometimes make even the best of divorces seem chaotic. They withdraw. They throw tantrums. They refuse to eat. They cry. They get angry. They say horrible things. Even when both parents are very involved and there is absolutely no abuse or other negative activity going on, kids go berserk.

Oops, so sorry that we managed to make your perfectly lovely divorce a nightmare; we should have taken the destruction of our family as the happy news it really was.

And can I just point out that ALL children occasionally withdraw, throw tantrums, display bad eating habits, cry, get angry, and say mean things? Welcome to parenting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reality bites

Yuck! This is one reality TV show I will not be watching. Who comes up with this stuff--and why are they still employed?

How do you mend a broken heart? By getting angry, getting even and getting over it! Real people who have undergone traumatic divorces learn how to move on with their lives, on Ex-Wives Club, an empowering new reality series premiering MONDAY, MAY 28 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The show is hosted by three women who know all about breaking up -- famed "exes" Angie Everhart, Shar Jackson and Marla Maples.

OK, that last sentence is actually kind of funny. The only one of those names I even recognize is The Donald's ex. Apparently, Shar Jackson is the significantly less famous ex-wife of K-Fed, who is himself only famous because of his other ex-wife. And I still can't figure out who Angie Everhart is supposed to be.

Commercials airing now show one woman pushing her ex's car out of an airplane and watching it implode on the desert floor. According to the web site, getting revenge is one of three ways the show is 'helping' people 'move on' after their divorces. And instead of Dr. Phil, we get some lady who wrote a book called Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life. As if.

Let's hope this one gets canceled after the obligatory three episodes, never to rear its ugly head again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

King of commitment

Did anyone see last night's finale of The King of Queens? I was busy multi-tasking and channel surfing, but I saw a few snippets here and there. Carrie and Doug have been having some marriage problems in the last few episodes and things came to a head in the finale. On the loading dock of the building where Carrie's dad's wedding reception is taking place, the king and his queen have a showdown.

Doug accuses Carrie of not being committed to their marriage, after finding out that she has kept an apartment in Manhattan that he thought she had given up. He asks when she has ever gone out on a limb for him. Carrie says, "I married you, didn't I? What do you call that?"; to which Doug replies, "Um, hitting the jackpot!"

Then he follows it up with a really touching and insightful speech. He tells his wife that a couple doesn't go out on a limb for each other when they get married. Couples getting married think that everything is going to work out great; they're in love. Then, ten years go by and--in the case of Doug and Carrie--she realizes that he's not getting any thinner, and he realizes that she's not getting any nicer. That, Doug says, is when they have to go out on a limb for each other...to stay together even when things don't appear to have worked out perfectly.

In real life, actors Kevin James and Leah Remini who play Doug and Carrie have each been married just a few years. But the actor who plays Carrie's father is Jerry Stiller, father of actor Ben Stiller, and husband of 53 years to actress Anne Meara.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The other Bono

From Dawn Eden's blog:

I remember liking the fact that Chastity's parents sang "I Got You Babe" together with her in tow. There was something about that image of a supportive family that I longed for, as my mother and father were having marital problems at that time. As it happened, I was six months ahead of Chastity in the divorced-parents department as well.

Read the whole post, complete with pictures and video, here. (Scroll down to Tuesday, May 8.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Novel divorcees

NPR has an article up about books that aren't getting a lot of press but that are worth the read. One of their picks is Our Kind, a novel consisting of stories of women who married in the '50s and divorced in the '70s.

The group includes the artistic one, the recovering alcoholic, the one whose daughter killed herself, and more. Narrated by these women collectively ("Years ago we were led down the primrose lane, then abandoned somewhere near the carp pond"), the stories of their current lives include an intervention with the local Realtor, trying to save the geese at the Country Club, calling old lovers on the phone — and my favorite, a priceless chapter called "Sick Chicks," which describes a book discussion group that meets in a local hospice (at this meeting, they're talking about Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway).

Follow the link above to read the whole review and an excerpt from the novel, including this:

Know that we are a close-knit community. We've lived here for years, which is not to say that our ancestors are buried here; simply, this is the place we have all ended up. We were married in 1953. Divorced in 1976. Our grown daughters pity us; our grown sons forget us. We have grandchildren we visit from time to time, but their manners agitate, so we return, nervous, thankful to view them at a distance.

Most of us excel at racquet sports.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Marriage-affirming words

Joni Eareckson Tada shared some nuggets of encouragement from her marriage to Ken Tada while speaking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss a few weeks ago. The transcript is well worth reading.

Joni talks about her and Ken's humorous first date, which was a good test of how he'd handle the day to day challenges of marriage to a quadriplegic. She talks about their rocky first year of marriage, and how she sought the Lord for help. And she talks about how she continues to encourage and support her husband.

If you need some encouragement in your marriage or in your singleness, go read this interview.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Marketing divorce

From my friend and co-blogger Holly at The Point:

"Life's short. Get a divorce." That's the tagline being used by a Chicago law firm to promote their divorce "services." The huge billboard, which hangs in Chicago's ritzy Gold Coast neighborhood, features two scantily clad bodies. It screams sex. The law firm is defending the "cutting edge" ad. Divorce attorney Corri Fetman audaciously says, "If you're unhappy, that life is too short to continue in an unhappy marriage, those images provide hope."

Follow the link in Holly's post, if you dare, to the Fox News video story on this tasteless ad and you'll see the billboard: a catchy tagline and contact info for the law firm, flanked by the scantily clad torsos of a woman on the left and a man on the right.

OK, so the real message here seems to be that life is too short to be with a dumpy loser like the one you're holding hands with as you stroll down the street and see the billboard, and that if you would just get a divorce, you could hook up with a model-licous hunk or babe like the ones pasted overhead. Really? Come on!

This ad and the notion behind it reminded me of an old article at Boundless. In "Brother, You're Like a Six," Scott Croft lamented a similar fantasy that plays out among the unmarried crowd:

I once counseled a Christian brother in his dating relationship with a great woman. She was godly, caring, and bright. She was attractive, but not a supermodel. For weeks I listened to this brother agonize over his refusal to commit and propose to this woman. He said they were able to talk well about a lot of things, but there were a few topics he was interested in that she couldn't really engage with, and sometimes the conversation "dragged."

He also said that, while he found her basically attractive, there was one feature of hers that he "just pictured differently" on the woman he would marry. I would ask about her godliness and character and faith, and he said all those things were stellar (and he was right). Finally, he said, "I guess I'm looking for a 'ten'."

I could hold back no longer. Without really thinking, I responded, "You're looking for a 'ten'? But, brother, look at yourself. You're like a 'six.' If you ever find the woman you're looking for, and she has your attitude, what makes you think she would have you?"

Exactly. This law firm is trying to sell the ridiculous notion that all of us ordinary Joe's and Jane's deserve better, that we deserve to be with the hottest thing around. Because life would be so much better if we were arm in arm with someone better looking. Well, maybe for the first five minutes, until the person you're arm in arm with realizes that they deserve someone better looking than you.

And where in all of this do we find character, honesty, kindness, depth, compassion, love? Those are the things life is too short to be without; those are the things we can all display, with a little work and discipline, and the things we should hope and pray for in a spouse.