A new kind of worry

I have two very good friends whose marriages are what I would call “in crisis”. Both have kids. Both are unsure if they will stay married.

As a woman in my 40s, I am experiencing a whole new kind of worry. I love my friends and want them and their kids to he happy and safe. Thoughts run through my head all day: How do they sleep at night? DO they sleep at night? Are they scared about their futures all the time or just fleetingly? Are they confident? What do their kids notice? Will they try counseling?  Will it work? What if the husbands aren’t willing? Will they be relieved when it is just over? Will they have to fight for everything? Are they still in love?

I have asked and gotten answers to some of these questions. But I still wonder how much the answers change from day to day.

Does any of this make me question my own marriage? No. Emphatically no. But it does make me feel slightly guilty for having it so easy in the marriage department. And I do think “What if it were me? How would I handle it?” I guess it would depend on if I was sleepless or scared or confident or still in love. I guess it would be a day-to-day thing.

My parents divorced when I was 11, so I have that perspective. My friends’ parents are still married, so I use my kid’s-eye view to try to assure them that it is not always the end of the world for kids.

One thing I remember well about that time is a family that we spent a lot of time with. When my parents were in crisis, this couple helped them. They suggested Marriage Encounter, and when my parents went, they took all three of us for the weekend. No small feat since they had two boys, one with cerebral palsy. True and wise friends indeed. Even though they still divorced, my parents appreciated the limb this couple went out on.

I think the best I can do is try to be a true and wise friend. And if I am asked, I will continue to make suggestions that I would follow myself.  I will come if I’m called. I will be a good listener. And I will worry.

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