Sunday, August 1, 2010

In a Case Like This

I read a few blogs on a regular basis. Recently, a post in one of them triggered some fighting name-calling debate, and I thought I'd expand my own thoughts here.

The post is talking about the hypocrisy behind a senator voting against same-sex marriage, but in favor of no-fault divorce. The blogger goes on to explain, in a angry uninformed heated reply to yours-truly, that he feels this is hypocritical because if you are someone who is against same-sex marriage for religious reasons, then you should also oppose no-fault divorce for those same reasons. Whether you agree with the reasons, or with Mr. Marshall's evaluation of the vote, he does raise an interesting point. Religion is used as an argument against both of these things (all too often, in my opinion). 

If you are a regular reader of my blog (hint, hint), then you know I'm divorced. You might also know that I am still good friends with my ex. He's a great guy. He was a great husband. I think he'll make a great husband for someone else, too. We were good together for a long time - and then we weren't. Life happens.

We all have opinions. We form them based on what we're taught in school and what we learn from our parents. We change them over time as we meet new friends and acquaintances along the way. We refine them as we experience more of the good, and bad, that life has to offer.  We (all of us - myself included) have to find the line between an opinion and a judgement - and then be careful where we stand. 

Speaking for myself, I know a lot of people formed an opinion about my situation. Some decided who was right vs who was wrong. Others decided that X and I were wrong to give up on the marriage. Others thought we waited to long to end things. Some thought we never should have married in the first place. 

I don't begrudge anyone having their own opinion. But to judge me as a person when you don't have all the facts is particularly unfair. I was especially hurt and offended by those who thought that I didn't take my marriage seriously. A lot of people jumped to that conclusion because when X and I started having problems, we didn't share them with anyone. So we spent nearly a year pretending to be happily married. It wasn't anyone's business what we were going through, and I don't think either of us wanted anyone judging us based on our problems, especially if we worked things out in the end. 

The result, of course, was that when we did separate, it appeared to many to have come out of the blue. They had no idea of the fights and the hurtful words, or the tears or how much effort we both put in to saving the relationship. I had "friends" who I thought I could count on look at my situation and say, "You didn't try hard enough." They judged my character based on what they thought they knew, and stopped talking to me. When someone I know does that, it hurts. A lot.

When someone I don't know does that - it pisses me off.

Which is why the argument against the no-fault law is such a slap in the face. When I read Mr. Marshall's post, I researched (okay, I Googled) the law. I found a lot of articles talking about the argument against the law, mostly from Catholic and (this surprised me) women's organizations. One argument was that "it makes getting out of a marriage easier than getting out of a cell-phone contract." That's an exaggeration of course (Have you ever tried to get out of a cell-phone contract!?) but the point is made - marriage shouldn't be exited lightly. 

I agree, it shouldn't. Nor should it be entered into lightly. So, if you (as my state, my family or friends, or my government) thought I was ready to say "I do," then I think you should respect me when I say "I'm done." Is it sad? Terribly. But it's a fact of life that not all marriages are built to last. X and I had a solid friendship, which was the foundation of our marriage, and continues to this day. It was a slap in the face to be told that we needed time to think about our decision (as if we hadn't already done that) so we had to be separated for a year before we could divorce. A big deal? In the end, no. But it cost us more time (and, yes, more money to the state) than it should have. 

A no-fault divorce option doesn't apply in all cases. But in cases like mine, where we truly were amicable and agreed on how we wanted things handled, it would have worked well.

Note: X and I did our separation online. We paid a fee for some boiler-plate language and used the software to answer questions that completed the form for us. We took that agreement to a notary and signed it (together) and then paid to file it with the county clerk ourselves. When our year was up, we did seek the help of an attorney in taking that separation agreement and filing it with superior court to have a divorce judgment. One of us hired the attorney (has to be done that way, due to conflict of interest) but we split the cost. When I say amicable and no-fault, I mean just that.

[If you want to read my thoughts on same-sex marriage, click here. Care what I have to say about religion or character? Click here.]


  1. Sorry, but I just don't think that Kevin Marshall was voicing any argument against No-Fault divorce, nor is he judging you about your own divorce. Putting the crossed out words "name calling" and "fighting" is disingenuous.

    Personally, I think Kevin Marshall may be finding his way back home to God. I am praying that he does. I was an atheist for 25 years and I found my way Home, and I know that even when I didn't believe in God, He still believed in me. God believes in Kevin, too. I hate it when commenters attack him for his atheism. How on Earth does that help anyone on their way back to God?

  2. The name calling and fighting had to do with the comments, not his post. He implied that I needed to get a life that I may be unable to understand subtlety or sarcasm. I was also referring to the other comments when I referenced the fighting and name-calling, I wasn't only talking about Kevin.

    I'm not attacking Kevin at all. I was asking a question, because I truly didn't get what he was trying to say. Everyone (including him) assumed I have a problem with him being an Atheist. The truth is, I don't. I don't have a problem with him being a Catholic, either. I do have a little problem with him calling those senators hypocrites, when I'm not sure he's totally innocent of that, himself. He's posted about being a Godparent, and an Atheist. I actually don't understand how one person can be both. A Godparent vows before God and family to participate is the religious upbringing of a child; honoring the Catholic faith. How can an Atheist do that?

    As far as me thinking Kevin was attacking me, or my divorce - I don't. I never did. I have been attacked, and I was sharing a little bit of my perspective with him on the no-fault divorce bill, and where my perspective comes from. He assumed I was accusing him of an attack - not sure why.

    I don't know Kevin. I read his blog and I occasionally comment when I think I might be able to add something. He always argues with me - even when I agree with him. But that wouldn't stop me from listening to what someone has to say.

  3. As I said, I believe that Kevin, consciously or not, is making his way back home. I've never met him (well, I will tomorrow, incidentally) but I hope he makes his way back to God, as I would with anyone. It's the choice of the parents to pick a Godparent for baby. They believe that Kevin will make a good one; maybe they know something that you don't, with all due respect.

    The senators are hypocrites, and many of them are a lot worse. Gays should be allowed to marry. Period.

    As for name calling, I re-read everything just now and the only name calling that I could find was your "poseur or a coward" comment and your later rationalization of it. How many people post anonymously to the various TU blogs every day?

    "I’m divorced, after a ten-year marriage. The assertion that I didn’t take my marriage seriously (ie – protect its sanctity) offends me." Where did Kevin make this assertion? In your own words, you are offended by his assertion in that post. I can't help it--I read that to mean that Kevin call you out personally and accused you of not, well, taking your marriage seriously.

  4. If I thought that Kevin specifically was making that assertion, I would have said as much. My comment would have read, "Your assertion that I didn't...." I said "The assertion" because it offends me no matter where it's coming from - him, the senators, the other readers. I don't care. It's offensive, period.

    As far as people posting anonymously, that's fine unless you're saying something personally to someone else. That reader directed the comment at me, jumped to several conclusions, and then went back into hiding. I'm sorry if you don't agree with me, but I said it there, and I'll say it here: that's a coward.

    I'm not sure how else to say this, so at the risk of repeating myself - I don't care if Kevin is Atheist or Catholic. That's a personal choice and is, frankly, none of my business.

    If I had an issue with Kevin Marshall, it would be this: I asked a question and immediately, I was stupid, judgmental and looking for a fight. For asking a question?! He puts his opinion out there, and then expects what - that everyone will just agree with him? Life's not like that, and me asking a question on a public blog hardly makes me a bad person. I was respectful and polite and deserved the same in return.

    Nothing is cut and dry. If Kevin can be an Atheist and still be a good Godparent to his nephew, that's between him, God, the parents and the little boy. Not my business. But the mere fact that there is something in his life that makes him less than perfect should keep him from passing judgment on others. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.