Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8

I have watched this show for years enjoying every minute of it. While at times I winced when Kate would be particularly snappy, I merely put it up to caring for twins and sextuplets. Jon always seemed like the perfect patient father and husband. I related to it I think looking back because my original set of parents (they divorced and remarried others) were a lot like that. My mother is a handful, high maintenance as they would say now and yet is a terrific mother. My father seemed to have the patience of Job dealing with my mother's theatrics and us kids. They still seemed to me a perfect team.

Watching the show last night made me sadder than I thought it would. I'm not here to judge either one or whether the show took them down this path, I'm just sad that yet another young couple with children has taken the divorce road. I found myself wanting to say I'm an adult child of divorce, you can't begin to understand the pain this will bear years down the road.

I had held out some hope that the big announcement would be we are ending the show, concentrating on our marriage and being there for our kids OR even hey folks been a ratings game. Sorry to disappoint you but we actually like and love each other.

As I watched Jon struggle to express himself the anger in his voice, I thought of how tough it is when you realize what you are saying is not right and yet it is how you feel. Kate tried to take the high road but her anger and bitterness came through when she blamed Jon and sounded like a victim.

They have made the mistake so many parents make...isn't it better we break up than the kids see us yelling and fighting all the time? As one who walked that path as a child, I can say, actually no. Where there is no abuse, where there are no irreconcilable reasons, staying together for the sake of the kids is a good idea. It could even down the road rekindle the love.

Maybe in our world of throw away marriages and kids, that seems an old fashion notion and somehow wrong, but I still wish my parents were together. Even though I adored both my stepparents, it just wasn't the same.

They don’t need or want advice. Right now the anger, hurt and disappointment is too raw. But if I could just take them a few years into the future, they might see the terrible scars that will come. Because it isn’t a mom and dad that divorce, it’s a family torn asunder.

I can't say I'll be watching the show any longer. I'm not sure I can bear it since my own scars are still there, not raw, not bitter, just there.

7 comments:

  1. It has been sad to see this happen in yet another family. I, too, am an adult child of divorce and it has been a challenge to soften the effects of the fallout for my own children. One of my brothers has never let go of the pain...and he is close to 50 years old.

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  2. I've had to shake my head more than once standing in the line at the grocery store and wondering why those two don't get it. If humans are affected by examples, do they understand the harm that their public actions are causing? It's sad on so many levels.

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  3. I've never watched the show, so I cannot comment on it, but I suspect it's a rare family nowadays that hasn't been touched by divorce somewhere down the line. It's especially sad for the children, the innocent bystanders who somehow feel it's their fault.

    I'm reminded of the poetic lines:
    "Of all sad words of tongue or pen
    The saddest are these: It might have been."

    (I hope I quoted that correctly) But the whole message changes drastically by adding just one word to the end -- "worse."

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  4. I only saw preveiws of the show, I never tuned in, but I certainly heard all about it (and read about it in line at the store; untrustworthy as those reports might be) and it really tugs at the heartstrings. I can only guess that putting their family in the public eye made things worse for them. Good comments and I am sorry for such hurt that lingers.

    My precious parents were married nearly 60 years when my mom passed away and Jim & I celebrate 39 years in Aug., but our daughter divorced a few years ago (they have 3 little girls) and it has dramatically changed the dynamics of our entire family forever.

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  5. "They have made the mistake so many parents make...isn't it better we break up than the kids see us yelling and fighting all the time? As one who walked that path as a child, I can say, actually no. Where there is no abuse, where there are no irreconcilable reasons, staying together for the sake of the kids is a good idea. It could even down the road rekindle the love."

    I have thought a lot about this post since reading it the other day. My marriage is extremely troubled right now; my husband had an affair, was excommunicated, and is not currently living with me and our four children. I asked him to leave when he was unable to cut off contact with this other woman. He's a good man and I believe that someday he'll find his way back and desire to repent, but that is far away from what he wants right now. Truly, the only things keeping us from divorce are the kids.

    I guess the question I'd like to ask you, Terri, and anyone else who has experience to answer is how do you think the example of the way your parents treated each other would have effected your choice in a marriage partner? I was all ready to sacrifice everything personally so my kids could have an unbroken home, until my Catholic neighbor pointed out to me, "You don't want your sons growing up thinking it's okay to never be here. You don't want your daughters growing up thinking it's okay for their husbands not to cherish them, to treat them only with polite indifference."

    That opened my eyes quite a bit. So, I ask for your opinion. What is the point where the damage of leaving becomes less than the damage of staying?

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  6. My husband was serving as a bishop when a dear friend in the ward experienced her husband being arrested for sexual abuse...he was a Scout leader. My friend's example taught me a great deal about the power of the Atonement and the role it plays in our lives. While everyone around her immediately began "throwing stones" and insisting she file for divorce immediately, she met with her Church leaders on several occasions, fasted, prayed, read her scriptures, attended the temple...then did it all again and again. She took several months to make her decision. She knew her husband was guilty of a horrendous crime, but she knew she needed more than ever to make sure she kept her covenants. Her bishop told her he could not and would not tell her what decision to make...that he would support her in any decision she made. It had to be between her and the Lord, and no one else had the right to tell her which decision to make. She eventually filed for divorce and started a new life with her children in another state.

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  7. Thank you, Kari. There is a lot of pressure in making a decision this large. I will continue praying and fasting and attending the temple in hopes that the way will become clear to me. With the laws where I live, I don't know if I'll even be able to leave the state should that be my desire. Right now, either path is completely pain-filled. I'm holding tightly to the words of Isaiah where he writes about "beauty for ashes" and "joy for mourning".

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