Have you ever been to a divorce party? Apparently it’s a new trend. I’ll admit I did a double take when I read about it. It’s not that I judge people who have gone through or are currently going through a divorce. Divorce is painful and sometimes, terrible situations make it necessary. But, as a child of divorced parents (note: it was a grave situation), I still have to ask, is divorce something that we should be celebrating?
Divorce parties are becoming increasingly more popular—and the numbers of articles available on the topic vouch for this. One article interviewed a woman who was a divorce party planner. Complete with an upside down cake, giving back the wedding gifts to guests, right down to the bride walking back up the aisle to be taken back by her father.
These parties are advertised as a celebration of “freedom.” Freedom from the promise and responsibility to love another person unconditionally and care for each other in health and sickness, freedom from raising children together and freedom from providing for each other. Are these things really chains keeping us from being free?
I, for one, want these things and I know that most of these people who are getting divorced wanted these things too. And yet, when marriages fail we turn the wonderful things we desire from marriage into bad things that holds us prisoner. Whatever happened to throwing parties for silver and golden anniversaries? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was more attention on those parties instead of divorce parties?
As a women who have suffered from my own parents divorce and now dating with the hopes of one day getting married, I am encouraged by lasting marriages, those couples who loved each other through the moments when it was hardest to love—and fell deeper in love because of it.
So what can daters learn from those who planned a 25th or 50th wedding anniversary party, instead of a divorce party?
1. Don’t sign up for marriage unless you’re ready for the responsibility.
Yes, love is beautiful—but love can also be blind. If you and your significant other open your eyes to the reality that your journey together is going to get hard in those learning moments, you won’t be as shocked and as inclined to give up when the going gets tough.
2. Make sure you are both crystal clear on your commitment to each other for life.
Think of marriage as the biggest and most important personal business merger you will ever make. This is why for centuries couples have stood in front of loved ones/and or a church community to publically voice this merger—once you vocalize it, there’s no mistaking your intentions.
3. Before your engagement, you and your significant other need to answer a very simple question: will your future marriage contribute to the successful marriage rate or the divorce rate?
Matt Walsh used an interesting term in his article that perhaps best summarizes my point: will your marriage be part of the “divorce evangelization” or will it be a marriage that others seek to emulate and learn from? By committing to being role models for each other first and then for your community second, perhaps we’ll see more silver and golden anniversary parties being planned—and offering those divorce party planners some competition.
Here’s to our generation hopefully planning more 50th wedding anniversary parties, and no divorce parties. I know I certainly plan to be a part of that hopeful new trend.