1 Less Thing to Worry About

In two weeks, my Mom and Dad will celebrate 53 years of marriage. I’m thankful to them for many things, but giving me “one less thing to worry about,” is near the top of the list. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a worrier. My second grade report card actually said “Tonya worries too much.” For forty plus years I have struggled with overthinking; if you’re  like me, you know there is NEVER a lack of things to worry about: money, health, jobs, kids, friends, commitments, even world affairs. From big to small, I worry about it all.

This makes my next revelation all the more incredible, at least to me. When I was growing up, I never, ever worried about my parents getting a divorce.  What a luxury my parents provided by making me feel the security of our family life. Many friends and their kids would have loved to have the gift my parents gave me.

I wasn’t aware of how fortunate I was. In fact, a few years back I had a friend point it out to me. She was accomplished and financially successful, but her parents were divorced. “Do you know how lucky you are that your parents are still married?” she said. No, I really didn’t know.

I didn’t realize I never thought about things children of divorce do:

Why do my parents have to fight so much?

Who will I live with if my parents divorce?

Will they make me take sides?

Will I have to switch schools?

Will their new boyfriend/girlfriend like me?

Will I be okay?

These things never crossed my mind because of the stability my parents projected about their marriage. I recognize no one plans to divorce when they marry but, in my parent’s case, I believe they just didn’t consider it an option, as if the word wasn’t even in their vocabulary.  The idea was unacceptable to them. This didn’t seem to make them resent each other, rather, it made them certain of their commitment, even when life wasn’t ideal.

Their example gave me confidence to believe I could have a lifelong marriage. Now that I’ve been married more than twenty years, I realize what effort it takes. I appreciate their stamina. To those of you working hard at your marriage, please keep up the good work. Your children might not thank you now but, someday, when you celebrate a fifty-plus anniversary, they will realize what a difference your marriage made in their life.