Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"No amount of success can compensate for failure in the home..."

That was the Facebook status of one of my friends today.  I understand why she posted it and why another friend "liked" it.  Both of these women were cheated on by former spouses and are very angry about it.

On the other hand, my dear spouse used to hear that quote all the time when he was married to his former wife.  It was evidently a favorite saying in the LDS church and a source of great guilt for my husband when his ex wife thrust divorce papers in his face, which she later claimed she had drawn up just to force him to "rock bottom".  

It seems to me that "success in the home", whatever that actually is, requires cooperation from everybody in the home.  That means mom and dad have to compromise with each other.  That means the kids have to cooperate with mom and dad and each other.  It also means that everybody has to be remarkably mature and unselfish.

Seems to me that "success in the home" is not always possible because shit always happens.  A man focuses more on his career than his wife.  A wife starts focusing more on her personal fulfillment than her kids.  The kids just want to grow up and sometimes that means rejecting what mom and dad want for them and striking out on their own...  Sometimes things go horribly awry.  Mental illness strikes.  Or the kids start hanging out with the wrong people and end up in trouble.  Or there's a natural disaster of some sort.  Any number of things can go wrong in a family and force it apart.  That doesn't mean that any one person failed.

A saying like "no amount of success can compensate for failure in the home" is disrespectful and naive.  How can we quantify "success in the home?"  And who gets to decide what success is?

I understand why my friends feel the way they do... given their circumstances.  But I have my own feelings, based on mine.  Though my husband's first marriage failed, we have a strong one together.  And that's a good thing.  

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