I have been invited to a birthday party, a wedding dinner party and a divorce party. This is my fourth divorce party invitation in four months — a sure sign that business is booming in the heartbreak business.
Report by Grace Mutandwa
I am looking forward to the birthday party. It’s for one of my male best friends and it is booked for a Friday. We expect to party until the next morning. The wedding too sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun.
An old friend is getting married second time around. I get that birthdays and weddings must be celebrated, but I still have to get my head around celebrating a failed marriage. I suppose some marriages feel like slavery so when one finally gets out, they cannot believe they got out in one piece and they just want everyone around them to revel in their new-found freedom.
The friend who is remarrying also celebrated her divorce from her first husband. She threw a lavish party with some of the money from the divorce settlement and gave out goodie bags to all the guests.
For years I had endured her stories of what a nasty piece of work he was but she still went back to him and would tell me he had changed. That man changed so many times he must have been a member of the chameleon family. I am surprised my friend did not find all that changing around confusing!
Now she is marrying a guy she calls her soul mate. The guy loves her so much he has already beaten her twice for chatting with other guys. You see, I am already convinced my friend is making a big mistake. Very soon she will be assigning all sorts of names to this new man. I keep asking myself what she will do if this second marriage flops — will she have another divorce party?
Do not get me wrong, I am thrilled for all the people around me who use any excuse to party. I love music and drink as much as the next person. What I am tired of is people infecting my ears with their pain and suffering at the hands of their “soul mates”.
I am just at that stage where I am beginning to feel I should demand a bottle of vodka every time a girlfriend comes to crow about her man and a bottle of the best single malt every time I have to listen to a friend use all the swear words she can think of, to vent her anger because her husband does not love her enough, pay her attention or sleeps around.
I mean, I really should be making money out of all these people. If they are determined to put themselves through hell, who am I to deny them the pleasure of self-inflicted torture? But I really should be paid to listen to their lunatic stories and I am not just talking cash here — I will take any good bottle of spirits.
And I know I always say I believe marriage vows are sacred but I certainly have no right to convince those hell bent on trampling on their vows to reconsider. We all have to take responsibility for our mistakes in life.
I wonder what message we are sending to our children when we celebrate divorcing their fathers. Are we telling our children, in front of friends and relatives, that their fathers were monsters? It might make you happy to celebrate the end of your union but it is important to interrogate how it might affect your children. There are some levels of selfishness that are unforgivable and this is one of them.
Children have very strong emotions and it is vital that you consider their feelings when you do things to please yourself. Older children might be able to handle the after effects of parents’ divorce, but younger children tend to file away things they find traumatic.
My daughter reminds me of things we used to do when she was only four. She remembers things that happened when we went to bury a relative and so many other things that happened when she was five. My sons have retained their childhood memories as well and every time they remind me of something I thank God they have happy memories.
You do not want to be the parent whose children remember vividly how you celebrated with such unbridled abandon, the demise of your marriage.
By all means be happy you have exited a toxic relationship, but be tasteful about it. Common decency is an important virtue.
It takes two to make a marriage and also takes two to break it. Even where there are external forces involved, it is always the work of those in the marriage that empower outside forces to triumph. Ending your marriage might be a happy event for you but it is tragic for your children. Love yourself enough to consider the feelings of your children.
For feedback email: Mudiwa2002@yahoo.com/twitter@GraceMutandwa1