While looking for something else I ran across some old wedding pictures from a failed marriage. Surprised any of these pictures were still around, I pulled them from the album. The family dressed in wedding finery stand with the couple, smiling generously.
Family at the couple’s sides as they repeated their promises, were ready to give the couple all the love and support they could. Now it is hard to look at those pictures. The bride is dutifully smiling, the same in every picture. The groom looks genuinely happy. Friends and family are surrounding them both, in the traditional wedding photographs recording the event.
Not all was as it appeared in pictures. Fresh grief over the death of her mother stole any joy the bride could truly feel. Days of fluctuating back and forth between going through with the commitment of marriage and calling it off, gave way under the continued growth of the couples first child. Perhaps things could have turned out differently, if the bride’s mother had lived to share in the wedding and the birth of their first child.
As things were, the promises of marriage quickly dissolved, and the marriage became one of obligation to the child brought into the world. As the grandmother to this child, I had hoped that obligation could be enough. The lack of mutual respect I saw, eventually eroded the marriage to the point of dissolution of the marriage, but not before another child was born in hope and promise.
I was both heartsick and happy when the bride made the choice to separate and divorce. I have seen my grandchildren longing for whichever parent is absent. Usually the parents work together for the good of their children, but I have seen the children used as pawns occasionally.
Our relationship with our grandchildren’s mother has deteriorated beyond any civility, which makes things difficult. Sometimes grandparents are a bridge in these situations, but not in this one. Fortunately our relationship with our son remains strong.
I won’t go so far as to say a marriage built upon obligation can’t work, but without mutual respect the marriage will fail. Living without love is very difficult, and I would never wish for my child to live without love.
I am happy to say our son is now married to a wonderful girl, in a marriage full of love and hope for the future, that they will build together.