At long last, a few years ago we began hearing statistics indicating that the U.S. divorce rate was on the decline. That was good news because for a while the rate was rising so quickly that it seemed people were preparing for divorced before they even got married. “Just want to have the paperwork ready Honey.”
I don’t know how I stumbled upon this fact – or why – but apparently researchers from the University of Minnesota recently discovered that when the study showing the decline was conducted, the population was younger. Apparently if you standardize the study for age, the party poopers at U of Minnesota say the divorce rate is actually rising. They all celebrated afterwards with a Hamms, some pickled herring, and a visit to their divorce lawyers.
None of the talk about one-out-of-two-marriages-ending- in-divorce ever surprised me. In fact, I’m always amazed and impressed that ANY marriage lasts. You take two people, often from completely different backgrounds with completely dissimilar problem solving approaches and totally opposite outlooks on religion, politics, and choices of pizza toppings and tell them they will remain together for the rest of their lives, well, not always easy.
By the way, this odd blog post isn’t some bizarre way that I’m going to announced that Bill and I are becoming statistics. We are happily married, thank you very much. It’s just that sometimes I’ll come across an article that will get me thinking. And that article got me to thinking about how hard marriage really is.
When Bill and I were first married, we had both been single for quite some time. We were, well, set in our ways. So for the first two or three years of our life together, we worked really hard on making sure the other knew who was boss. Man did we each try to control the other.
Bill did it calmly. I threw temper tantrums. Take the time I was mad at him for something or other. I had a Taco Bell spicy green bean burrito in my hand at the time (thankfully still wrapped) and threw it at him across the kitchen. He ducked, and the burrito landed behind him and slid under the refrigerator.
We had to take a time out so that we could work together to move the refrigerator out so that I could get the broom and maneuver the burrito out from behind. By time we worked together to get the refrigerator back into place, our high emotions were diffused. That’s one way to solve the problem. And a metaphor for marital tranquility.
Over the years we were able to figure out what was important and what wasn’t. We still disagree but there are no more burritos flying through our house. We found out neither one of us has to control the other. Plus we started eating tacos and they’re more unwieldy.
I’d like to think that life together gets easier for everyone as the years go by, but I also stumbled upon an article in the Washington Post that indicates that one of the reasons divorce rates aren’t going down is because more and more baby boomers are getting a divorce. Apparently after the kids leave home, the idea of staying with Stan or Norma for another 20 years just isn’t cutting it for many. That makes me sad. In the words of that great philosopher Jimmy Buffett, “We are the people our parents warned us about.”
If I could give any advice to our married kids (which I seriously try never to do when it comes to marriage; after all, I’m a 50% success/failure rate myself), it would be to remember just what it is that made you fall in love with your spouse and try to find and appreciate it every single day. And most importantly, pick your battles. You don’t always have to win.
I mentioned yesterday that this week I am cooking an entire meal on the grill. We finished our appetizers and are moving on to our main course. I found a barbecue recipe that is really one of the most delicious I have ever tasted. I used it last night on chicken, but its smoky goodness would be delicious on ribs or pulled pork as well.
1 T. canola oil
¼ whole onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. ketchup
¼ c. plus 2 T. packed brown sugar
4 T. white vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. molasses
4 T. Chipotle Adobo Sauce (the adobo sauce chipotle peppers are packed in)
Dash of salt
Heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for five minutes, stirring, being careful not to burn them. Reduce heat to low. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste after simmering and add whatever ingredient it needs (more spice, more sugar, etc.)
Nana’s Notes: As I said, I used the sauce for barbecued chicken. I cooked seasoned chicken thighs on the grill for about 30 minutes, then added the barbecue sauce and grilled them for another 10 minutes or so. The sauce was delicious. It was kind of spicy from the adobo sauce, but the sauce gave it a smoky flavor as well, and there was just the right amount of sweetness.
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