Yesterday, one of my Google alerts took me to this story about Usher’s divorce and child custody fight from WXIA 11 Alive News in Atlanta. It’s about an interview he did with Oprah Winfrey.
I don’t have any other details of his life or his marriage, but several things in this interview cried out for comment.
Why they married:
“I impregnated this woman, we were in a relationship, we were in love, so I felt like, this is the right way.”
It’s not a new story, but it’s becoming an incredibly common story as people marry later. People intentionally sabotage their marriages by keeping separate their beliefs about honorable behavior or the best for their future children and their choice of who they let themselves fall in love with or risk conceiving with.
“The right way” is honorable, but it’s not the best way to start a marriage or a family.
“I always felt like maybe we weren’t ready. Maybe this wasn’t the time or the way to do it. Part of that, I think, played into the demise of it.”
Well, duh! If you decide to marry, decide to get yourself ready for it. If you fear when you’ve got a kid on the way with someone you’re unsure of is not the right time or the right way to do it, you’re right. But once you decide marrying is what you will do, switch gears. Start gathering every bit of evidence you can that this, the future mother of your child, is the right person and the timing is exactly what it ought to be.
You’re already off to a tougher start than most who marry, with pregnancy hormones and a very short time left as a twosome. Don’t entertain your doubts. Whether you marry or not, this person will always be your child’s other parent, an incredibly important person in your child’s life whether in it every day or completely absent and uncaring. Find things to love. Find talents and values to encourage. It’s like dancing; the best dancer is the one who makes his partner look best.
“It’s hard being married and working the way that I work, period. It’s hard being in that position and wanting to make someone happy, and there not really being anyway that you ever can, because they’ve got their own s*** they’ve gotta deal with.”
I cannot imagine what Usher’s job and the lifestyle it requires do to a marriage. My life is simpler. But that second part, wanting to make someone happy and realizing they must do it themselves, this I know well. And I used to tell myself it would be easier with a lot more money, but I know it’s not, even with all the money and pull of someone like Usher.
But here’s what I know now, as a 60-year-old remarried young widow who once was ready to divorce. When you stop trying to make your spouse happy, the best thing you can do, for yourself and your marriage, is everything in your power to enjoy being married. If you don’t, you’re headed for the end Usher describes:
“[T]owards the end of our marriage, I found myself lost, and I just wanted out.”