To someone who practices only family law, there are some clear indicators that a marriage is over, that divorce is imminent. One is when your spouse throws you under the bus.
I listen to my clients’ history, their perceptions of time with their spouse, the vignettes of their lives that tell how their relationship has gone awry and where it presently lies. A strong indicator is when a party has so little respect that they publicly humiliate their spouse. Often times, the insult is a throw away gesture, dismissive as though the notion that embarrasing your spouse in public as a faux pas is too far removed to be considered.
From my chair, it seems that people who love each other – respect each other. They nuture each other and look out for each other. They have each other’s back. This is the polar opposite of castigating your spouse to their peers, collegues or family. When you’ve gotten that far, the towel was thrown in long, long ago. It’s just that no one has had the nerve to call the match, call it a day and call a cab.
If your spouse is throwing you under the bus, or if you find you are throwing your spouse under the bus, you have to read the handwriting on the wall. If a public drumming is your norm, your norm is a cancer. You’ve got to get free to let your healing begin.
I think we would like marriage to be a safe haven of mutual support and adoration. As an intentional species we create the world we want. Maybe the public humiliation was not borne of spousal hatred, but it lives there now. I’m sure therapists abound who could plot a couple’s way back to a land of cozy contentment. But without open hearts and strong wills bent on reunion, it seems that contempt is the likely destination of that trip.
I recently spoke with a fellow who just wanted his wife to make the effort to re-unify with him. He couldn’t conceive that she had probably tried that long ago and found it wanting. His present perception that his wife should work on their marriage was dependent upon the premise that she hadn’t already. Now he was just too late to clock in. Her public dismissiveness of his very existence probably had something to do with his failure to show up for work, back when there was work to be had.
You know, it take two to tango. It takes two to make a marriage work, too.
It only takes one to make a divorce work. Don’t get hit by the bus. Get out of the way.