WHAT IS FAILURE, MARRIAGE EDITION

30 nov 2017

Ewan McGregor and his future ex-wife have had a 22 year-long marriage. It has come to an end, recently, and since then there’s been all kinds of dramatic looking pictures of him with his new girlfriend, widely believed (that is A LOT of benefit of the doubt) to be the reason behind the separation, and the chillingly heart-breaking, four-word Insta comment by Eve, who is the mother of McGregor’s children. What can she do indeed, especially when taking into consideration that this infidelity was not his first – I mean, for a while there were people, and I might have been one of them, who chose to believe the couple had had an open marriage, so they could explain away this. People need explanations, alright.

The real reasons behind the split, together with my unasked-for opinion on inserting vaginas into someone’s marriage with four bloody kids, aside, IS a relationship that lasts 22 years but doesn’t last forever still a failure? I am too lazy to google the current divorce percentage rates but I remember the figure being in the 50-60% ballpark. I might or might not have contributed to these statistics myself. Maybe even twice. Still, I believe that applying for a marriage license can be a wonderful choice and I am happily willing to support those in favour of it, no sarcasm or cynicism, even though relationships don’t do it for me personally. I won't be holding the institution-of-marriage-is-outdated-and-irrelevant banners, especially considering how giddy and obsessive weddings make me feel. When it comes to celebration of love, each to their own, and please can I be invited to a wedding for once.

With the dissolution though, it’s not so simple. Each to their own, sure, but it’s with the word “failure” that I struggle, I think. Failure means defeat, it means losing, coming to nothing. What is the opposite though? What’s the end goal? What’s “winning” at marriage? Because for sure one person will die sooner, the other one later, and you get more of the same result? This is simplistic, I know, which doesn’t make it less true. On the other hand, as much as I would love to loudly object to the stigma of “failure”, try as I might, I can’t actually see what’s degrading about the word. We finally keep talking, super loud, that failure in life is unavoidable, that failure is essential and it should be life’s most realistic expectation. There is nothing wrong or bad about failure, it simply exists for everyone, as it must. Therefore, failing at marriage, whatever the f-ck that means, should equal to failing at any other endeavour, no shame, dude. If failure is indeed part of every success story, does this mean I’ve had two successful marriages? Or two failed marriages? Both? I’ve now confused myself.

When I was a kid, growing up in the free-spirited communist regime, I remember picking up on the disdain in gossiping whispers about divorced women, single mothers. Like these women would/should be treaded around in the society and its circles, like they were forever to be, not humiliated, exactly, but definitely pitied. This one cracks me up since I now realise those women were the luckiest badasses and everyone must have been jelly, but at the time, and it was not THAT long ago, there was judgment and disapproval splattered all over their names. Well, I am now one of those women (two of those women?), and I can see for myself how divorce can be one of the smartest, most calculating and honest choices a woman makes. I love every single bit about having the possibility to walk away. Shame about the f-cking emotional pain though, like, my marriages were short-lived, with one baby as collateral, but both times the agony of separation was indescribable, felt like someone was poking their dirty fingers inside a deep wound, picking at it relentlessly, with sticky blood that was more black than red bubbling out.

In an attempt to soften the blows of both the pain and the failure, can we start by editing the vows and removing the unrealistic and creepy “death do us part” bit? Isn’t it too heavy of a promise, even if you stood a solid chance of keeping it? I am way more likely to believe how much you are in love today, how you will do absolutely everything you can and give it your absolute all to stretch the feeling out and look after each other for as long as possible, hope-hope-hopefully forever.

I doubt anything could soften blows for McGregor’s wife (22 years!) but better to have tried and failed...

Ben Gabbe/ Getty Images

Ben Gabbe/ Getty Images