I Think My Friend Should Leave Her Husband But I'll Never Tell Her That

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I am a firm believer that when two people stand in front of their family and friends (and whatever God they worship if they do) and say their vows they should mean them. Divorce shouldn't be considered a quick getaway and isn't something a friend should suggest to another friend unless her and/or her children's lives are in danger.

That doesn't stop me from loathing some men my friends have chosen to spend their lives with. One friend, in particular (let's call her Jane), asked me to be a bridesmaid and stand beside her as she married someone I saw as a walking red-flag when they were dating (let's call him Richard). I respectfully voiced my concerns through their courtship, and she respectfully told me to let it go. So, I stood up there beside her because she's my friend, I love her, and I want to support her through life - but the whole time I stood there in my over-priced bridesmaid dress that clashed with my skin tone, all I could think was, "she deserves so much better."

Let me explain, since being married myself I have come to terms with the idea that my friends can be strong women and believe they are being treated well even if others don't agree. So, I do my best not to offer unsolicited advice or opinions and remind myself "this is her marriage, not mine."

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Richard, though. He is pretty much the worst. Jane was his third fiancee (and now his second wife). There's nothing wrong with a divorced person (I am my husband's second wife), but someone who jumps from relationship to relationship without taking some time to look inward and evaluate what role they played in a failed marriage/engagement is someone who is bound to continue to make mistakes. Richard loves to blame his ex's for everything because they both cheated on him. Richard also has a temper and a perfectionist's personality. He holds himself and Jane to impossible standards.

Aside from those obvious issues (which I've respectfully offered my opinion on when asked), are my personal issues with him. He was raised as a traditional southern man, and she was raised a traditional southern woman. They each have the roles they play in their family - despite the fact that they both work full time. This was difficult for me to swallow because that's just not how my husband and I operate (we do our best to be a 50/50 partnership), but I have to remember that in the end I am team Jane and if this makes her happy, then who am I to say anything?

When Jane got pregnant I was overjoyed for her, but also pessimistic. I knew what kind of partner Richard would be when it came to parenthood.

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I became pregnant with my second child about eight weeks after she became pregnant with her first. We commiserated over the hot southern spring and summer (and all the swollen body parts that came with it) and compared stories of "pulling the pregnancy card" when something needed to be done around the house. Typically, my stories consisted of my husband picking up my slack and doing his best to carry the team while I simply focused on keeping our baby healthy and growing.

Her stories consisted of Richard telling her to "suck it up" and "stop complaining" and even suggesting that she was making up some of her symptoms to be dramatic. Still, I bit my tongue (which is really hard to do when you're hormonal, by the way).

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Since their daughter was born, Jane and Richard have (finally) started couples counseling because they can't see eye-to-eye on anything. It's to the point where Jane would rather do just about anything than be at home. They rarely speak, unless he's criticizing her for something. There's no partnership at all, just the two of them constantly butting heads except now there is a sweet little girl stuck in the middle.

I firmly believe in fighting for a marriage, because even the strongest ones go through rocky patches. I believe you don't go into the commitment with the mindset of "I can always get divorced if I'm unhappy". I believe in honoring the vows you took. I just don't believe that a person should be broken down by someone who is supposed to love them - a person who should be even more team Jane than I am.

If I'm being honest, I think she should take that baby and leave him - at least until he takes the time to look inward like he should have done well before marrying her. But, it's her marriage, not mine, so I'll never tell her that.

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