When I was younger I used to wish that I was born on this day because it would be fun to have a birthday once every four years. I remember the rhyme, “30 days have September, April, June, and November,” that ended with an explanation of Leap Day. Leap Day is an unofficial holiday of sorts–especially to those who were born on this day. I can’t help but think of the couples getting married who are secretly happy that they’ll only have to celebrate their anniversary once every 4 years like the Olympics. There’s also a part of me that wonders what it feels like to look at a calendar and not see the day you were born because it only occurs every 4 years. How do you explain that to a child who sees all his or her friends celebrating birthdays every year? Yes, you can celebrate the day before or the day after but it’s still not the same. Needless to say, I think that the extra day presents an opportunity to do something different than the norm–even if it means just taking the day off and having fun.
In the past few months I’ve witnessed or rather observed from a distance the demise of several marriages. While some of the marriages have been second marriages, there have been a few that have been in the category of what I like to call starter marriages. It’s the same concept as buying a starter house or even starter car. The only thing that you take from it is experience and it is a stepping stone to the object that you actually want. Starter marriages have been around for quite a while. I’ve met couples who have been together for decades but started out with a starter marriage where they had a different partner before they met “the one.” Starter marriages tend to happen when individuals are younger in age. Impulsivity, immaturity, and being “lovestruck” tend to play a big part in their formation. Both people have made the decision that they want to get married without truly counting the cost. They want the feeling of extra security while refusing to let go the single mindset and truly becoming a “we.” These couples are the ones you see arguing about the stupid petty stuff on a daily–even hourly basis because they never took the time to get to know the other person before marriage. Now that they are together, they see a lot of things differently and begin to get irritated quickly and even second guess their decision to marry. Both people refuse to compromise and as a result, they quickly learn that the only way to avoid arguments is to not talk, avoid each other, or bury themselves in other pursuits. This does NOTHING for the overall quality of the relationship. It’s at this point that most couples realize that they really don’t work as a couple. The newness has worn off. They are changing as people and their spouse is as well but they’ve never connected on that level so it starts to feel as if they are living with a stranger. Both people realize that their long term personal goals aren’t compatible and that they both want different things out of life. All this usually occurs within the first 1-3 years of marriage and hopefully before the couple decides to have any kids. The absence of kids allows both partner to separate without having to ever see each other again. They may even go as far as to have a divorce party to celebrate the ending of the worse decision of their life to date. Both people go on to live their lives and marry again with more experience and wisdom the second time around. Hopefully.