Broken but Still Loved

I came across this article as I was perusing through some online websites and it definitely hits close to home as it defines what it means to come from something “broken” however despite the unfavorable circumstances in your way at the end of the day you still manage to put a smile on your face because you know that you are loved.

I was listening to a discourse this morning that casually used the term “Broken Family” in passing while discussing love, marriage, and family. A “Broken Family” was implied to be one that deviates from the norm of a father, mother, and children living together as one family under the same roof.

It is honestly a term people were more sensitive about using. Having constantly been lumped in this generalized category has made me more particular about its implications.

My parents separated almost eight years ago when I was in high school. While I admit it was logistically confusing for awhile and rocky at times, they made sure that my brother and I were never in want for love, support, and their time. They took care of us when we were sick. They guided us through school and big decisions we would make. They explained everything to us from day one and would engage us in discussions about their journeys together and apart, and gave us valuable lessons about what sort of love we should seek to give and pray to have (because love should not be something we find, but should be something we welcome if it comes along and give the best of ourselves to).

My family is not broken. I am not broken. Despite our circumstances, my family and their love-no matter how unconventional- has made me whole.

I know that this isn’t the universal experience for children who come from separated parents, but my own experience and that of many of my friends has shown me that it is possible.

It has been difficult for me therefore, to grapple with certain concepts introduced in the context of “brokenness” and mistakes. Questions like “Do you want to be in an unhappy marriage?” “Do you seek to get married and get separated someday?” as a prelude to a discussion on finding “right” love and having a “happy” marriage that leads to an “unbroken” family seem completely insensitive and inappropriate for the context of the changing face and form of the Filipino unions and families today.

Don’t get me wrong- I believe in the sanctity of the union of marriage. I acknowledge the importance of carefully considering values, spirituality, personality traits, maturity, long-term goals, personal, and family history when considering spending the rest of your life with someone.

I don’t know if I agree however with the notion that choosing well is “primary prevention.” It seems to imply that the experience of difficulties or adjustment when expectations don’t match can be likened to that of a disease. I don’t believe that the circumstances of my family-of-origin shall dictate the circumstances of my own marriage and family. It is a backwards presumption that children from separated parents will not work to have happy marriages themselves someday.

I wish as much as possible that every child would grow up in a family with both parents present and together who love them, take care of their needs, and raise them to be good people who make the world a better place. Sometimes parents pass away, separate for personal reasons, or in our local context join the growing diaspora that leave for better opportunities abroad. I believe none of these families are “broken.” I believe these families can still raise children who have good hearts, who will have happy marriages or families if they chose this, and can be brought up with purpose and passion.

There is also a sense of unfairness that this “brokenness” mindset imposes on the LGBT. There are those happy independently, devoting their lives to work and passions. Some chose to have life partners and they may have children they raise together, children who never question if they are loved. Wouldn’t it be improper therefore to ask them to make finding love or contentment in someone of the opposite gender a matter to think deeply about?

To uphold this perspective also poses a problem when it comes to the flexibility of gender roles. Many women now are more career-oriented and able to balance their home and professional lives. Some remain at home and run households like superwomen, dedicated to the care of their parents and children. I believe these women are equally laudable. There should be no implication of a decrease in masculinity in men who devote more time to be hands-on with their children. The decisions these individuals and families make are their own, often for everyone’s good. They may be different, but they too, are not “broken.”

I have friends and classmates who have chosen not to have children and to focus on their careers. Some still seek to settle down and get married someday to someone who shares the same sentiments. I wouldn’t call these people “broken.”

I know of wonderful couples who cannot biologically have children and choose instead to adopt. They go through different experiences in bringing a child into a world, they are still wholly parents, their love just as fierce and strong. They are not “broken” either.

What I hope this long rant has driven at is the value of keeping an open mind and withholding judgement on the changing face of Filipino unions and families today. While we are all entitled to our own opinions on what is right and this is greatly influenced by the values we grew up with or are educated about, we cannot expect the world to conform and when they don’t, label them as “broken” or less than we are. It seems only wrong and rather archaic to expect everyone to fit into a certain mould of what is “ideal.” At the end of the day, it becomes a matter of respect. That is something every person deserves, no matter what their circumstances are.

Source:Broken but Still Loved

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