The Painful Lessons of Divorce: Five Things You Should Know
A divorce is one of the most challenging experiences anyone can go through. It is an emotional rollercoaster that forces you to confront the death of your relationship and the person you once were. However, unlike death, divorce also brings a new beginning, and you have the unique opportunity to take some of the most difficult lessons you have learned into your new life with you. Here are five essential things to bear in mind:
1. Marriage Is Not 50/50
Many people enter into a marriage thinking that being one half of a whole means splitting the work down the middle. Marriage, however, is not an even split of obligations, duties, and affection. Although on your best days it could be, your best days are not your everyday. There might be some days where you barely have the energy to give 10 percent. There might be weeks where your partner feels the same way. But what makes a marriage work is not the equal division of two parts, but the willingness to forgive and make up the rest of the work when that equal division does not happen. So, do not sit around and wait for your partner to meet you at the halfway point. Instead, be prepared to meet them where they need you and see it as a gift rather than a loan.
2. Go to Bed Angry
In a marriage, you never understand how to be genuinely mad at someone until they let you down. There is no anger like the one that is fueled by the fire of disappointment. It is the kind of anger that makes you want to scream and let the world know how you feel. But going to bed angry is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your marriage. Even if eight hours of time, distance, and perspective doesn’t calm you down, it will help you realize what you are truly feeling and why their actions cause such deep wounds. Without this, you are only gearing up for another pointless argument that results in half-hearted apologies and more hurt feelings.
3. Romance Is Essential
Remember when you first started dating your partner? Things were electric. You spent all day planning the right thing to say to your future partner. However, after marriage, many couples neglect romance. But don’t forget that a little bit of romance, or a lot depending on your needs, goes a long way in your marriage. It gives you the chance to present the best part of yourself to your spouse over and over again and reminds them why you made a significant decision to be with them. Neglecting it makes you question everything and sometimes leads you to doubt your entire relationship, so don’t forget to keep romance alive.
4. Live Your Life Now
Waiting around for your partner or for the stars to align before living your life is a mistake that could make you unhappy. Many people have had to deal with expensive divorces for not paying attention to this point. Just because you agreed to be a partner to someone does not mean you are conjoined twins. Instead, doing things for yourself when you are ready helps you continue to progress as an individual and ultimately contributes positively to your marriage. So, if it doesn’t eliminate your joint resources, use your own life to accomplish your personal goals. Take that trip. Write your book. Finish that class. Build yourself up so that you can build your marriage up, and by doing so, you will inspire rather than push your partner to get on your level.
5. You Don’t Get a Gold Sticker for Staying in a Bad Marriage
Divorce is a difficult idea to cope with when you promised yourself and your partner forever. While it is a defining life event that is hard to go through, avoiding it is not the answer. A hopeless marriage is a hopeless marriage, and you only get one life to live. If after you have exhausted every option available to you, you cannot see even a moderately happy future with your spouse, end your marriage. Unhappy marriages make for unhappy people, but it is not only you who suffers. Your kids, family members, friends, colleagues, and probably even your barista will feel it when your marriage has brought you to the lowest of lows.
In conclusion, divorce is a defining life event that becomes woven into the fabric of who you are. It will change you, but let it change you into the person you need to be. Remember to keep these five things in mind: marriage is not 50/50, go to bed angry, keep romance alive, live your life, and finally, you don’t get a gold sticker for being in a bad marriage. When faced with a difficult decision, always choose the path of self-love, self-respect, and self-care.