There are times when I hear things from my kids that just break my heart. At dinner with my kids and my father, the kids started to talk about divorce. I got the statistics from them about coming from a divorced family and the likelihood that they would get divorced. My father suggested they be very careful in their choices. I sat there, not sure what to say or how to react. I’m already emotional packing my daughter up for college, so I find myself holding off on responses until I’m sure I’ve got my s*** together. When the moment was right, I asked them to stop talking for a minute to listen to me. Essentially, I gave them this response:
Life is full of choices. Some don’t work out the way we hope or expect. Sometimes we make decisions too quickly, or we act on fear, or we throw our common sense out the window (although that can be very fun!). But, even though I’m divorced, I don’t think my marriage was a mistake. Sure it’s painful to get divorced. Absolutely it can drain you financially and emotionally. But you get to a different place in life. Sometimes you have amazing kids that you wouldn’t trade for the world. Sometimes you have experiences that move you to a new emotional plane. Sometimes you learn about you as a person and a partner (if you’re lucky – or smart – enough to dig in and figure out what role you played).
Sometimes, it gets you to the next and right person.
Sometimes you can learn all this (and more) by staying with the same person.
Hey kids – here’s my secret to not getting divorced: Don’t worry about it. No matter what you do, as long as you learn about yourself, learn about the give and take in relationships, be aware of the importance of trust, honesty, respect and productive communication as critical components in any relationship and understand each person’s role in any problem – you’ll be fine. You might not stay together “forever” – but you’ll be fine.
The challenge of marriage – or any relationship – is not allowing the driving factor be the fear of it ending. Rather than work on not splitting up, why not work on being happily together? Healthy relationships don’t come out of worry. They come from being proactive (not reactive) in love – from respect for you and for your partner.
I’ve made a commitment to be more open in my relationship than in the past. To trust my intuition. To not be afraid of some future problem, but to explore happiness. To take risks. To be vulnerable. It’s not enough to keep trying to avoid splitting up. Love, not fear, will determine the health and staying power of any kind of relationship.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work out as we think it should. But, if we make a point of learning – there’ll always be way more positives than negatives.
Enjoy the start of your week. 🙂