We all know that relationships end for many different reasons. Sometimes, feelings thaw out, infidelity occurs, abusive or unhealthy relationships form, or two people grow apart in different directions.
But how does love die?
Let’s start at the beginning. At the deepest, level, intimacy brings lovers together. It opens them up to being dependent on each other and vulnerable enough to be cared for.
Love is not just what someone feels about you. True intimacy is about being vulnerable and yet, embraced, while returning the favour, time and again. Our most tender wounds are mended by our lovers, and by extension, our wives and husbands.
Married couples universally want to live happily ever after, but sometimes, that is just not in the cards. The very vulnerability of marriage can bring the pain that is its downfall.
When your husband fails to take care of you, it really hurts. When your wife “always” criticizes you, there is nowhere to go, because you don’t want to have to defend yourself against your wife-someone who can truly hurt you.
You start to put up walls. Perhaps you listen less. Perhaps the kids have you fighting about how to manage them. Or commonly, a cycle of resentment builds up over many years just waiting to explode. The very vulnerability that makes marriage magical and, even healing, can be its greatest undoing.
People try to fix the relationship, but if resentment rides too high, there is no chance. And, some people simply opt out and don’t want to try. They have a relationship outside the marriage or have decided to endure an unhappy marriage until the time is right to pack it in.
When relationships are not healthy or happy, should two people stay together just for the sake of commitment? Relationships are never clear-cut, and there is no universal, successful outline to follow. Ultimately, it is a dearly personal question.
Bottom line is: stay tuned to your feelings, and those of your husband or wife. Be mindful of what your children need from you. Divorce is tough-for it involves the break-up of a family, and not just two people.
After you decide that it is time to move on, know that it will be a long road, and in some way, that is as it should be. You are breaking a sacred bond and you should mourn appropriately. You brought children into this world as members of a stable family, and now you must make sure that your kids are going to be okay.
Divorce has a beginning, middle, and an end. This is simple to say and hard to live out; and it often take some time to grieve such a great loss. As Ryan Reynold’s said when commenting on his divorce with Scarlett Johansson: “Anyone who gets divorced goes through a lot of pain, but you come out of it. I’m not out of it yet. At all. But I sense that as I do come through it, there’s optimism. How can there not be?”
I respect Mr. Reynold’s for his honest depiction of grief, which ultimately ends in optimism. Know that if you go down this road, similar feelings will surface for you.
There is no avoiding it.
Remember to make the decision to divorce with a sober headset. It will be a difficult journey. And, remember that all relationships require rekindling every now and then.
Have you done that work? Some marriages need attention and can be mended. But, if divorce has to happen, grieve the loss, tend to your children and deal with your ex with as much dignity as possible. Finally, as you go down the road of divorce, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is your optimism and hope for the future.