Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Don't Even Think About Divorce Until...





I have been thinking a lot about divorce lately. Not because I am considering one for myself, but because I have several friends either going through one, or considering one. I think it has to do with the age we are now. Like many of my friends, I stayed home with my kids while they were growing up. Now that they are leaving for college or heading out on their own, the house feels empty, and it's easy to feel a little lost. And although I have no doubt that my husband loves our children as much as I do, his life is still busy and full... the same as it ever was. I don't think he can fully understand how I feel, and he certainly can't stop working to spend more time with me. I can see how this can cause some friction between a newly empty nested couple. 

I read a very interesting article in Redbook a little while back. It was titled "Don't even think about divorcing until...". In the article, 13 people talk about their belief in the marital system, and these steps they think are important to take before considering divorce. I thought it was worth sharing.



Don't even think about divorcing until...

1. ... you compare the cost of good marital therapy, and meaningful investments in your marriage, to the price tag of divorce. 
-Elisabeth J. Lamotte, couples therapist in Washington, D.C.

2. ...you've done enough honest self examination to find out why you want  to divorce in the first place.    
-Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

3. ...you try touching. No talking required. Just touch in silence and be quiet.
-Hilda Hutcherson, M.D.  OBGYN and professor at Columbia University

4. ...you let go of the fantasy that you're going to find someone who's perfect in all ways and your spouse is not.
-Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough

5. ...you've considered that children often bear the scars and burdens of divorce long after parents have moved on and start over.
-Andy Bachman, Rabbi 

6. ...you're clear that you are making an examined, not rash, decision.
-Esther Perel, author of Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

7. ...you stop and realize that your spouse might marry somebody who you have an issue with.
-Isabel Gillies, actress and author of Divorce Memoirs A Year And Six Seconds And Happens Every Day

8. ...you consider that with the possible exception of permanent disability and long term imprisonment, there are few financial calamities more devastating than divorce.
-Ron Lieber, "Your Money" columnist for The New York Times

9. ...you spend the next year treating your spouse as curiously, respectfully, and grateful as you would a mysterious stranger.
-Christina Nehring, author of A Vindication Of Love: Reclaiming Romance For The 21st Century

10. ... you have dealt with the fact that your marriage has concealed a whole host of your personal defects from public view, and everyone prowling around the single kingdom today has X-ray glasses.
-Liz Phair, musician and writer of "Divorce Song"

11. ... you've left no stone unturned and you've done everything you could do.
-Fran Drescher

12. ...you can vividly imagine your partner kissing somebody else, and you don't care.
-Helen Fisher, PH.D Biological Anthropologist at Rutgers University

13. ...you try writing down your thoughts and sharing them with your spouse.
-Jane McCafferty, author of the novel First You Try Everything, About A Couple Divorcing

My very favorite of all of these is number 9.  I have often joked with friends that we treat our spouses the worst because we know that they will love us anyway. I think it's good that we feel safe with our spouses, but these are the people we should be treating the very best. The people we should be investing in the most. This is something that I am going to try to remember.

Did any of these resonate with you? Which was your favorite?  Do you have one of your own to add? I'd love to hear from you!


7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing T! Great article and some great suggestions. #4 hit home for me...it is so easy to look at the flaws in your spouse sometimes. You know them so well so of course, it is easy to criticize. You look at other spouses and think...oh, I bet they don't do this, or that. But, even if they don't; they do lots of other things that are not perfect. No one is and the sooner you realize that, the happier we will all be with our spouses and ourselves.

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  2. Great post! I'm sorry your struggling with your babies growing up and hope that you find the right path to make you feel whole again. I know you will my friend.

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  3. This is such a great post! Divorce seems to be the topic of conversation lately no matter the age. For my peers and friends that I know of they seem to have gotten married young and within just a few years have grown apart enough that they are better on their own then they are together. For someone who is about ot get married in less than a month, you can't help but being nervous when you hear these things. All of these are great suggestions in keeping things in perspective and what is going to be better long term.

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  4. I love all of these "don't even think about it until..." suggestions. I've seen a number of friends divorce, and while I can never really know what their marriage had been like, I did often wonder if they bailed a little too soon and didn't really try making it work. While I'm super thankful that I'm in a strong marriage, I can't help but think (or at least hope!) that I'd try all of these suggestions if we hit some rocky times bad enough to make us consider the D word.

    Thanks for this post!

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  5. What a thoughtful post. I'm also surrounded by other friends who like me, are dealing with letting go of our kids and the practical changes that means to our lives. As our kids begin to pull away, it seems to shine a spotlight on what's really there. I've always liked the phase, "Where ever I go, there I am" because the message is that we can keep changing relationships and houses and jobs looking for that perfect "one"-- but unless we have happiness from within, nothing will be a lasting substitute. Thanks for bringing up such an important topic, Trish.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

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  6. Divorce is a life-changing decision that you have to think through hundred times before taking the first step. It shouldn’t be your option for every fight and misunderstanding you both experience. It should always be the last option after you’ve done all the effort to make things right and normal. Think about it first, before lodging into a final conclusion of getting divorced. Albert Gates @ Burton Law Firm

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    ReplyDelete