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

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

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

13. 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!