There are several married women in my life who are pondering divorce. Not because they are being abused, or oppressed, mistreated, cheated on, or because their spouse has an active addiction. No, it’s because many of them are bored, feeling restless, or simply thinking the grass is greener on the other side.
I do my best to repeatedly encourage them to water the grass they have, to do all they can to nurture and repair their marriage rather than dwelling on the idea that divorce will suddenly “fix” everything that’s wrong in their lives. It won’t.
Sadly, it seems women today who are struggling in their marriage are far more likely to be advised to leave than to work things out.
Yet, many women I know who are divorced and or single parenting would be the first to tell you that life post-divorce may have been new, exciting, and easier for awhile, but that in time they find themselves with mounting financial problems, disappointing relationships, co-parenting conflicts, watching their children struggle, trouble keeping up with everything at home and work on their own, social fallout, job insecurity, and more.
Those who are honest often will say they regret divorcing for angsty reasons, and that their life is worse off for it. They miss the days when they were part of a couple facing the world together rather than facing the world on their own. They’re depressed, exhausted, worn down, and feeling hopeless as the years slip by and they have not found the happier pastures they thought would be straight ahead.
Many have watched their former spouse remarry or strike out on a life of his own minus the struggles they themselves face. Some have watched children drift away, angry or resentful for the burdens divorce has caused in their own life and world.
There are a lot of sappy movies, magazine articles, and books trumpeting the single independent woman lifestyle, jokes about “starter” marriages, and the like. But the truth is being divorced and alone sucks a lot of the time, and sucks more and more as time goes on.
Sure, I do know a few women who have successfully remarried and who are happy. But I know a lot more who have yet to find that, or if they have the new relationship is no better (and often worse) than the marriage they left.
So if you find yourself thinking that divorce will fix everything, take a step back and really look around in your life. How many women do you know in real life that it has truly worked for? Children that it has worked for? How many do you know that it has not?
Life is not a romantic comedy. Happy endings are often forged from hard work, realistic expectations, appreciation, and extending the olive branch not by launching out into the great unknown, where happiness may await but catastrophe is just as likely.
As someone put it, getting divorced is more like going through treatment for cancer than it is a trip to the cosmetic surgeon and spa.
Marriage goes thru phases. Sometimes “fixing” it isn’t as important as just hanging in there until you get to the other side of the rapids and back to calm, clear water. No need to hack a hole in the bottom of the boat thinking that’s the solution!
My advice? Don’t. Swallow your pride, start being kind to your husband, put aside past hurts, take charge of creating your own happiness right where you are instead of looking for it outside, and start your marriage anew. Many women who have done just that report they are happier than ever before, and that the results were well worth the effort.
A wise woman builds up her home while a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Let those who have ears hear.