The Truth about Marriage and Divorce
When two people are in love, all that seems to occupy their thoughts is the desire to share the rest of their lives together. These romantic notions often lead to the altar, and eventually to having children. Marriage is traditionally considered a bond bound in heaven, a contract between two people and God, who commit to stay together “…through thick and thin, through sickness and in health.”
Having their own family becomes the next greatest blessing that may even be seen as more joyous than the actual wedding. As a family, they share life together, with all it joys, sorrows, and everything in between. The enjoyment of each other’s company becomes the hallmark of their family.
But due to unfortunate events, some marriages do not last forever. Some fairy tales do not end with “happily ever after.” It is a fact that many couples do have differences that later turn out to be irreconcilable. Rather than endlessly be stuck in marital discord, some feuding couples see separation, annulment, or divorce as the only solution to end their fractured relationship.
Many marriages end up in divorce because when two people get married, they do so without thinking of the enormous responsibilities and challenges that come with the marital contract. The sheer number of drive-in marriage booths in Las Vegas clearly point out the rather low regard people place in the institution of marriage. How would you like an Elvis impersonator officiate in exchanging your vows? Many people actually got married that way in Vegas. Other reasons for the high number of separations and divorce include cases of adultery or marital infidelity.
Naturally, separation and divorce brings untold anxiety not only upon the marriage partners, but often, more so on the children. Having a divorce can be both unpredictable and scary, completing this whole process means the destruction of the whole foundation of the family —not to mention the staggering costs of alimony and child support. Anxiety is present in divorce discussions, since the couple are not in good terms. A marital crisis is a family tragedy that will require years of emotional healing, if only to regain the self-esteem and stability of every person in the family.
Perhaps, even more than the two involved in the marriage, the ones who need emotional healing the most are the children. Children are the least prepared to face serious emotional and psychological trauma. Children with divorced parents are stricken with anxiety. The stress is often seen in their poor performance in school and defiant behavior at home. With low self-esteem, many teenagers from broken homes resort to drugs and join gangs to find a “substitute” home or family. In any case, emotional healing is crucial if children are to be prepared or rehabilitated from the emotional scars that were brought about by their parents’ failed marriage. While keeping the marriage partnership intact may be the ideal, sometimes the avenue of divorce is taken by couples to prevent their children from becoming “collateral damage” in a situation where parents are constantly arguing and fighting.
My Story of Marriage and Divorce
The emotional steps leading from the first shock of betrayal to the final action of divorce is similar to the steps dealing with death. And in the early stages I sometimes preferred death. Friends tried to help with their professional advice; mostly they said it will get better with time. “You’ll be fine.” “You just need time to heal” That was a good one, like if it were only as simple as a broken leg, or hole in the tire. Those I could fight or repair those I could understand. Friends told me about the process:
Anger, resentment and fear
Withdrawal and grieving
Did I listen then? I said I did, but in the early stages it’s impossible. Months later, visiting a friend in a hospital room I found myself saying the same things. My words sounding terribly false and hollow against real pain, discomfort and fear…. “You’ll be fine,” In his case, like mine, it was true, we both recovered.
I remember my anger, experiencing it as feeling down or depressed. Left unresolved, this anger could have ruined my mental and physical health, even my life. All of these feelings lowered my sense of self-worth and self-esteem. At this point, motivation and drive to try new things disappeared, resulting in less and less confidence in my abilities.
I began to worry and over-think, creating feelings of anxiety. I worried about many things, especially not ever letting anyone into my life. I could justify being a castaway, constantly feeling alone. I continued to have problems with anxiety and developed a sleep disorder. I found comfort in plotting revenge. If left unchecked this pattern would continue into a downward spiral, creating more fear, more anger or depression lower self-esteem and more worry and anxiety.
The simple truth is that I had a stressful marriage with an emotionally distant wife. She left. Yes I had generous feelings of betrayal; how could she do this to me and her family? I had constant feelings of loss. Driving our car, turning to see the passenger seat empty would fill me with tears. Somehow things changed for me; sure the counseling helped, praying and seeking God helped, but mostly the change happened when I finally gave myself permission to move on. To accept things for what they are, to accept the new opportunities, to see the door open, and the other door closed.
I dreaded the thought of marriage and divorce. I had worried about divorce for a long time before I had the nerve and courage to take this final action. I spend many nights saying it was OK to do it, then I’d put it off for one good reason after another. I told myself the money was too tight, knowing that was a lie. I told myself I would do it after the holidays, or maybe next month, or next week.
Intellectually I was aware of the immediate benefits of getting divorced, and since there was nobody forcing my hand I kept postponing it and procrastinating. The day I filed my divorce papers was a day of release. I discovered relief from anxiety and a freedom I did not expect. The day I filed was a day of new beginnings, a day of new life.
The Truth about Marriage and Divorce