Updated: Mar 30
Divorce. Its definition sounds simple, “To dissolve a marriage, (or more specifically, a marriage contract between two people). To terminate a relationship .”
The word “dissolve” is an interesting word choice. It means to “liquidate or make to disappear. To destroy. To separate into component parts, or to disintegrate.”
The reality is that things are never really “dissolved” fully between two people who were once married. That ability to go back as though the marriage never happened. Especially if there are children involved. Oh, one can destroy a marriage and return to separate component parts. The State, and society, will once again formally and legally view each party as being single and separate from their previous spouse. However, on a personal note, that separation, as we mentioned before in an earlier blog, is like tearing two glued pieces of paper apart. It’s not pretty. We will leave some residual aspects of ourselves that we gave to that person behind us. Over time, those parts may be replenished. The residuals of ourselves that we leave behind eventually turn into memories as we look to rebuild anew. For most, that takes some time. Some never do recover. The history, the investment of time we give, is never completely dissolved.
The most common term that we are familiar with in divorce filings is “irreconcilable differences.” The definition of “irreconcilable” states that “the findings or points of view are so different from each other that they cannot be made compatible.”
In a marriage, this basically boils down to two people, once united in their future journey together that was full of hope, optimism, and love now find themselves no longer on the same page. No longer walking on a path forward together. No longer in agreement on most issues that they once shared. This does not happen overnight. This transformation in their marriage happens over a period of time. Much like rust on a car that is primarily caused by a corrosive environment and neglect.
The three main reasons given for divorce are:
1. Infidelity – speaks for itself
2. Lack of commitment – (primary reasons: having given up, aloof, drifted apart, a don’t care attitude. Lack of continued interest, self-centeredness, not really involved or in love.)
3. Conflict or arguing – money or finances is the primary culprit mentioned.
The last straw that is given for saying enough is enough would-be infidelity, then domestic violence, and finally substance use. To be sure, there are other reasons that people have given for wanting a divorce, however these top the list.
There may be someone reading this blog at this moment struggling with their marriage. Maybe privately you find you are literally on the cusp of making a big decision concerning your marriage, and your future.
Should I divorce?
There are no easy answers to this one. No magic pill that can be swallowed to make it all go away or provide an instant answer. No special enlightened word that will make everything all better. And as much as we want to think that divorce is a simple solution to a big problem, in reality, it is not that simple for most people. Just walking away sounds so easy. It is the road of least resistance after all. However, if you truly love someone, you stay to fight for your relationship until one of two things become clear:
Either the efforts begin to produce tangible fruit and things turn around for the better …
Or, you find that after some invested time your efforts are futile as you realize you are pushing against an immovable object.
Many of those who face the thought of divorce find it difficult to think clearly enough, without the emotional swings and fears, to make some rational choices and settle on a final decision. This is completely understandable and is surely not uncommon.
So, in a desire to help provide some focus, let’s take a moment to simply lay out a basic guide that may be of assistance in showing a path forward, or at least offering some type of starting point:
Step One – Identify what is your motivation for seeking a divorce. If you come up with superficial things like “I’m just bored with my marriage”, then you’re not serious about your marriage. Maybe you never were. Does your motivation fall into one of the categories of the “irreconcilable differences list” mentioned above? Or is it something else? Write it down on paper. Look at it. Now ask yourself:
1. Is there not a reasonable solution to remedy it? Or is it an obstacle that cannot be overcome? An example would be taking the issue of “conflict or arguing”. What triggers this and is there not a way that it can be resolved? In other words, is it an obstacle, such as finances, that can be resolved and worked through to eliminate the conflict, tension, arguing, frustration, blame, and other things that drive one to consider divorce? There are means and ways to take care of finances. It may be just a matter of finding help to pinpoint what it will take. This one does have the means to overcome the issue. However, of the top three that people give for their motivation, I would have to say that adultery, or infidelity, is a very difficult hurdle to get past. I know some people feel that with enough counseling and such that a marriage can be saved. Sure, there are probably some exceptions, but if there is reconciliation it is often due to other motivating reasons for staying in the marriage. If infidelity is the issue for you, honestly, I would not want to give out false hope. Why? It is nearly impossible to repair the trust that has been severely damaged by such an act and not still have remaining doubts and suspicion that never goes away. It is, with few exceptions, always lurking in the back of one’s mind. This causes an uneasy relationship where trust is never fully restored to its rightful place, and one is always waiting for the shoe to drop as the saying goes. So, write out some ideas on how to tackle the issue that you wrote down.
2. Have attempts been made together? What would it take to make that happen if it hasn’t?
3. Would it be helpful to seek a third party to move the ball?
4. What line of communication exists between the two of you? Without communication, it is rather difficult to help save any marriage if that is in fact what you are fighting for. Divorce should not be the topic of discussion but rather what thing or things you have identified, from your perspective, as something serious enough to talk about. Notice I said talk and not shout. Civil discourse goes a long way in being productive. If cooler heads cannot prevail then possibly some mediator as a liaison between the two of you to initially break the communication ice. This often works well at first on a one-on-one basis, such as a supportive male friend of the couple’s marriage for the husband and a supportive female friend of the couple’s marriage for the wife. I would not recommend a female-to-male or male-to-female situation here.
Step Two – Take a personal inventory. Can you identify what part you might have in the issue at hand? We all have blind spots. Maybe there is something you are doing you are not aware of that feeds into the problem. Are you willing to make a change? For example, have you become or have been too demanding? Too nitpicky? Too busy? Too critical? Aloof? Not communicating? Not as involved? Controlling?
Step Three – Is it solvable? Be realistic here. For instance, there are those in abusive relationships that continue to convince themselves while they are getting their daily beat down that he, or she, doesn’t really mean to hurt them, believing it will get better. After all, they say “that they love me”. Stop it and realize it’s time to figure out a way to giddy up on out of there.
Whatever the two of you do, do not let yourselves be frozen in place. Eventually doing nothing, taking no action, and having no motivation to figure out what the two of you should do will only lead to depression and compound the condition you find your marriage in. Talk. Figure out when, why, and where your train got off the tracks. And, what will it take to get it back on?
The following video speaks volumes. Listen, and then we’ll talk about it:
A moving song by the group Chicago. Emotional, personal, meaningful, and expressive lyrics that are equally matched by the music that moves the listener to connect in a heartfelt way. Music has always been the most powerful means to express love and feelings. The lyrics here speak for themselves. The musicians, if you didn’t catch it, were not Americans but Eastern Europeans. Even though English is not their primary language, their love for the language of music overcame that obstacle in order to understand and connect with the song. You see, music is more than just notes on a page. Music is the produced sounds of the emotions and feelings of the heart, soul, and spirit. You could see this connection while they performed. And the joy of creating something together. Around 20 musicians practiced, rehearsed and learned together this one song. And then, they recorded. The end product of those efforts is found in this video. Playing the wrong note is like saying the wrong thing musically. They all rehearsed until they got it right. The end result was beautiful music.
You see, this video is like our marriages. We sometimes don’t play the right note, or say the right thing. But if we practice, we get better. We put in time and effort. We learn each other’s language. We work together with a common goal to create something beautiful. No, it is not always easy. These musicians didn’t become great at playing overnight. And neither do successful marriages. Twenty people playing as one, in sync, in tune, and on beat. They make it look effortless. Is it not possible for two people committed to one another to do the same?
We see older couples and wonder how it is that they got to be in sync like that. Being as one. Seeing on their face the joy of what they created together. How? Well, what we see is the result of years of practice, of learning, at becoming better people, better husbands, and wives.
So, here is the question for you. If others have found their way through, how bout you?
Hopefully, this simple guide may be of some use to someone needing a gentle nudge and some positive motivation on where to start.
They say that there are five stages that a person goes through during a divorce. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then finally acceptance. Be prepared for the possibility of facing this if divorce is in your future.
And finally, I would encourage any couple that is considering divorce to first take a walk through all of our previous posts up to this point. They were each written to guide, strengthen and encourage couples in their marriage so that they might avoid reaching this crossroad. They may provide further answers, guidance, revelations, and ideas for rebooting your marriage. You owe it to yourselves to try.
Until next time, we wish you LOVE, JOY & PEACE!