What I’m Thankful for this Holiday Season: DIVORCE
Divorce gets a bad rap. People say divorce is a scourge on our society. Divorce rates are too high. Divorce breaks up families. Divorce is the hobgoblin of little minds (that one might be a paraphrase).
I disagree. Divorce isn’t the problem – divorce is the solution. The problem is rushing into marriage with the wrong person, or expecting someone to change, or people growing apart, or any of a wide variety of actual things that make being married to someone else no longer a good idea.
You don’t blame the stitches for healing the wound – you blame the rabid wolverine for causing it. You don’t blame the fireman for putting out the fire – you blame the person who gave an armadillo matches. You don’t blame the window for protecting you from inclement weather – you blame the rain, which you absolutely cannot stand. Even though it’s your window.
For the sake of full disclosure, I do have both a personal & a professional bias toward divorce. Without divorce I never would have met my forever wife and had two amazing, albeit somewhat cray, children. Without divorce I would probably have to pursue a different career. & really what am I going to do with a journalism degree? Write a bunch of random blog posts?
Staying married is an admirable goal. Making your relationship work is an admirable goal. Life is too short to spend it being miserable, though. Life is too short to tolerate someone treating you like crap, or making you feel bad about yourself every day, or physically abusing you, or cheating on you, or any of a variety of things someone can do to another person that do not espouse the sort of love one should be espousing on one’s esteemed spouse.
Give yourself the chance to be happy. Give yourself the chance to find someone who is capable of treating you the way you deserve to be treated. Give yourself a chance to realize you deserve to be happy and that you are not actually a bad person for being you. Give yourself a chance to be free from verbal and physical abuse. Give yourself a chance to find someone who will be faithful. Give yourself a chance to find someone who really loves you and doesn’t just say they do, while proving otherwise on a near-daily basis.
This is going to sound incompatible with everything else I’ve said, but divorce rates are currently at a 40-year low…and that’s a good thing. Why? Because it’s caused by millennials not rushing to get married. Millennials are getting married at a much lower rate than previous generations, ensuring that they are more likely to be marrying the right person and not just getting married for the sake of getting married. Again – divorce isn’t the problem – marrying the wrong person is the problem.
Divorce is great. Stop spending your life with someone who you don’t love or doesn’t love you (although preferably you would not have married them in the first place). Open up the chance to find someone who makes you feel the way you want to feel – or be like Emma Watson & date yourself and become comfortable in your singularity.
Of course, divorce is more greaterest if you had a Pre-Marital Agreement to defray the costs, or barring that a post-marital agreement, or barring that you can reach an amicable resolution of all your community property so you don’t have to give it all to lawyers (also – don’t blame lawyers – it’s not our fault your ex sucks; you married them, not us).
People often talk about “staying together for the children”. The problem is, what are you holding onto and how does it make their lives better? Yes, it may be hard for children to see their parents split up. But do you know what else is hard for children? Seeing their two parents fight every day. Seeing their two parents miserable. Seeing their two parents set an awful example of what a relationship should look like.
What you are depriving your children of is a chance to see you and their other parent happy, thriving, and living in a far less stressful environment. Two healthy homes where the parents work together is far better for children than one dysfunctional one where they work against each other.
That’s not just my opinion – there are a number of articles and scientific studies on the subject. The general consensus of the analysis is that 80% of children of divorce are well-adjusted, and that it is not marriage that is important to the child, but having loving parents who are not embroiled in conflict, according to Wendy Paris for Psychology Today.
In order to further defray any potential issues for children, a child-centered divorce utilizing mediation and a focus on working together and fostering a positive environment for the kids can be super helpful. The idea is to get divorced for the kids, not stay together and keep the same toxic environment for the kids.
Just like any other tool, when used properly, divorce is a wonderful thing. Be thankful for the good things in your life and mitigate the bad things. When I’m spending time with my awesome wife & children this holiday season, divorce is one of the many things I will be thankful for, and hopefully my ex-wife is, too.