I very often hear talk of how people “just give up” on their marriages. While there are those who treat marriage and divorce casually, I would say that most of us went into our marriages filled with hope and ideas of forever.
Every woman I know who is now divorced fought like hell to save her marriage—before finally deciding to save herself instead.
At a certain point, we realize that the ship is sinking, so, yes, we get off the damn ship and start looking for a lifeboat—a whole new life.
We didn’t give up.
We saved ourselves.
We didn’t quit our marriages; we survived them.
When we realize that we can’t single-handedly make a relationship with another person work, we have to choose ourselves. We begin to hear our hearts screaming for us to get out. We begin to honor our intuition, which tells us that this situation isn’t healthy for us, that we must do whatever it takes to make our lives better. We figure out that we cannot save our partner, that they are no longer our partners when they choose not to fight for the relationship.
We realize the relationship is over already, and we begin to take the steps to make that final.
We take the steps toward divorce, no matter our circumstances, no matter how difficult it will be to live without this relationship or the financial support of being coupled. We leave no matter how counter intuitive it is to walk away from something in which we’ve invested so much of our lives. We leave, all the while grieving that we will have to experience a life of divorcees.
This isn’t a matter of giving up or quitting. This is a matter of accepting things as they are and choosing to live the best life that we can.
I’ve found that many of us come out of these trials only to be painted as the villains. We become the bad guys in another’s story, because that is so much easier. And when we go through a divorce, we often lose the support of people we had long considered family as they choose to believe this story.
Divorce isn’t easy, no matter how it may seem from the outside. It changes us in so many ways, and it often makes it more difficult to trust others.
It’s important to support one another through these difficult times.
The support we need is often just a listening ear.
We don’t need unsolicited advice or the secret to how your marriage has worked. We don’t need judgment or commentary about how easily people leave their marriages these days. We don’t even need encouragement about our future relationship prospects at this point. We need our support system to stand strong with us through the process.
We can allow our struggles to define us or transform us, and in the difficult process of simply bearing up under them, it’s essential that we feel love and support around us.
In the end, we did whatever it took to save ourselves when we could no longer save our relationship.
When I see another man or woman struggling through that process, I often offer a kind word and a listening ear, hoping that they would certainly rather have the happy marriage with the promise of forever than the divorce court and legal fees and heartache of a dissolving union.
But if they choose to end a relationship, I often offer them my silent support.
We’re not giving up; we’re choosing to live the best lives we can under challenging circumstances.
We’re not quitting; we’re choosing to survive, to thrive and to create joyful lives.