Since my divorce, I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect. And things certainly look different from the time I signed the dotted line to now, over 2 years later.
I’ve grown and changed and had time to self-reflect. I’ve taken ownership and responsibility for my part in the demise of what once was a happy marriage. I have learned from therapists, my church, and often from amazing friends through tears and over wine. What I won’t do is blame myself for things that were out of my control.
At some point in my marriage, I stopped being a wife because I was so focused on being a mom. If I’m being honest, I lost myself in it all, too. I lost alone time, being able to eat a hot meal and not have to share with tiny humans, the ability to grocery shop by myself, and everything else I could so freely do before becoming a mom. I didn’t intentionally do this; it just happened. I love my children and whole-heartedly pray for each one of them, but I think most moms can agree that raising children can be the most exhausting job. Oftentimes we work a full day, then come home only to ¨clock in¨ at our second job.
Where Things Went Wrong
Between taking care of three kids, balancing work, and keeping up with the Joneses, my marriage got pushed to the side. We became roommates and our kids’ parents, nothing more. After a long day and bedtime routines, I’d crawl into bed, hope for a decent night’s sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. My ex-husband and I didn’t talk about much aside from our kids. We lost the connection and fire that we once had. Again, it was never either of our intentions. I’m certain that neither of us married with the thought of one day divorcing. We had dreams, plans, hopes for a future.
My part in the problem, because I’m only speaking for myself, was that I didn’t prioritize my marriage. As parents, we just assumed our roles in the household, and when things got tough, I didn’t speak up. When I felt the distance growing, I got mad. I was bitter. I was spent. I kept to myself and didn’t communicate my feelings. We went through the motions and portrayed ourselves as happily married on social media and in public. I was hopeful that things would get better, but the truth is, things don’t just get better on their own. Anything worth having is hard work. Marriage is hard work. Both parties must recognize and communicate the problems, then actively work toward finding a solution. We simply did not.
Lessons from Divorce
This time around, I will:
- Speak up when I need help
- Communicate my feelings
- Seek marital help if needed
- Plan intentional date nights without children
- Build a relationship of safety, honesty, and openness
- Live to make a happy home, not just an Instagram-worthy picture
Right now, we truly are the most connected, but loneliest generation. With social media and everyone’s lives on display, it’s easy to compare ourselves, our kids, and our spouses to what we perceive as reality. We thrive on likes and new followers while physically sitting next to someone yet being so far away.
Divorce was never in my plans. I wouldn’t encourage it, but I do encourage openness and honesty. Looking back, I certainly would have done things differently. I’m hopeful that one day I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned to a new relationship. Until then, I will not dwell on a past that I cannot change. I won’t be bitter; I will be better.