When I was a child, my parents divorced. My mother said that my father just wasn’t an honest, decent human being. Since I was only a few years old, I didn’t comprehend what was going on or how the divorce would end up affecting my life and future relationships. However, now that I am significantly older, I have had the chance to reflect on my past, and I’ve realized how many valuable lessons I have learned from experiencing this life-altering event.
Here are five things I have learned from the breakdown of my parent’s marriage and their eventual divorce:
1. Love is not always enough.
Growing up, everyone told me that love can withstand anything. Books, movies, and songs depict this romantic ideal, so I expected my loved ones’ relationships to stand the test of time. As I have progressed in life, however, I have come to realize that love can withstand a lot of things, but it cannot withstand everything. The books and movies we grew up with were fictional; life is not a Disney movie. The real world has difficulties that movie characters never had to experience – money woes, miscarriages, deaths of loved ones, and job losses. All of the hardships we face can have damaging effects on our relationships. While these afflictions may not break all relationships, they can certainly tear some couples apart.
2. You should truly know the person you are marrying.
If you plan to spend the rest of your life with someone, you need to know everything about them: the good, the bad, and the ugly. You need to know what sets them off, what their bad habits are, and what baggage they carry. We tend to envision our partners as kind, good-natured people. The reality is, though, there are two sides to every person: one is light, and the other is dark. It is wise to learn your partner’s lightness, darkness, and every shade of gray in between before you commit to them for life.
3. People don’t change.
No matter how much we wish it wasn’t the case, people don’t change unless they want to. However, we often ignore the fact that most people remain the same, which hurts us in our relationships. I’ve seen countless people stay in relationships because they believed that their partner would eventually change. But if your partner is dishonest now, they will continue to be dishonest in the future. People are who they are and unfortunately, not even love is strong enough alter a person’s nature. Though it may seem like your significant other has changed, the change will be short-ived unless your partner is truly committed to self-improvement. After all, the “honeymoon” stage of relationships does not last forever. Rather than wasting your time, hoping your significant other will change, pick yourself up, and find someone who is right for you. I promise that person is out there.
4. Communication is the lifeblood of relationships.
Communicating with others is a necessary part of life, but in relationships, it is essential. You must always be open and honest with your partner because if you choose to stay quiet, or worse, lie, you will create cracks in your relationship. Once a relationship has begun cracking, it is easier to break. Once it’s broken, a relationship is nearly impossible to put back together.
5. Divorce doesn’t make you a bad person.
I’ve heard many divorcées express that they feel like a terrible person or their divorce has made them a failure. If you choose to divorce, you are not a failure. All your divorce means is that your relationship was not meant to be, and it has simply run its course. Everyone deserves to live a happy, healthy life – and that includes you and your significant other. Life is too short to waste any opportunities to be happy.
Although I do not wish divorce on anyone, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through my parents’ divorce. I am stronger because of their separation, and I know that my future relationships will be as well.