When I was a child, my mother ended her marriage to my father due to his inability to be an honest, decent human being. Since I was only a few years old, I didn’t comprehend what was going on or how this would end up affecting my life and my future relationships. 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.
1. Love is not always enough.
Growing up, I was always told that love can withstand anything. This is depicted in books, movies, songs, and other various forms of storytelling. As I have progressed in life, 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, and life is not like it is portrayed in Disney movies. The real world has difficulties that the characters never had to experience –money woes, miscarriages, deaths of loved ones, job losses, etc. All of the hardships we face can have very damaging effects on our relationships. I’m not saying these afflictions will break all relationships, because they may not. But for some couples, it will tear them apart.
2. You should really, really know the person you are marrying.
If you are planning on spending 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, what baggage they carry, etc. We tend to envision our partners as only being kind, good natured people, but in reality, there are two sides to a person; one is light, and the other is dark. It is wise to learn both.
3. People don’t change.
This is a very sad fact that many have chosen to ignore. I’ve seen countless people stay in relationships because they believed their partner would eventually change. People don’t change, just like tigers don’t change their stripes. If they are proving to be dishonest now, they will continue to be dishonest in the future. People are who they are and unfortunately, there is nothing on earth that is strong enough alter a person’s nature, including love. It may seem like they have changed in the beginning, but it will be short lived. The “honeymoon” stage does not last forever. Rather than waste 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. When it comes to relationships, it is essential. You must always be open and honest with one another because if you choose to stay quiet, or worse, lie, you will start creating cracks in your relationship. Once a relationship has cracks in it, it is easier to break. Once it’s broken, it is nearly impossible to put back together.
5. Divorce doesn’t make you a bad person.
I’ve heard many divorcees talk about how they feel like a terrible person or how their divorce has made them a failure. You are not a failure. All it means is that your relationship was not meant to be, and it simply ran its course. Everyone deserves to live a happy, healthy life – and that includes you and your significant other. Life is too short and every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you will never get back.
Although I do not wish this experience on anyone, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through the divorce of my parents. I am stronger because of it, and I know my future relationships will be as well.