Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lessons From My Divorce, Part 2 - Success

Success is often judged by comparing what was real to what was possible. Give that up and you've got an opportunity to have learned something!

At the notice of a divorce or break-up, it's common to hear that someone's relationship has failed. It certainly
feels true enough... My marriage ended, and I'm sad, and disappointed. So I ask myself, "Did my marriage fail?" Somehow, the answer I keep returning to is, No. Here's why...

At the core of this feeling of failure is my expectation for how I
thought my relationship would progress. I thought that my marriage would last "forever." I wouldn't have gotten married if I'd thought otherwise! My intention to create a mutually loving and satisfying relationship has been thwarted. In comparison to what I believed was possible for my marriage, this divorce is a failure.

But is an empowering life built on comparison?

When I remove the comparison of what was real to what was dreamt and imagined, I am left with only the facts of what WAS. The facts are that (despite our best intentions and significant efforts) neither of us was able to be whom the other needed us to be; we both behaved in ways that weren't productive; and the end result of our day to day interaction was largely stressful, painful, and destructive.

Those are the facts, and that is a relationship that I am happier and healthier for being without.

From that place of clarity, I can get curious about the lessons available to me out of the experience of my marriage. One of these lessons is that I am NOT reliable to know whether or not my significant, intimate relationships have the possibility of longevity! I
always think they're going to last forever! I almost always believe that we will surmount any challenge... until we don't. I am a true believer in the power of love and partnership, and a hard-working optimist at heart. I love that about me, and I get to be responsible for the consequences... like a lack of healthy cynicism. Sigh!

Sad and disappointed vs. happy, healthy and curious. Where would you rather dwell?

Now, I'm not saying that my sadness is invalid. By all means, my sadness is real, and I will allow myself the time and space to mourn the loss of what we had envisioned together. But, through my tears, I know that I'm mourning something imagined. The experiences that had us fall in love and commit ourselves to a marriage were real, and they still exist in my memory, and in my heart. They have not been lost.

And that, in itself, is a blessing. I would not give those memories back... We loved, and laughed, and wondered at the world, relished our surroundings and each other's company, and experienced both joy and magic. How could I declare that a failure?

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved - http://www.mmakaelnewby.com

1 comment:

  1. I am awfully sorry to hear this. I don't have words of wisdom to help you through this. It is hard to find your relationship wasn't what you needed. I held on for almost 10 years, hoping it would get better and we could continue a life together. You, maybe, were smarter.