My parents divorced when I was about 5 years old. Even at such a young age I could still feel the tension between them. Our lives were turned upside down and changed forever.
But I didn’t give up believing in love. The heartbreak of their divorce showed me what I wanted: a life-long, committed relationship in marriage.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. Divorce causes hurts you can’t take back
I discovered that even when a separation is amicable, someone gets hurt. You often hear that when a relationship ends in divorce there is a grieving period as if someone has died. Unfortunately, this is true! My parents were hurting as they were untangling the lives they once shared. I knew I never wanted to go through that again.
As I got older, the divorce made me insecure about every relationship I had with men. I feared I wouldn’t be able to maintain a relationship. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I knew I could overcome my fear.
I made a promise to commit to having a life-long partnership for the sake of my spouse, our future kids, and myself.
2. Kids need the stability that comes from living with their own married mom and dad.
Even when parents are in the same home parenting together there are things you can miss that your child might need. Add two separate homes, new relationships with stepparents and step children and there is a lot more room for the needs of your children to slip through the cracks. My parents did the best they could, but it’s inevitable!
I remember my little brother being the only constant in my life. When they split up, so did my life. Rather than being a team unit, my brother and I were my dad’s responsibility when we were with him and my mom’s when we were with her.
I felt split between the two of them, both physically and emotionally. I could identify parts of myself that were just like my dad and other parts that were just like my mom. When they couldn’t accept each other, I felt like a part of me was being rejected from both sides.
I know my parents love me. But as a child, their divorce instilled a feeling of rejection in me and that feeling carried over into adulthood. It caused me to be very insecure about the person I was for a long time. I vowed to stick it out in my own future relationship no matter what because I didn’t want my kids to go through what I did.
3. Having marriage role models showed me that lifelong love is possible
Watching my parents in their new marriages (both of which have lasted for 15 to 20 years and continue to endure) showed me what a committed relationship should look like. A life-long partnership. Both my mom and my dad have strong friendships with their current spouses. They share so much history and laughter together. I knew I wanted that.
I learned through the divorce of my parents and their new relationships that even though you always love your spouse there are days you don’t necessarily like each other. It’s okay to have “off days.” As long as you are committed to each other and your relationship, you can make it through to the better days to come.
In my own marriage, there are always hardships. But I value being able to share life’s ups and downs with my husband. I have someone there who knows me and grows with me. I have a friend to root for me, who knows me much more intimately than a normal friend. I may have been hurt by my parents’ divorce, but I ultimately learned valuable lessons from it that show me the importance of my relationship with my husband now.