I Was a Self-Righteous Married Person

They should never have gotten married. What a waste. What about the kids? They are so selfish. Did they try everything? My husband was way worse and I stayed. Did she leave over the dirty dishes in the sink? They don’t value commitment. There’s just something seriously wrong with all these divorces. I don’t understand it, isn’t anyone happily married for life anymore? She must have cheated. He must have cheated. Divorce is just an exchange of problems. Vows are vows – for better or worse. Marriage is covenant before God. Marriage is until death do you part. Marriage is a choice, being in love is a choice.

Are you a self-righteous married person? I was. I thought (and sometimes said) many of those things about people around me getting divorced. I was scared of divorce. I needed people around me to stay married and keep the hope alive that marriage is a good thing; that it can work out. Divorce is threatening. Inside, I hoped that by judging others that were getting divorced that I would remain on the right side of that judgment and remain married. It didn’t work.

We tried to stay married with grit, determination and self-will. We tried therapy for “us.” I tried therapy for “me.” I tried acceptance and forgiveness. I tried perpetual gratitude lists. I tried prayer, meditation and yoga. While all of these things benefited our marriage, none of them were enough to make it work. We couldn’t forge a consistent connection that met each others needs and instead we existed in a state of stress and discomfort most of the time.

Now, I am getting a divorce. I understand that each union is different and despite good intent, hope and love some of us just can’t stay married. It’s sad but it’s true. Fifty percent of marriages in the U.S. fail. I’ve jumped off my high horse. People are doing the best they can. We didn’t have the tools to become a working union. The stress of our marriage showed in my kid’s faces, in my sleepless nights and my lack of authenticity with friends and family. Going through a divorce has changed me. I have met my limits and honored them.

I would love for 100% of marriages to work. Would love for divorce to be a concept rather than a reality. I don’t encourage or recommend divorce. But if you find yourself unable to stay married, my heart is filled with love for you. I know where you are. I know that despair and sadness and I share it with you. I am wrapping my arms around you with the biggest healing hug I can muster.

If you are a self-righteous married person, I love you too. I have been you. Your path and experience may be different than mine but I love you anyway. I know that judgment comes from hurt. Sometimes we need to relive the hurt to heal. If you meet your pain my hug is here.

As I sit here 19 days away from mediating our divorce, I have sadness but not regret. Our union produced the best thing in our lives, our children. I am open to what is next. I am filled with compassion for my husband, myself and others who find themselves unable to stay married.

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