Someone recently asked me if I knew of anyone who had a good divorce. Now that I think of it, that’s not how she phrased it. She said, “It’s possible to have a good divorce, isn’t it?” I didn’t want to say yes, because this is someone who is looking for a good reason to leave her marriage at this point and doesn’t need encouragement. But I do try to be honest, so I said yes, I did know someone who has a good divorce. This is someone who has worked very hard at being civil in her divorce, for the sake of the children. Always for the sake of the children, even at the cost of her sensibility.
And this is a woman who we advised to divorce her husband, also a friend of ours, because she was losing herself in the marriage. It was not a marriage of love and respect, but of posturing. And that’s not a worthwhile life. We asked her whether she would be happier not married than being taken for granted the way she was now, and whether she would be able to gain her self-respect back. I think it was more than that; I think we told her “you couldn’t possibly be more unhappy after being divorced than you are now”, even if it meant the possibility of never finding anyone else to marry.
She did divorce him and went on to find a wonderful loving man to marry. And she’s worked very hard over these past years to make the divorce work, for the sake of the children. Basically, it meant holding her tongue and swallowing her pride for years.
But now her ex is remarrying, which should be an easy fix so everybody can be happy, right?
It realigns the equilibrium, causing shifts monumental. Geological terms are valuable here; earthquakes could be caused with all the grounds moving around now. And she’s holding on for dear life, for her sake, which she has learned to value after a long long time, as well as for her children.
Her ex, of course, doesn’t see it. Or can’t see it, or won’t see it, which was the start of the problem to begin with.
The same thing that makes marriage difficult makes divorce hard; people unable to see the other’s point of view. So there can be divorces that work, but never divorces that are really happy, even if the marriage was a mess.
How do we educate men to see the whole picture? How do we open their eyes to the pain we feel? Is that what Chava did by eating of the fruit? What did she get Adam to see or was that the start of the problem?
But I have to be very honest here. It’s not just men. It’s us women, too. We have false expectations of marriage and also of how to communicate our needs. We have to try much harder to make sure we’re not deluding ourselves, either.