How Getting Divorced Saved My Marriage

Feb 16

How Getting Divorced Saved My Marriage

Christina Routon is a writer passionate about sharing her ideas, goals and dreams with others. She can be reached at christina-at-creativelifeenterprises.com

It’s Valentine’s weekend, a time to celebrate the loves in our lives. If you’re lucky enough to have someone special to share it with, all the better.

On Valentine’s weekend, 2011, my husband left. I passed him on the road while coming home from shopping. I called him to ask where he was going. His mother’s, he said. I asked about the following day, Sunday, when we were supposed to have lunch with our pastor and his family. He didn’t know if he’d be back, he said, and I could hear him crying. Suddenly I couldn’t breathe and it felt as if a heavy weight went “thunk” on my chest. He said goodbye and hung up.

He didn’t come home until Monday night, and that was when we talked about our our finances and make preparations for a divorce. Two weeks later we signed the paperwork and a month later our divorce was final.
It’s now been three years since that weekend and I can still feel that weight on my chest whenever I think about it. But with some distance, I realize it was the best thing we’d ever done for our relationship. While I’d never want to go through it again or wish the pain on anyone else, I have three reasons why it was the best choice we could make at the time.
1. It woke me up. That Saturday morning we’d had an argument – another in a long line of argument. We’d been arguing about something for most of our 22-year-marriage. We always argued about the same things, mostly money. But from that afternoon – from the moment I passed him on the road – I woke up.
What does it mean to wake up? Well, most of us tend to go through our lives in a daze. We get up, have breakfast, go to work, come home, kiss the spouse and the kids, make some small talk, watch TV and go to bed. Every day is almost an instant replay of the day before. Every now and again something happens to jar us from that existence, to wake us from that daze. It could be a crisis like a divorce, a death in the family, a car accident, a job loss. These things will wake us up and make us pay attention to the world around us. It’s in those moments we end up realizing our lives aren’t what we wanted them to be.
This is our fault as individuals because we’ve gotten into the habit of reacting to situations instead of creating a situation. So when something happens to wake us up it’s easy to blame others for our situation. We blame our spouse, our kids, our parents, our employers, our teachers. But ultimately we – individually – control our thoughts, our words, our emotions and our actions. We are 100% responsible for our lives and no one else. I had to own up to my 100% responsibility for where I was at 40-years-old because I was there due to the choices I had either made or agreed to at some point in my life.
2. The divorce gave us space. And we needed the space. We needed time away from the fighting and the stress. Yes, money was tight. Yes, we still had to get through day-to-day life. I started a new job, and despite frequent crying jags in the bathroom I had to put on a happy face – or at least a “I’m surviving face” and get out into the world. Our son spent the summer living with his grandparents because he also needed space. I lived alone for the first time in 22 years. I read, watched movies, prayed a lot, started writing again, and kept working on my part-time transcription business on top of my new job. It wasn’t easy, but we desperately needed that distance.
3. We both discovered what we wanted out of life. For years we’d been drifting apart, wanting something to change but being scared to make that change. We’d accepted our unhappy marriage as “just the way things are,” but after a move from Georgia to Alabama we’d both felt a shift. It was only a matter of time until one of us did something about how we felt. So while we were apart it gave us the time to discover what we really did want out of life and all the possibilities out in the world.
Six months after the divorce we also knew that what we wanted in life was each other. We remarried on October 21, 2011.
This time around is very different. There aren’t any 18-year-old hormones getting in the way. There is a lot more communication, understanding, forgiveness and faith and a lot less selfishness. This time we’re two adults who have woken up, decided to write the script for our lives, and have made a conscious choice to be together.
What situation has woken you up? Are you making more conscious choices in your life?

2 comments

  1. Wow, I would have never in a million years thought that. Your so put together! My parents divorced but IT WAS HE BEST THING EVER. They should have never gotten married when my mom found out she was pregnant- but then I wouldn’t have my brother. So things…good or bad, always happen for a reason. My brother eventually gave my dad the chance to redeem himself and his past – so it works out beautifully.

    • Christina /

      Caden, this is just happened for me. Sometimes it is best for two people to divorce. I’m glad you have a good relationship with your parents. Regardless of their relationship they’ll always be your parents.

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