Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ending A Marriage Is Like... Having A Garage Sale

I've been "happily" married now for going on 16 years. I am also the child of divorce. Not only did my parents divorce when I was very young, but later in my teen years I witnessed the separation and the eventual divorce of my dad and my adored step-mom. I have always had a special interest in relationship dynamics, hoping that by learning from others I might spare myself from some of the same pain. Although I'm far from a marriage expert, I feel like I do have a valuable perspective on things as I have, or I should say we have, my husband and I, been through a lot together. We've had some beautiful moments for sure, but alas, there have been times when it has felt like hell on Earth. There were moments when I've thought to myself (possibly even said out loud?) "People have divorced over less!"

I've recently read a blog post from Glennon on Momestry regarding her marriage trials and it's "Seasons" I could ever much so relate! Anyone who has been in a relationship for any length of time likely can relate to her analogy of the cycles that relationships go through, the Seasons of change. I, myself, have spent several Winters just holding on, holding on, holding on for my own Spring to come and for love to bloom in my marriage again.

For those stuck in Winter when there seems to be no love left, all going dormant, the life of the relationship seeming nearly nonexistent... what does it take for those of us to just hold on? Obviously I am not talking here about the death of the relationship that has been killed due to abuse or infidelity... but to those marriages where you can barely, if at all remember, why you chose your beloved in the first place. For those of us who have succumbed to Winters frigidity, how are we supposed to stay warm and sane while weathering relationships Winter Storm?

For some we hold on for the children, for others it is sheer stubbornness. Myself at times, looking at the beautiful wedding pictures and thinking "I remember that day... " refusing to let go of my happily ever after... I carry on. But lately, I've had another thought that has encouraged me to not give up... a thought so true that it scares me into reality and forces me to pick my battles and acknowledge what I am wagering with divorce's pondering: My loss could be someone else's gain!

A little while back I was talking to someone who was questioning the reasons behind the demise of a common acquaintance's marriage and their eventual divorce. Two "good" people, capable of love and at one time appearing happily married with two perfect children who ended a marriage due to irreconcilable differences. I remembered that years ago the divorcee explained "I just got so sick of him! It got to the point when I would look at him and feel ill!" How could this happen? Even more interesting was the fact that both of them eventually moved on into new relationships with rediscovered passion and desire. This former couple went from relationship "trash" into relationship "treasure" just with a change in partner... and an emotionally clean slate!

It is unlikely that either person increased in their overall desirability as a mate or changed significantly following their divorce. If anything their desirability was tarnished due to the "baggage" of a recent divorce not to mention being the parents of school-age children adding even more to the complexity of dating life.

If their value as a partner didn't change or increase, what enabled this pair to move on and find new partners? With a clean emotional slate and new perspective they could begin a new "season" with someone else! It causes me to wonder though if with an emotionally clean slate and a change in perspective if some could find love again IN their previous marriages and detour the damaging effects and pain of divorce.

So, it seems to me ending a marriage is like having a garage sale. When you decide to let go of your spouse you then symbolically place them on the "table" to be snatched up by someone, often a stranger stopping by, who sees them with fresh eyes noting their inherent value and taking delight in characteristics that to you were old, broken and tarnished. Your former spouse then is taken home by someone who sees them with a fresh perspective, that is not clouded by old hurts, misunderstanding and pains. In this new home they will likely be proudly cherished and put in a place of honor.

Before you put your spouse out, just remember this: one person's "trash" is another persons "treasure"... and you just may be tossing aside something, or someone that may be much more valuable than you are currently aware! Sellers remorse is a common theme I've noticed for many of those who have divorced in years past. Time and time again I have heard those who have been through the pain of divorce... often years later after time has dampened the emotional charge and given them a new perspective  stating "If I would have known then what I know now I would never have filed for divorce!" I'm just suggesting you don't set your treasure out until you are sure... absolutely sure that there will be no change in Season and you are ready to let go... and let your trash become someone else's treasure.


  1. Thanks for a wonderful post!

    I have been married for forty years. We've had some serious bumps, though I am sure it has not been a bad as some couples, but I cannot imagine a divorce. Sometimes we still have to work on issues, but she is my soul-mate.

    1. That's so inspiring! I'm looking forward to one day reading some of your thoughts on marriage as well... You are officially an expert! ;) Thank you SO much for your comment!

  2. love it, Ann! you are right-on - so glad to have you as a wise friend!

  3. It's kind of a cummulation of several conversations I've had with you! :) I'm so grateful to you for our friendship that allows me to explore deep thoughts and to grow as a person! :)