I want to preface this article by stating I understand sometimes divorce is the only option. Still, I want to share my experience with my parents’ divorce as a teenager and the effect it had on my life and marriage.
Keep scrolling to read a few pieces of advice from someone who is determined to break the divorce cycle.
My parents told me they were getting divorced at Chili’s. I was 16 years old.
I knew they had problems in their marriage, but I never thought they would get divorced. After all, they had been married more than 25 years. They were the first in either of their families to stay together and had always taken pride in that. Even though I was an apathetic teenager, the news crushed me. I thought if their love couldn’t make it, no love could.
After I got the news, I spent the rest of my teenage years in a sort of fog. I became angry at my parents, at myself, at the whole world. I didn’t picture myself ever getting married. Why would I get married when it was bound to end in divorce?
What My Parents’ Divorce Taught Me
A few years later, I met my husband. It took time, but my view on marriage totally shifted. Now I look at my parents’ divorce as a learning opportunity. I understand that although life is bound to get tough at times, the grass is not always greener.
Marriage is hard work. Living with someone is difficult. Throw in kids, stressful jobs, and busy lives, and it can be easy to put your spouse on the back burner. I won’t go into details, but I think both of my parents realized this years later. Although they are good friends now, which I know is not often the case, their divorce still presents many challenges, especially now that they are grandparents.
My husband and I both come from long lines of divorce. In fact, I can’t think of anyone in our family trees who have not gone through a divorce. This makes us all the more determined to break the cycle.
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We’re making the blueprint as we go and teaching ourselves. Although we’re far from perfect, we’re determined to continue learning and growing every day to strengthen our marriage, so we can make it through the tough stuff.
I want to share a few pieces of advice that help us keep our marriage strong.
1. Share Your Feelings
Just like in any relationship, communication is key. I always recommend sharing your feelings rather than keeping them inside. Oftentimes when I share what’s going on in my head, my husband had no idea. That being said, in the heat of the moment, it’s sometimes best to collect your thoughts before letting your emotions take over.
2. Operate as a Team
It’s easy for things to go wrong when you’re not on the same page, whether it be finances, parenting styles, parents, in-laws, etc. It’s best to have conversations about these matters to see where you both stand, and then work together to find a solution.
3. Look Within
As I’ve got older, I’ve learned that it’s very important to accept my own faults and learn from them. If we’re arguing about something, chances are both of us are at fault in some way. I think it’s crucial to accept your own failures and mistakes and use them to grow, both individually and as a team.
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4. Marriage Counseling
Counseling isn’t only for when you’re having problems in your marriage. It works wonders to strengthen your bond and gives you the tools you need to work through the inevitable challenges that come with time.
5. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Some may disagree, but this is my biggest advice when it comes to everything — parenting, marriage, life in general. When I get upset, sometimes I choose to look at the situation (or my reaction) from a comical standpoint. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the chaos and understand that even though it’s hard right now, you’re in this together.
I think the bottom line is that no matter what, divorce is going to affect your kids. It can affect them in a positive way if your marriage is unhealthy. Conversely, it can negatively impact their view on relationships. Sure, there are times that it just doesn’t work out, but in my opinion, marriage is worth fighting for.