As a divorce blogger, marital advice that comes from me can be taken two ways: 1. Learn from her. She knows what to do to NOT end up divorced. or 2. Why the hell is a divorced woman giving marital advice? Isn’t that an oxymoron? So, when I saw this blog post by Lisa Kaplin on celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary, I thought I’d share it on Divorced Girl Smiling, perhaps to inspire those thinking of separating to keep trying, or for divorced people who might be in relationships or second marriages. Enjoy!
Musings on Marriage by Lisa Kaplin, Psy.D. CPC
A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. If you know us well, you may be saying to yourself, “It’s a miracle.” Honestly, you wouldn’t be too far off. Marriage certainly hasn’t been a straight path to “Happily ever after!” It’s taken a lot of work, an incredible support system, and more than a little bit of luck. Looking back on 25 years has led me to a few thoughts on relationships that I thought I’d share with all of you. I’d love to hear your input as well.
Not all relationships are meant to last. I’ve worked with enough clients and talked to enough friends to know that some relationships are better off ended. It’s incredibly painful and terrifying but moving on is the right thing to do. There are two things that I’ve noticed about people who have survived and thrived a break up or divorce; 1) They know that ending the relationship is for the best. They are ok with it, with themselves, and with their ex. 2) They take ownership for themselves and they move on with as little resentment as possible. They realize that holding on to bad feelings will only be bad for them and not their ex.
Relationships seem to go through three distinct stages: 1) the honeymoon stage. I don’t think I need to explain this one. 2) The “Is this really who I married?” stage. You know the one where you start to see his/her faults and you can’t believe you ignored all of those red flags and still walked down the aisle. And 3) the “I’m going to accept these faults or I’m going to go” stage. You realize the other person is unlikely to change so you decide to accept them as is or you decide to leave. If you can move through those stages a little faster than most of us, you may be at the acceptance stage prior to living in a senior center!
I don’t believe that love is enough to keep people together. This might sound unromantic or jaded but staying together requires a whole lot of communication, adapting to change, and acceptance at a level that most of us thought to be impossible. Both people in the relationship have to want to learn and grow together, not always at the same time, but at least periodically. Love is lovely but so are respect, friendship, kindness, disagreements, hardship, and intimacy.
I’m guessing that if my husband and I are lucky enough to make it to our 50th wedding anniversary, I will have completely different musings. So take these for what they are, simply thoughts from a flawed human in a flawed relationship trying to make the world a better place.
Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at Smart Women Inspired Lives. She helps women get happy, get motivated, and get moving in ways they hadn’t thought possible. Lisa is a professional speaker on topics such as stress management, parenting, healthy communication, wellness, and women’s leadership. She is also a blogger and has been featured on Yahoo, Thought Catalog, MSN, Lifetime Moms, Your Tango, and Psychology Today. Lisa is a married mother of three and a joyful dog owner. You can find her here.