To so many people, divorce is a dirty word. It is one of those black marks, those trappings of failure that haunt us. Yet, one in two marriages – that’s 50% of all unions – in the United States ends in divorce. If the dreaded “D” word is such a mark of failure, at least those who do “fail” at marriage are in good company.
However, there are times when divorce is really not such a bad idea. And these times are not limited to marriages without children or ones suffering from abuse. In fact, when viewed from the right vantage point, divorce is actually a boon to many people’s lives. In fact, divorce can be a literal and figurative lifesaver with the potential to rescue each person trapped within a relationship from themselves and each other. Let’s take a look at how (and why) divorce, or at least the prospect of divorce, can actually be of benefit.
The Dangers of Stagnation
While it’s dangerous to look at relationship in the same way as we look at business, there are some important parallels that provide some insight. Inertia in business occurs when, instead of moving forward and innovating, businesses continue to do the same thing in the same way. After a while, this inertia becomes stagnation, a state in which moving has no longer even become work. Slowly, the business dies as new and exciting products and solutions enter the market.
The best cure for inertia is something called creative destruction, a process or reinvention which, though disruptive, results in fresh thinking. When executed properly, the reorganization breathes new life into the business and spawns the innovation that the market craves.
Relationships, and indeed people’s lives, are similarly constantly threatened by inertia. In this way, divorce can act as a form of creative destruction for an individual. It is not odd to find that, once divorced, one or both parties achieve more alone than they ever could have together. This is not because success and marriage are mutually exclusive, but rather because the effects of creative destruction have the power to alter a career or life path in the same positive ways in relationships as in the marketplace.
The Children Do Not Always Suffer
There has been a lot of research, talk, and ink spilled about the effects of divorce on children. When it first became widespread in the 1970s, the consensus was almost always that the effects of divorce were devastating. However, as the reasons for divorce in the 1980s and 1990s became more about self-actualization and growth (see above), many parents who entered the process actually found that their bonds with their children prospered as a result.
The reasons for this are two-fold. Not only is it healthier for children to be in a home (or two homes) without fighting and tension, the dissolution of a marriage often brings parents more prominently to the fore. Parents, when alone with their children, are forced to be more attentive. In addition, the experience of creative destruction has positive effects on more than just the CEO of a company, but its employees as well who are reorganized and redistributed, and often able to achieve more in the new environment. So it goes with parents and children. [Related: How to Shelter Your Children During a Divorce]
Divorce Can Actually Improve Your Health
Do you and your spouse fight all the time? Or, are you living in a state of conscious avoidance? In the months and years leading up to divorce it is common for couples to fall into unhealthy relationship patterns that cause stress and tension both when together and when separate. This state of stress raises a hormone called cortisol which triggers negative health effects ranging from high blood pressure and anxiety to addictive behaviors. Eliminating the source of your stress is one method for managing it and, ultimately, gaining your life and health back as a result.
Divorce Reaffirms the Natural Cycle of Life
One, final way that divorce can actually benefit you is by reaffirming important truths about life and its cycles. As adults, we all inherently understand that the idea of “happily ever after” is bogus, but divorce cements this reality in our minds and helps us to see the cycles of life from a more pragmatic and healthy perspective. Remember, everything is cyclical. That means it has a beginning and an end. Relationships are no different. Sometimes that end is the result of death. However, far more often, it is the result of life. [Related: What to Do When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce]
People change over time. Often, the change is subtle, but it is no less significant and difficult to manage. Quiet desperation or depression over these changes is not healthy, whereas a parting of ways, a mutual understanding and acceptance of that change, benefits all parties involved.
In the end, the choice is yours and it is an entirely personal one. While divorce should never been seen as a first option (it is far too costly in more ways than one) there are times when it is the best option. The key is figuring out when those times occur.
Going through this life-changing event can be really challenging, but you don’t really have to go through it alone. Get the courage to get in touch with me and I’ll gladly accompany you in this journey.