Imagine that you’re preparing your husband’s favorite meal. He walks through the door at dinnertime and you greet him. Suddenly, and without any provocation at all, his mood changes. It’s as if a dark cloud has come over the room. Your mind starts racing back, you wonder what did you say, what did you do? This scenario plays out over and over again in some marriages and can diminish self-esteem, wear down emotional resource, and kill your soul.
Or maybe you’ve hit a wall in your marriage. You’ve been here several times before with your spouse, and you both feel at wits’ end. When marriages are untenable and there is nowhere else to go, in order to save your emotional and sometimes physical life, as well as secure the mental health and wellbeing of your children, sometimes the only place to go is “out.”
It is at this moment, when you decide to change your life, to advocate yourself and your children, that a visit to a counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist is warranted.
Positive Outcome of Divorce #1: Self-Reflection and Self-Healing
With professional guidance you can discover what affected your choice of a mate and to assure that you will never make that mistake again. This self-reflection and self-healing is one of the most positive outcomes of divorce. By doing inner work, you can recognize and acknowledge your own patterns that led you to a dysfunctional relationship in the first place. Then if you can integrate back into your psyche those early patterns from your family of origin you can redeem them and never have to repeat them again.
At this time of greatest trauma, your defenses are cracked open, and for the first time in a long time you are your natural self. This is the undefended healthy core of your existence, and it is from this place of your natural resource that you can heal, renew, and experience rebirth. By experiencing your authentic self, you will automatically build your self-esteem, depression will lift, and you are able to move into a happier and healthier lifestyle.
When you first fall in love, you may project onto the beloved your ideal: the best of who you are, those rose-colored glasses of your imagination. This is what we call a projection. However, by suppressing who you really are -- by going along to get along -- you are using up vital energy just to hold down your feelings.
You will still be compelled to move towards those old patterns that worked for you within your original family. However, because you are now conscious and aware, you will see red flags everywhere, and you have the opportunity, therefore, to override those impulses that compel you to move towards the wrong relationship and as a result make room for the right one. In essence, you’re changing a habit, and as you grow and break your old habits, you allow yourself the opportunity to experience a different relationship with a new spouse. It’s important to remember that we are different, with different people.
This is restoration, how you bring yourself back to your full potential -- the you that you were meant to be. A healthy partner is the one who carries the positive characteristics of our opposite sex parent, and that’s when second marriages can become fulfilling and mutual. Even your physical health can be restored.
Positive Outcome #2: Better Health
Now we know that telomeres, the little rings around your chromosomes that fall off as you age, also fall off when you are stressed. Miraculously, they can be restored through healthy lifestyle changes. Therefore, by releasing yourself from an unhealthy partnership, you not only can become healthier mentally and physically, but also add years to your life through happiness.
Positive Outcome #3: Self-Confidence and Empowerment
The first feeling you experience at the onset of divorce can be fear of the unknown. However, by moving into your fullest capacity, the real you, as I describe above, this will automatically rebuild your self-esteem, your sense of self, your capacity for intimacy, your creative energy, and allow you to take back the power you surrendered in a poor relationship. In my work as a researcher, educator, and human behavior expert, I’ve witnessed that poor marriages are often based on possessiveness, lack of intimacy, need for space and distance, and need for control.
Positive Outcome #4: Giving Your Children the Gift of Modeling Healthy Relationships
Finally, as difficult as the process of divorce can be on your children, it also allows them to watch you make human mistakes – and then grow from them. As you do your inner work and regain your true self, your children are watching, and they can learn the importance of valuing yourself. They also have the opportunity to learn how to properly behave and react should they find themselves in a similar situation down the road. And finally in the future, you can model, for your children, a true and healthy marriage.
The best relationships come out of strength, not weakness. When you are whole and know yourself, you will meet someone with whom you can be mutual. This is a marriage born of strength, not of lack. Once the negative and critical patterns of poor partnerships are released, you can expand into the undefended you. By rediscovering yourself, that inner you that you were before marriage, following your own rhythm of sleeping, being, staying home, and going out, you act on your own behalf and by so doing find your own authority is empowered. This returns a sense of control, allowing you to grieve the past, and embrace the future.