Divorce. It happens for tough reasons and it is one of the toughest things many people will go through. And really, choosing to share your life with someone is, in most cases, done out of pure love. Leaving that person hurts, no matter the reason for doing so.
Of course, no happily married couple would like to think of going through such tough times. Losing the love of your life is a separation that will invariably take a part of you away. However, things can get so bad, that sometimes divorce is a thing you have to go through.
We ask Gerald Rogers, a psychologist who went through such though a divorce, to share some beautiful advice every married couple needs to read. “After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I could have had…” he starts.
Although the post is originally intended for men, this message should go to both partners, as these are things that both partners need to nurture in their relationship – a relationship is a mutual thing.
NEVER STOP THE ROMANCE
Your relationship started with courting, dating, doing everything to show your loved one that you are the person who they need in your life. Why get lazy once you get married? The romance should continue, and remain permanent.
Don’t forget that when you made the vows, you promised each other that you would own each other’s hearts and fiercely protect them. As Rogers says, “This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with.”
If you can’t love yourself fully, it will be even harder to love your partner wholly. Rogers puts it beautifully when he says, “Love yourself fully, love the world openly.” But never forget that your heart holds a special place for your partner nobody should get even close to.
Keep that place reserved for that one person you share your life with, “ready to receive” and invite him/her in, “and refuse anyone or anything else enter there.” Loving yourself means you should never betray your heart and with that the love of your life.
FALL IN LOVE OVER AND OVER AGAIN
Change is the only constant. Your personality will change drastically in the years to come, and it’s natural. “You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today,” explains Rogers.
In that change, you will need to re-choose your love every day. Note that your partner isn’t obliged to stay with you at all costs – you should fight for their love and deserve it with every new day. If you don’t keep on winning your love’s heart back, you might eventually lose their love.
ALWAYS SEE THE BEST IN YOUR PARTNER
Nobody is perfect. Focusing on the best in your partner will only make those qualities grow and become even more beautiful. “If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love.”
The opposite will happen if you keep on focusing on what bugs you, and you can always find things like that. If you focus on this kind of thing, all you will see is reasons to be irritated.
“Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you will know without a doubt that you are the luckiest [person] on earth” to have such a partner for your spouse.
DON’T TRY TO CHANGE OR FIX HIM/HER
It’s not your job to do that. If you try to fix or change your partner, they will notice that you don’t love them for who they are. How would you feel if your partner wants to ‘fix’ you?
Your job is to love your partner the way they are, with no expectations of what they would or should become. If they change, love what they become, no matter if that’s what you wanted or not.
TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR YOUR OWN EMOTIONS
You should know that happiness is an attitude and that no partner can make you happy or sad. Your outlook on life will define what makes you happy or sad, and that same outlook will eventually start categorizing your partner’s behavior as one that ‘makes’ you happy or sad.
The truth is that, as Rogers puts it, “you are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that, your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.”
DON’T THROW THE BLAME ON YOUR PARTNER
If you get frustrated or angry at your partner, it’s only because it’s triggering something inside of YOU. These are your emotions, and thus your responsibility. The interesting thing about choosing your life partner is that they will be here to heal your past.
So, when you feel those feelings, “take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed,” says Rogers. “You were attracted to this [person] because [he/she] was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them.”
ALLOW YOUR PARTNER TO “JUST BE”
When your love is sad or upset, your job is to hold him/her and let them know it’s ok – it’s not your job to try to fix it. Everybody goes through such periods, and this is an internal process that requires their own reasoning and strength to go through it.
Your job as their life partner is to help them gather the strength they need. Don’t run away when he/she is upset. In fact, you need to let them know that you aren’t going anywhere and that you will be here to listen and give your supporting love and emotions.
Who told you that you must be serious all the time? That ‘grown-up’ trait is the key to monotony and dullness. Be silly, laugh, make your partner laugh. “Laughter makes everything else easier.”
FILL HIS/HER SOUL EVERY DAY
Learn what makes them feel loved and make sure you do those things every day. You are the one who can make those things, and nobody else can or should. Ergo, it should be your priority to make your partner feel like the center of your universe – every day.
Don’t give your partner only your time – give them your focus, attention, and your soul. Whatever you do during the day, when you are with your spouse, clear your head and be full with him/her.
BE WILLING TO TAKE HIS/HER SEXUALITY
Men, carry your woman away with your masculinity, “let her melt into her feminine softness, as she knows she can trust you fully.”
Women, be the gentle and soft presence in his life, as your gentleness and mild temper will encourage him to feel the way a man wants to feel next to a woman.
DON’T BE AN IDIOT
“And don’t be afraid of being one either.” Just as Robert explains, mistakes are natural, and you will make them. The thing is that you should try “not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make.”
“You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try not to be too stupid.”
GIVE HIM/HER SPACE
If you love someone, and they love you back, you will do everything for them. One of those things is giving your partner some space for themselves. You and your partner need your personal space to “renew and get re-centered,” especially after you have kids.
You can never have it all together, and you don’t have to. In fact, you should allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of your partner and acknowledge your mistakes.
Mutual trust is based on sharing everything, “especially those things you don’t want to share.” You need to fully open your heart and let the other person in, even if you’re unsure if they will like what they find there.
It does take courage, as we all have something we are afraid to show about ourselves. But if you feel like you’re wearing a mask around your partner, you will never experience love completely.
“Find common goals, dreams, and visions to work towards.” Otherwise, stagnation breeds destruction and entropy. Just as Rogers puts it, “The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool.”
DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONEY
Instead of fighting over the lack of money, you should work together to find ways to win it. “It never helps when teammates fight,” so figure some ways out to leverage each other’s strength to win.
FORGIVE – IMMEDIATELY
Instead of holding the grudge over trivial things, be aware that there is something greater than any of those silly quarrels that want to ruin it – it’s love. Focus on the future and don’t drag the weight of the past behind you.
“Forgiveness is freedom.” So, let go of the things that are already in the past, and focus on how to learn from that history and create a brighter future.
ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE
Whatever you do, do it out of love and for love. “This is the guiding principle through which all your choices are governed.” Whatever happens, know that you are together for a greater feeling, a stronger purpose than anything else combined. That feeling and purpose are love.
“Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.”