Divorce is almost always considered as one of the top five stressors in life, often times higher than death of a family member, and with good reason. Your marriage and your relationship were a big part of your goals, your dreams for your life. Divorce is the death of those dreams, the death of the happy two parent family that everyone seems to have. It is especially stressful when the person who used to bring you so much happiness, the person you chose to get married to, is now someone that actively and persistently brings you anger, pain and irritation. But there is always a silver lining to every cloud, and divorce is no exception. Here is the start of a list of reasons to be grateful to your ex-spouse, even if gratitude is not precisely what you are feeling at the moment:
- The marriage, at least in the latter years, made you feel miserable about yourself and your life. You now have another chance at being happy. Maybe that means that you will find someone new, and with your experience of a marriage that didn’t work, you have a better idea of what will work for you.
- Life lessons about love and marriage that you would never learned if it were not for the mistakes and experiences in your marriage about things that didn’t work. Divorce can be an opportunity for personal reflection and hope, and you can take those new insights forward into how your approach life, and into a new relationship
- If you have children, your ex-spouse gave you half of your children’s DNA. Despite the fact that it is often uncomfortable to deal with your ex-spouse, maybe really really uncomfortable because there is conflict in the form of arguing, one alternative to having that conflict is not having a child that you both care about and are invested in.
- Find one good thing about that person that he or she did for you during the marriage. Maybe that person brought you coffee in bed, so that you could wake up after being up during the night with a sick child. Finding one memory to remind yourself that your ex-spouse is not a complete monster helps in dealing with that person.
- You did have some period of time, hopefully years worth of time, that you were happy. Don’t let your current unhappiness take away your memories of happy times.
What’s on your list today?