As much as I discuss the subject of divorce because it is so personal to me, I love to be around happy, healthy couples!
When I am with some couples who I consider very happy it brings me joy. I love to see my friends happy and really fulfilled in their marriages. I know that they made great choices, commitments, sacrifices, and are ultimately thrilled with how their life has unfolded. I also know that they listened to their inner voices when making their choices, and chose wisely. I have seen them in joyous times, and in really hard times. They have weathered storms, as well as pain and sadness.
Staying married is incredibly challenging, and potentially incredibly rewarding. I love to see the power of love in action. I love to witness the beauty in commitment when times are really less than perfect. As much as I have a blast with my married friends I know that behind that laughter has been years of dedication and devotion to honor their commitments. I have huge respect for that!
My sisters are married to great men who adore them. I am so happy to see their marriages work for them. Family gatherings are a mix of singles, couples who are married, and who are not, some divorced. This is the modern day America. I respect all of us, and know that everyone's decision is their own. We cannot judge how or why if a marriage fails. I will always respect someone's need to leave, or stay. The critical aspect to remember is to be supportive.
I love for my kids to be around my friends and family who are happily married. They have had some turbulence and challenges at their age that I never faced, and by being surrounded by love, I hope they can rise above the difficult times.
What they have been blessed to witness is couples who have made it thus far and are happy. I think it provides them with hope and understanding that there are many paths to happiness and fulfillment. They can see for themselves couples who are genuinely happily together. There is a feeling, a passion, a bond, words, smiles, laughter - that is the truth. Kids can feel truth more than any of us. What they see is true love, not the fairy tale - my friends and family are way past that - the deep bond that keeps lovers together through thick and thin.
I have provided my kids with a glimpse into a different road, one not taken by me. I know they have benefitted from being exposed to the other side of marriage, and that makes me eternally grateful and blessed to have those happy, healthy couples surround me and my kids.
Navigating the Couples World
In my case, I was hopeful that my couple friends would remain close and welcome me into their world when I was first divorced. Married friends who are true to you will be empathetic of your situation and continue to surround you and include you and be there for you as you are going through the divorce process.
However, if you are unhappy, miserable or depressed after ending your own marriage, you may need some more time with your friends individually, rather than jumping into couples time. There were days when I felt when I could be around other couples, and other times when it was too difficult or painful being face to face with what I no longer had in my life.
Happily Married Couples
If you are part of a couple and have friends who are divorced or have lost a spouse, it's important to include them and be open to their feelings. If they say no, try again next time. As I always say to clients, you never know when you might be in their shoes. In other words, I ask them "If you were suddenly no longer part of a couple, for one reason or another, how would you hope your friends would show up for you?"