Once upon a time, I was a happily married lady that would never, ever, in a million years get divorced. The D-word was not even in my vocabulary -- it wasn't even an option. Because only selfish people got divorced.
Isn't it funny how we get certain ideas in our heads sometimes about acceptable behavior? I've always been of the mindset that women should be "one and done" when it comes to domestic violence. If a man hits you in anger, you have every right to walk away, head held high. But without that, you need to stay put, because marriage is sacred.
In other words, I was a judgmental idiot that completely discounted the anguish a toxic relationship can place on a soul. I judged divorcees for not being strong enough to stay married, to keep it all together, to be the glue that bonded their families together. I did. I'm not proud of it now, and I didn't realize I was being prideful back then, and of course I tried to be kind and compassionate to those going through it, but somewhere in the dark corners of my heart, I thought to myself, "Thank God that will never be me."
Never let anyone tell you God doesn't have a sense of humor. Or that pride doesn't go before a fall.
So here I am, 31 years old, 2 kids, and an ex-husband. I'm a divorcee. A label I'm neither proud of nor offended by -- but one that is now part of who I am. And hopefully I've learned my lesson on judging others.
Here are five things I used to judge about divorcees (until I was one).
They were selfish. They put their own happiness first instead of having a sacrificial attitude toward keeping the family together. Now I know there's only so much you can sacrifice before every single day is a trial and you feel like you can't even function like a normal human being.
They were bad communicators. Everything can be worked out if you talk about it long enough, right? Wrong. When two people want very different things, it doesn't matter how much you tell the other person your perspective if they're unwilling to bend or compromise.
They were lazy. Relationships are hard work, and people that chose divorce over working out their issues just weren't willing to tough it out. Now I know that dissolving a marriage and dealing with the fallout of it all is hard work, and not for the faint of heart or weak-willed.
They didn't put their kids first. There have been countless studies done showing the benefit of being raised in a stable, two-parent home. Obviously people that chose divorce weren't doing the best they could for their kids. The fact of the matter is that every situation is unique and can't be summed up by some study. My ex and I are both better parents to our kids now, and they're doing great. It turns out that being raised in a home with near-constant tension isn't good for kids after all.
They didn't have faith. Faith in God, faith in themselves, faith that things will get better... didn't matter, they just didn't have faith. Maybe sometimes the true faith is trusting that things will turn out OK when you do the best you can. Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away from from a bad situation. It turns out that it takes a tremendous amount of faith to make a major life decision -- even divorce.
Image via David Goehring/Flickr