I usually don't care for the magnets at Whole Foods. The messages are typically 100 percent healthy and 0 percent funny, and that combination just doesn't resonate with me. The all-important snark-to-inspiration ratio is way off. I prefer magnets that say things like, "Mommy knows best. That's why she left Daddy," or "It's not who you marry that matters... it's who you divorce."
But yesterday as I was rushing through the aisles looking for the coffee filters, a magnet caught my eye. Here's what it said (with capitalization and punctuation generously supplied by me -- you're welcome):
"Never, never, never give up."
It stopped me in my tracks. I pulled it off the rack to take a closer look. And in tiny print below the quote, I saw the name of the person to whom the quote is attributed. Winston Churchill. I should have known.
Those of you who have heard me talk about divorce know that I'm a huge fan of another Winston Churchill quote. In fact, it's on the homepage of my website, and it goes like this:
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Those two sayings are about as helpful to divorcing women as any I've ever heard. Often, when you are going through a divorce, the road is so terrible that you feel you don't have it in you to take another step. But you have to, because if you stop, you'll only extend the amount of time you have to spend on that really crappy road. And sometimes when you are fighting for things that you know are really important to you and your kids, you get so worn out that you just want to give up. But you can't. Because giving up on your kids and yourself is simply not an option.
When I got home, I hopped online to see if there were any other Churchill quotes that applied to divorce. Turns out there are tons. Here's just one example:
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Wikipedia tells me that Churchill never experienced divorce, and that his marriage to Clementine (love that name, by the way) endured until she passed away in 1977. (And speaking of Clementine, the Wikipedia description of her early life is as tawdry as it is fascinating. Definitely worth the read.) And it wasn't just that they never got divorced, the Churchills appeared to be happily married. In fact, Churchill had this to say about it:
"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to persuade my wife to marry me."
With that attitude, it's no wonder his marriage lasted. Since Churchill didn't have any personal experience with divorce, I guess it was his experience battling Hitler that made him a savant when it comes to advice for getting through a difficult divorce. That makes total sense when you stop and think about it.
Here's to Winston Churchill. I always knew the world was better off because of his refusal to back down when it came to the Nazis. But what I didn't realize until yesterday was how much divorcing women in particular benefitted from the wisdom forged from his experience. So, in addition to everything else you know about Winston Churchill, you can add divorce advice guru to the list.
Oh -- and this probably goes without saying, but I went ahead and bought the magnet.