David sat across the table from me with tears in his eyes as he lamented of the things he had done. He regretted divorcing his wife after six years of marriage but now, Sheila his ex wife and their four year old son were gone. Sheila had relocated out of the country to ran away from the source of her pain and heartache. She loved David, she had always loved him since their high school days and the divorce was a shocker for her.
As David narrated his story, I felt his pain especially because he knew his mistakes very well but I was saddened knowing that it was too late for him. All the pain, the tears, the heartache and the ultimately, the divorce were a result of several things that David was not careful about. These are actually things that many people ignore or take for granted. Consider Emma and Steve, they were a great couple, loved each other deeply and walked everywhere hand in hand yet two years ago, they parted ways in a bitter divorce that caused Steve to even attempt suicide. What is common to these two couples and many others I have come across is the following three points. David nailed these for me when he said that looking back, there are three things he would have dealt with differently. These three things are:
1. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder – David confessed to having stopped beholding his wife’s beauty. He started noticing other ladies and their beauty and would then notice how his wife fell short of them. When she was expectant, he did not like how she had added weight and longed for the slim smashing beauty she used to be. He now regretted it, he had come to realize how selfish he had been and wished he would change it all. The beauty he had desired and chased in other ladies caused him to even end up in a number of affairs with women he did not even like let alone love. He regretted it all and was ashamed but the damage had been done. Every married man or woman for that matter need to remember the adage, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, you stop beholding, the beauty will fade”. Learn to appreciate your spouse, they might have grown bald, added weight or the skin has stopped being as smooth as it used to be but if you keep beholding them, their positive attributes, the friendship that you share and the love that brought you together, their beauty will not fade in your eyes.
2. Barriers form where they are entertained – With every quarrel, every argument and every disappointment, David had allowed barriers to crop in between him and his wife. Rather than open up and grow in intimacy, he had slowly drifted away and isolated himself until at some point the couple behaved like roommates. No meaningful conversation, no sexual intimacy and no emotional or physical connection. Even a handshake or hug became a rare thing for them. The divorce therefore happened long before they went their separate ways. David is pained to remember how they used to be good friends who would share everything but the little walls had started building until one time the wife had felt so rejected as though she was the ugliest and undesirable woman on the planet. I have come to learn that any married couple that wants to survive the pressures of life and have their relationship thrive should never kill sexual intimacy and connection regardless of what is going on. You can argue and all but don’t let that kill intimacy. Surprisingly, when sexual intimacy and romance are in the picture, barriers get destroyed easily and conflicts are easily resolved. Are you married? Try it out. Maybe you have not been intimate in a week, two weeks or even eight months like Sally and Frank, please go home and rediscover your romance. Bring down the barriers, get rid of the bitterness and don’t allow yesterday’s experiences to destroy your dreams of tomorrow. Remember, barriers will never form where they are barred.
3. Boredom creeps in when familiarity breeds contempt – David began taking his wife for granted within the first six months of their marriage. He would go out with the boys to watch a game or enjoy a sport and would leave her by herself in the house. Little by little, they got bored of each other and the excitement that was there when they were dating disappeared. It got so bad that they both got to the place where they loathed being in the company of each other. David wished he would have done things different. What if he had taken her out, had constantly worked on keeping the friendship and cultivating the love? what if he would have invested in a growing meaningful relationship? It is late for David but it is not late for you as you read this, you can change the game and begin to value your spouse, find fun things to do together and work on your relationship. You might even be early if you are not married, aim to love and cherish your partner when the time comes. Boredom builds an abode where it is welcomed and entertained and once it creeps in, it can kill even the best of relationships.
Don’t be like David, stop the divorce before it happens, learn the lessons and build that marriage. Let it thrive, don’t let it shrivel.
Are there other points you would add to these? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.