I don't wish divorce on anyone. It's definitely a sad and hard situation to go through, and it's super hard for everyone who is involved. But who would have thought that a failed relationship could teach you things about love that a successful one never could? Well, it definitely does. My parents got divorced when I was young, and as I got older and began to understand what happened, I was able to gain valuable lessons from the situation. It was not ideal, and if I could go back in time I would not want my parent's relationship to fall apart like it did. But because of what happened, I am able to gain a perspective on love that I would not have been able to otherwise - lessons that can only be taught through a failed relationship. Here are 15 lessons I learned about love thanks to my parents' divorce.
15 Marriage Doesn't Mean Perfection
When you think of marriage, you probably think of love and happiness and the joy of coming home to the person you've decided to spend the rest of your life with. But I learned from my parents' divorce that a marriage does not mean your relationship is going to be perfect. In fact, more so than not it means it's going to be really hard. Often times the beginning stages of marriage are joyous and everything seems to be perfect, but it is important to be realistic. That isn't going to last. And if you realize that now, then it won't come as such a shock when the high of love and marriage dies down. Now, is every marriage going to end in divorce? No, of course not. But just because you love a person and decide to get married does not mean everything is going to be butterflies and rainbows forever.
14 Both People Need To Work Hard
In order for love to work and to last, both people in the relationship have to put in the hard word it takes to sustain a healthy, lasting relationship -- one that is full of love. Before my parents actually filed for their divorce, my mom was willing to do everything she could to make the marriage work. She offered to get marriage counseling, she wanted to attend more religious events, she tried to communicate with my dad and find out what would work best for both of them. But he wanted nothing to do with it. She was putting in 110 percent and he was putting in zero. Because of this, their love and their marriage could not last. This helped me realize that relationships require equal effort and that love means each person giving it their all, through the good times and especially through the bad.
13 Don't Ignore Red Flags
Once I was a little older, my mom explained to me that all the signs were there telling her she shouldn't marry my dad but she did anyway. Even during the beginning stages of their relationship he had lied to her multiple times and done some noteworthy things. All the red flags were there, but my mom was in love so she decided to ignore them with the hopes that everything would work out okay. It didn't. And because of that, I have learned to always look out for red flags and to not ignore them once they become known. Love has a way of blinding you from the bad and keep you focused on the good. Of course, nobody is perfect, and you do want to focus on the strengths in the relationship, but you also don't want to compromise or get yourself into a situation that could have easily been avoided. My parent's divorce taught me that love will try to make you ignore red flags, but you need to pay attention to them and make your decisions based on them.
12 Know Your Limits
Even when you are in love, you need to know when enough is enough. You need to set clear boundaries for yourself and not let anyone step over them. My mom put up with a lot as her relationship slowly slipped away from her and things eventually ended in divorce. She had to deal with my dad screaming at her and calling her terrible names. She had to deal with him moving in and out of the house constantly. She had to put up with his bad habits. And she did so for quite some time as she was trying to make the relationship work. But no matter how much she loved my dad, she also knew her limits, and she knew when to say enough is enough and decide to stop trying. She had her boundaries in place, and in order to protect herself, she did not stray from them or let anyone step over them. This taught me that you can, and should, have boundaries in your relationship with the person you love because even love can try to hurt you sometimes.
11 "I'm Sorry" Isn't Enough
"I'm sorry" can definitely be the first step in owning up to a mistake. But the next step is taking actions to fix the wrong and not do it again. "I'm sorry" is only good enough when the action then stops and doesn't happen again. My parents' divorce taught me that sustained change is what really matters, no matter how many times someone says sorry. When you love someone, you want to forgive them right away so you can get back to a happy relationship. But you have to be strong, especially when it comes to the person you love. If you are constantly hearing them apologizing but doing nothing to turn their actions around, then, unfortunately, that apology is not good enough. Yes, the person you are in a relationship with is going to hurt you at some point - that is almost guaranteed. And if they say they're sorry and get their act together, then definitely accept it. But my parent's divorce taught me that even if you love someone, a simple "I'm sorry" is not enough to maintain a healthy relationship.
10 You're Still Worthy Of Love
Every time I had my heart broken, I wondered what I did wrong and think about all the reasons I wasn't good enough. I always assumed I was a terrible person and not worthy of love. And that's just from a failed relationship with a guy I wasn't even in love with. My parents' divorce showed me that even if a marriage doesn't work, you are still worthy of love. A lot of times it doesn't even have to do with you but with the other person - their wants and needs and willingness to make a relationship work. Too many times we let love and failed love at that, define who we are and make us believe things about ourselves that are not true. My mom's resiliency after her divorce and her ability to take responsibility for what she did wrong and not for my dad's shortcomings taught me how much power there is in knowing who you are and that you are not defined by failure but how you get back up after being knocked down.
9 You're Not A Failure
Sometimes love definitely takes over our lives and makes us believe that a failed relationship means we failed at life. We think we'll never, ever be happy again, our life is totally ruined, and we might as well just give up. My parents' divorce showed me that is anything but true. A failed relationship means a chance to start over new and fresh - to try new things you would never have and to accomplish dreams you have always had in your heart. Love is a beautiful part of life, but it is not life itself. And that is important to remember. Relationships come and go, and love comes and goes, but that doesn't mean your life has to shatter when it does. If you take some of the energy and efforts you put into love and relationships and you focus it on your life, you will realize love is great, but there are so many wonderful things out there as well.
8 Focus On The Good But Prepare For The Bad
When you fall in love with someone, you don't want to have to think about the bad things that could happen. When you marry someone, you don't want to have to worry about the possibility of getting a divorce. When you are in love you want to be in love. Their divorce taught me that even though you shouldn't be focused on all the negative things that could happen to the one you love, you do need to be prepared for it. When my parents got a divorce, my mom wasn't prepared for it. She had been relying on my dad for financial security, so when he left, she was left with nothing. She never thought something like this would happen to her relationship. But it did. And it showed me that it is important to understand that bad things can happen even if you are madly in love with someone. Don't spend your every moment worrying about them, focus on the good, but also don't be naïve.
7 Sometimes Love Isn't Enough
I know I like to think that love conquers all and that no matter what comes against two people if they are in love they will be able to overcome it. My parents' divorce taught me that isn't true. Love is a great place to start, and it definitely helps, but there has to be more than just that. There has to be a willingness to compromise and an ability to put the other person above yourself and respect who they are and their wishes. There has to be a desire to have a successful relationship filled with good communication and trust. My mom loved my dad enough to fight for the relationship. My dad loved my mom but not enough to stop doing some of the horrible things that were breaking their relationship apart. Yes, it is a beautiful thing to think that love is all you need, but a relationship takes so much more than just that.
6 Your Broken Heart Won't Always Be Broken
Time and space are the magic keys to healing all heartbreak... even the worst kind, which is having your heart broken by the person you love and committed to spending your life with. When love is taken from us, when trust is broken and promises are not kept, it hurts. Bad. There is no denying that. But no matter how bad the situation is, a broken heart can be mended. It just takes time. My parents' divorce taught me that a broken heart does not last forever. You will stop crying. You will stop being angry. You will be able to move on. It doesn't happen within a day or a week, and it may even take years for you to completely be ok. But no matter how strong of a love was taken from you, it will be ok. You will be ok.
5 You Will Always Love Them
This divorce was definitely ugly, and you would think that after everything my dad put my mom through, she wouldn't have it in her heart to still love them. But she does. Love is a strong force, and once you have truly fallen in love with somebody that feeling doesn't just go away, no matter how heartbreaking the situation may be. It also taught me that even though you do still love someone and care about them deeply, it doesn't mean they need to continue to be a part of your life. My mom loves her ex-husband and cares about him from afar. She would never get back together with him because the wounds are too deep, but she would also never wish a bad thing upon him. My parent's divorce taught me what true love really looks like.
4 You Shouldn't Be Afraid Of Love
Even after having a broken heart or experiencing a terrible divorce, you should never close your heart off from love because you never know what amazing thing is waiting for you just around the corner. And don't close your heart off from your friends and family who want to give you their love unconditionally. After my parents got divorced, it would have been easy for my mom's heart to get hard, but it didn't. She opened her arms to all those around her who wanted to give to her and support her. And she loved them well in return. She didn't isolate herself from people or start treating others poorly because she had been treated badly. Using your heartbreak to give love to others and receive love from others will keep your heart soft. Sometimes bad things happen, but that doesn't mean you should give up on love.
3 You Are Stronger Than You Think
They say that love makes you weak at the knees, but I say that love makes you realize you are stronger than you ever thought you were. It is hard to love someone because when you do it means you are giving them a part of who you are. You are trusting them with a piece of your heart, hoping they will hold it safely and treat it well. It takes a strong person to fall in love and make love last. And it takes an even stronger person to not let love break you when it fails. My parents' divorce taught me that love shows you how strong you really are and how much strength you have. Only powerful people have the ability to love well and to do so no matter how many times love is taken away.
2 You Have Lots Of Love In Your Life
A lot of times when we think of love, we think of our boyfriend or husband or our latest crush. But when my mom and dad split up, it taught me that there are so many other types of love and having those is what helps you get through the hard times when your romantic love breaks your heart. Friends give a type of love and support that is unique to them. So does family. Investing your time, energy, and love into those relationships will fill you up more than you can imagine. They are the ones who are always going to be there to love you and support you. Just when you thought that love has failed you, your friends and family come in to save the day and to show you that love comes in all shapes and sizes from all different types of people in your life. You just have to be open to it. Love can hurt you, but it is also what can heal you. Be open to receiving love from other people. Even if it doesn't look like you want it to or isn't coming from the person you want it to come from, love is there.
1 Every Curse Is A Blessing
When my parents divorced, it honestly showed me that even those horrible things that happen to us in (like losing the love of your life to another woman or giving everything you have to someone only to have them let you down) are actually blessings in disguise. Once you get past the heartbreak and the weeks of crying, you will realize that all those bad things were preparing you for the good things to come. It sounds cheesy, but if you were still with that guy who broke your heart, you wouldn't be available for the great guy who is going to love you forever. And don't worry, he will come around. Everything happens for a reason. Love takes time, but even that happens for a reason. Heartbreaks are a blessing because they are giving you the opportunity to love and be loved by the right person.