Changing to Avoid Divorce
Traditional expectations about marriage developed at a time when people lived about half as long as they do now. The hardships people endured merely to survive made going it alone unthinkable for many. The lifetime marriage commitment ought to be made subject to the qualification that a human life is too precious to be wasted because of a vow made many years ago.
Endless opportunities for self-evaluation and development may work against lengthy marriages. Two unique individuals who fit hand-in-glove years ago may find they have grown at different rates since the time they were well suited and compatible. As a result of different growth curves, they have been growing apart for years.
Mike and Tara were the perfect couple. They were married ten years, had three wonderful children and a beautiful home. Mike’s business was prospering. Tara quit her job when they married to devote herself to the home and children. Mike worked long hours to build his firm into a multimillion-dollar import-export business. They looked better than ever together; however, something had become very wrong.
Tara grew in ways different than Mike. She was involved in everything the children did, coaching two of the teams on which they played. She decorated the home and saw it was properly maintained and improved. Tara had a new lifestyle and interests.
Mike still worked long hours, but what he did was different also. He traveled weekly to attend meetings concerning existing business or to woo new clients. These trips were often for two or three days. He lived in a world of high lifestyles and unlimited expense accounts. His evenings were usually spent with the same sophisticated achievers who talked his language.
Tara and Mike now existed in two different worlds. It was a shame, everyone said, when they started their divorce proceeding. Now, several years later, Mike has someone new in his life who understands his world. Tara has remarried and is happier than ever. Unfortunately, the children are drifting away from Mike who really loves them, but cannot give up the lifestyle that consumes all his time.
Don’t wait to salvage the rest of your life. Act quickly: you may be able to save your marriage. If it is too late, then start taking care of yourself. Build your network as urged in Chapter Two, then follow Chapter Three’s advice: Create your plan, Think carefully and then take a Step.
Change is usually difficult and sometimes strongly resisted. The real problem exists for the person who doesn’t want change. Perhaps you can’t accept the reality that your marriage is over. Your partner isn’t interested in a dead relationship. He or she has changed and is ready to move on, while you are sure you can fix whatever is wrongówith a little more effort. You’re the only one putting anything into the relationship by now. One person can’t keep it afloat. Acknowledge what has become obvious to all around you. You can also benefit from counseling and support.