- Accepting that all people (even great people like you!) fail from time to time helps bring focus to relationship choices.
- Rather than stay in an unsatisfying marriage for the rest of your life, isn’t it better to admit you made a mistake, heal yourself, and move on?
- As humans, we are designed to fail, but thankfully, we are also designed to learn, adapt, and transform.
- Managing our sexuality intelligently means humbly embracing that we, as humans, can and do make mistakes.
If we're committed to “Managing our sexuality intelligently,” we have to be open to the possibility that (1) we might make mistakes and (2) intelligent people learn from their mistakes.
The Big Mistake
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is in the arena of mate selection, the most disastrous of which is marrying the wrong person. What makes someone the “wrong” person? Well, it could be anything. We thought they were kind (they are cruel); they were compatible (they don’t like dogs); or, maybe, we outgrew them (like that popular high school quarterback who, at 45 years old, continues to relive the glory days).
All People, Even Great People, Fail
When you think about it, accepting that all people (even great people like you!) fail from time to time helps bring focus to relationship choices. Knowing my mate can use divorce as an option to terminate our marriage serves to put me on notice. In other words, there are no guarantees, and if I do not live up to my end of the marriage by being a loving and supportive partner, I can lose the one I “love.”
Admitting We Made a Mistake
There are big obstacles to overcome in admitting we made a mistake, especially in marrying the wrong person. Some of these obstacles are so big that they can take years to overcome, but rather than stay in an unsatisfying marriage for the rest of your life, isn’t it better to admit you made a mistake, take the time you need to heal, and move on?
What’s the Hang Up?
I understand that divorce is difficult (I’ve been through it) and moving on is hard, but isn’t staying in an unsatisfying marriage, after you have tried all you could to remedy the situation, harder?
Some may have a hard time answering this question, so if you are lacking in clarity, it might help to review the following checklist to see if you are, in fact, living in a consensually miserable relationship:
- Biggest problem—really big—is your ego and conceit that you know what you're doing and you're no idiot. The ego has a hard time admitting to anyone, including yourself, that you should have seen that one coming. In an effort to stretch it out you tell yourself things like, It's not so bad or He'll grow out of that once the baby comes or She just needs more love. For many of us, failure would be easier to admit if our friends and family weren't looking over our shoulder at our train wreck of a relationship. Can't you just hear the harping and "I told you so"'s? OK, you could wait until everyone in your life dies so they won't be around to give you a hard time. This could work; however, while some say, “Life is short,” it seems awfully long when one is miserable every…single…day.
- You are stuck financially. Our first obligation as adults is to care for ourselves. If you can't do that, you're going to be stuck at the kids table until you can. You neglected your career, you have no skills, and you're dependent on your spouse (I've seen it with men and women). Or you're someone who has the hot career, but you subscribe to the "It's cheaper to keep her" philosophy. In terms of managing sexuality intelligently, you've failed by backing yourself into a financial dependency on someone you don't want to be with. You stay married—unhappily. Then the affairs start, perhaps on both sides. During the slide into dishonor ask yourself, "Wouldn't it have been better to take the financial hit and move on?"
- God told someone to tell you that divorce is a sin. In all likelihood it was someone you believed in. So if you're thinking about a divorce, you're likely going to hell! The admonition to remain steadfastly married is simple: It's all about obedience and the undying belief that your religion is more important than you are. News flash: Your religion isn't there to serve you, No, you are there to serve it. A common example: Your previous spouse died and you remarry a “great” guy, who eventually shows himself to be an abusive stepfather. He beats your children, demeans them emotionally in his remarks, and glares at you when you try to intervene. You're confused because you don’t "believe in" divorce, but you don’t believe in abusing kids either. So what to do if your pastor or pew mates believe God doesn't want you to get a divorce and that you should stay miserable and in a marriage with the man who makes sure your children are miserable and will need therapy for the rest of their lives, because it's all part of God's plan? Teaching humility is also a part of God's plan for your life, in which case, admit it, get a divorce, and move on.
Embrace Some Humility
To manage sexuality intelligently, we'd be well served to embrace some humility. People make mistakes in all facets of life: financial, career, health. As humans, we are designed to fail, but thankfully, we are also designed to learn, adapt, and transform. When it comes to marriage, divorce can be costly on a variety of levels. But consider how costly it is to be unhappy or see your children abused or realize your religion teaches you that it is more important than the humans it was meant to serve.
Thank God for Divorce
Managing our sexuality intelligently means humbly embracing that we, as humans, can and do make mistakes. It also means that, sometimes, there's no amount of therapy that can fix your problem. Thank God there's a remedy for marital mistakes, and it's called divorce.