Archive of ‘Divorce’ category

Can Valentine’s Day prevent divorce?

The other day I overheard a co-worker declare that he and his wife don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s stupid. When I challenged him and asked when was the last time he and his wife had couple time. Just the 2 of them, no kids, on a date. To which he couldn’t answer because it had been years.

40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce and the #1 reason those marriages fail is lack of communication.

By the time our kids got to an age where they had their own friends and didn’t really need us as much, a giant gap had formed between my husband and I. We had been filling that gap with our 3 kids for years. It’s easy to do.

We are parents. Kids take up a LOT of our energy and time. On top of that, many of us have jobs outside the home. By the time there’s time to breathe, you just want to go to sleep and recharge.

Where’s the time to go on dates or connect with your partner? Where’s the time to take care of the marriage that brought you those amazing kids?

After 16 years of marriage, we are divorced. We had arrived at a point where we really didn’t know each other anymore. We simply couldn’t operate outside of being parents.

For my next relationship, I vowed that we would have weekly date night. One night a week where there are no kids and no work. We can do anything we want. For the last 4 years, I am proud to say that every single Tuesday night is sacred date night. I call it “Hot Date Night”.

We cook dinner. Sometimes we go out for dinner. We have a couple glasses of wine. We talk. Sometimes we don’t talk. We watch TV. Sometimes we just sit together. Sometimes we just read or listen to music. And of course, sometimes we fool around, but not always.

We decided that we would put no expectations on the night. Date night doesn’t have to be anything special. It just simply is a habit that is critical to nourishing our relationship. It’s the one time that we focus on us in whatever way it feels right on that day.

I hear the reasons couples give for not taking the time to connect with their partners. I know those reasons because I had the same ones.

  • We have little kids and it’s impossible to get a babysitter
  • We can’t afford to go out for dinner
  • I’d rather stay home with my kids

Those reasons, with small children, I can’t deny. But I can also say truthfully, that as the years went by, I wanted a date night here and there. I found that those reasons became a safety net. “I’d rather stay home with the kids” meant I’d rather not go out and feel uncomfortable and worry about what we’ll talk about… and maybe even reveal that we’re no longer connected. 

The kids would be at an event, like the school offering to watch the kids for 3 hours… and we’d choose not to take the opportunity. It stung.

After a while, it’s easier to simply not try to connect. And sadly, for us, we separated.

Valentine’s Day may very well be stupid. You shouldn’t have to have a holiday to take your partner out on a date. But it’s still time together. So, if you need a reason to get out and reconnect, then use Valentine’s Day as an excuse.

Take the time, now, to schedule a date night. Maybe you can’t do every week. Can you do once a month? Once every 3 months?

Because it’s important.

Jen Thoden

5 Reasons Why I Love Being Divorced

I love being divorced!

Going through divorce wasn’t fun and coming to the decision to leave my marriage wasn’t a feel good moment. But when someone looks at me with their sad face and says, “I’m so sorry to hear about you and ____ getting divorced”, I say, “I gotta tell ya… being divorced is actually pretty great.”

Here’s five reasons why I love being divorced:

1. I actually have time to work on a relationship.

Isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest complaints about marriage is that a couple doesn’t get to spend any grownup time with their spouse? Their kids consume their world and the marriage takes a back seat. It’s so easy to tell a couple that it’s critical to find time to connect, but if you don’t find the time, you’ll wake up one day and wonder what you liked about that person. When you don’t find time to connect, requests go unheard and desires go unfulfilled; the magic “in-love” feeling fades away. This can very easily lead to unhappiness and then divorce.

date night
Image: George Eastman House via Flickr
Yet, as a divorcée, I have tons of time to work on my relationships. I am in a serious committed relationship now and we always leave Tuesday night open. We call it “Hot Date Night”. Even if there is nothing hot about it, it’s the one day a week that we don’t have our kids and we spend time together. We cook. We talk. We watch TV. We fool around. We sit quietly. We go out. We debate. We simply take the time to be together. No matter what.

My married friends are jealous. They wish they could have coveted date night. I don’t blame them. I wished it too when I was married. Here’s the thing, though. I believe that we COULD have had date night, even if it was only once a month. We simply didn’t. We had every excuse in the book: too tired; don’t feel like going out; it costs too much; or can’t find a babysitter. The list goes on and on. But what about the one important reason? To make time for each other?

Don’t wait until your divorced to discover how important it is to make time to connect.

2. I get to miss my kids.

As much as I miss my kids when they go to their Dad’s, it’s nice to miss them. The time we have together has become precious. My too-cool-for-school teens actually miss me and want to hang out with me. I’m not so sure it would be the same if I saw them all the time.

Image: Keoni Cabral via Flickr
I have a great relationship with my kids and I have fun with them. I look forward to hanging out with them. My son is 15 and still comes into my room in the evening just to sit next to me while I write. Maybe divorce has made them more clingy, I don’t know, but I like what I have with them now.

3. I don’t have to answer to anyone.

When I was married, I always felt like my actions were being judged. It doesn’t matter if this was true or not; it was true for me then. If I wanted to join a gym, I got the question “How much will that cost?” If I wanted to shop for a new bag, I’d hide the purchase so that I wouldn’t get scolded for spending too much.

I felt like a child. I never felt like I could do what I really wanted to do. It was always set by the standard of my ex-husband and whether or not it was worth it to him to spend the money.

credit cards
Image: Frankie Leon via Flickr
Now, I don’t answer to anyone except me. If I want to go shopping, I can. If I drop $500 on a bag, good for me! I always felt like my spouse didn’t trust me to make smart decisions. In fact, it’s one of the things he said to me when I announced that I wanted a divorce.

I am very capable. Maybe I needed to prove that to myself after the divorce, but I certainly don’t need to prove it to anyone else.

4. My happiness isn’t dependent on anyone but me.

This was always true but it took me being on my own to figure this out. It was never my ex-husband’s job to make me happy, just as it was never my job to make him happy. I think this expectation in a relationship can really drain all the energy out of it.

Our job in a relationship is to love, to respect and live in joy. Whenever your partner triggers you and you feel angry, disappointed, frustrated, or unhappy, remember that this is YOU feeling this way. Most of the time your partner does not know the story that is playing out in your head. Their perception is THEIR reality, just like your perception is YOUR reality.

So, if you are feeling unhappy because you think your partner doesn’t love you because he never brings you flowers like your friend’s husband brings her flowers, this is a story that you are telling yourself. You are choosing to feel unhappy about a result that may not even be true.

Image: Kiran Foster via Flickr
Your happiness is your responsibility. If you believe that flowers will make you happy, you’re wrong. Only YOU can make yourself happy. You can be a happy person and still not be happy with the relationship, but if you’re an unhappy person, that could be part of the poison.

I could go on and on about this topic. So, let me just say that if you can’t figure out how to make yourself happy in your current relationship, if you can’t figure out how to be happy alone, what makes you think you’ll be happy in the next relationship?

5. I got to reinvent myself.

I like myself a whole lot more than I used to. I finally feel I could be my true self, whatever that is. I was excited to figure it out; I’m still figuring it out. I dress better,I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, my self image is positive, I have confidence, and I am proud to work on myself daily.

I no longer read self help books in secret. I no longer hide the fact that I’m part of a life coaching program to improve health, wealth, and happiness. I share my passions openly and I don’t worry about what other people might think of me. If someone doesn’t like what I’m doing, that’s their problem.

Image: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr
I’m certainly not saying YOU should get divorced and I understand that there are serious considerations when children are involved. You gotta do what’s right for you.

For me, divorce was not an easy decision, but I felt it was necessary. I am a much happier person now, which makes me a better mother and a better partner.

So, before you offer your condolences to someone you know that tells you they’re divorced, consider that there’s nothing to be sorry for. It could be the best decision they ever made for themselves.