I have never met a single person who wants a divorce. No one. Nobody. Nada. Zero. They are not out there. They don’t exist. And I’d be willing to bet that this applies to you too.
It doesn’t matter how empty our marriage is, or was - it’s never about divorce.
It is irrelevant how loveless or passionless our marriage might be - it’s never about divorce.
Having guided countless of people to and through marriage, what I have come to realize is that divorce is far less about the ending of the marriage and far more about the quest for intimacy.
And if it isn’t, it should be!
Here’s what I mean. Think back to a time when you and your spouse were dating. It was about love. It was about growing closer and so, to take it to the next level, you got engaged. That was the pathway to go deeper in your relationship and move further down the road of intimacy.
Intimacy - to know another fully and to be known completely.
Intimacy - to be wholly understood, entirely loved and thoroughly received.
Intimacy - in the words Wayne Dyer, is simply, “into me see,” - to see and be seen.
And who doesn’t want to to see and be seen? That is why we marry.
It isn’t for tax advantages, or health care benefits, or registering at a sporting good store for a lifetime supply of camping gear (my wife is still pissed about that one) as awesome as those things might be. Marriage simply provides us the next steps along the pathway to intimacy.
And sometimes, so does divorce.
Often there comes a point when we can no longer “see” our spouse and we are simply too far away to even hope to be seen. Now, the marriage not only fails to provide intimacy, but ironically is the very obstacle in experiencing it at all. Of course we are angry, resentful, furious and a whole other host of dark emotions. To truly be seen is the greatest gift we can ever be given and to stop being seen is among the most painful wounds we will ever know.
But here is the challenge, often as we are journeying down the highway of life, we take our eyes off the intimacy road and get caught rubbernecking, staring at the crashite of what has caused us so much pain. That anger, hurt and resentment are compelling and cause us to lose our focus. It’s understandable and it’s natural. However, it’s not effective and will probably cause us to crash, again.
Think of it this way. When we are focused on the divorce we are focused on what we don’t want anymore, what isn’t working in our life and where we’ve come from, not where we are going. It is the equivalent of driving our car forward while looking into the rearview mirror. Perhaps we can do it for a while, however, it ain’t much fun, probably not gonna get us to where we want to go and most likely it’s setting us up for another crash and burn.
In NASCAR driving school the first thing students are taught is that when they are about to crash, their natural reaction will be to stare at the impending crash site. They are then taught to force themselves to stop staring at the wall and start looking in the direction they want to go, to place their eyes back on the road. That is how one not only averts a crash, that is how they will win the race.
The same is true for us as we get back into the race of life during ,or after, a divorce.
We need to turn our head away from the crash site. We need to give up on driving forward using the rearview mirror and commit to looking through the windshield ahead. We need to place our gaze back on the road to where we are going. We need to remember that this was never about the marriage, and now it is not about the divorce. It was always and will always be about our quest for intimacy. And with our eyes open, our gaze straight ahead and our attention placed back on the road, we will see and we will be seen, once again.
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