Dr. Patricia Love is a marriage and family therapist in Austin, TX and a charter faculty member of the Imago Institute for Relationship Therapy. She has co-authored three books, including the bestselling Hot Monogamy: Essential Steps to More Passionate, Intimate Lovemaking. For more information about Dr. Love – or her workshops, seminars, and books – visit her website at www.patlove.com or click here.
In this very personal column, Dr. Patricia Love shares her private and professional experience with divorce.
SINCE the last time my column appeared in Divorce Magazine I have been through the most difficult year of my life. If you had told me this time last year that I would be going through a divorce, I would have said "I’m sorry… you have me confused with someone else." And yet, here I stand. My heart has suffered; my health has suffered; my family and friends have suffered. I thought seriously about not continuing to write this column. So why did I?
I continue for the same reasons I’ve been writing here in this place for the past ten years. I continue because I want a happy marriage to be available to anyone who wants it, regardless of social or economic status. And I continue because I hope that my experience, as well as my research, can be of benefit to you and those you touch.
I have learned a lot in a year; some things I’ve learned from experience, other things I’ve learned from my study of relationships and divorce over the years. I want to share some of what I’ve learned with you.
Additional truths I have learned that are related to love:
As I said, I have learned a lot this year. I have learned that divorce is not the enemy of marriage; in fact divorce protects the integrity of marriage. Lack of accurate information is the enemy of marriage – and we are not through learning. Even research can be misleading because you cannot reduce marriage and divorce to one common denominator. Statistics predict for groups better than individuals and correlation does not equal cause. For example, statistically speaking, married people are fatter than single people. Does this mean that marriage makes you fat? Or is being fat a constraint that makes you stay married?
Do we have all the answers? No. There are still important areas for research and we all – even the "experts" – still have so much to learn about marriage and divorce.