When Shakespeare originally asked the “To Be or Not To Be” question, he most likely didn’t have the subject of divorce on his mind. Sadly, it’s a question that we think about a lot more in this generation.
As a divorce recovery coach, I know the heartache of divorce all too well — the sleepless nights and yet the desire to not get out of bed in the morning, the confusion, the emptiness, the anger, the sense of betrayal, and the plethora of unanswered questions.
So, if it is at all possible for a couple to avoid the big “D”, I am all for it, which is why I am also a divorce prevention coach. If I can help you avoid the pitfalls and mistakes I made in my relationship, which ended in divorce, that’s always the first choice. If not, I can be there to help put the pieces back together. So, the question becomes where are you in the process?
If you are “on the fence”, perhaps I can help you view it from a different angle.
The Problem of Selfishness
Long before I even considered divorce as a possibility, my problem already had developed deep roots in my heart. You see, I suffered with the problem of selfishness. One of the traits of selfishness is self-deception. I deceived myself into believing that it was my husband’s job to make me happy and meet all my needs.
Now, we normally don’t say that to ourselves on a conscious level; it usually resides down deep in our belief system, on a subconscious level. This is where expectations are born. For example, I expect my spouse to know how to make me feel better when I am down; I expect my spouse to know what to say when my mom is being mean to me; I expect my spouse to bring me soup when I am sick.
What we don’t realize at the time is that expectations have a way from turning desires into demands. It’s natural to DESIRE your spouse to be there for you when you are down. It only becomes dangerous when your desire subtly shifts into a DEMAND. “You must be there for me when I need you to be there for me, how I need you to be there for me, and in the way I need you to be there for me.” And when our spouse is not able to meet our needs exactly the way we need them to – disappointment takes root. When enough disappointment builds up, resentment takes over. Eventually, when resentment permeates our soul, the door to our heart slams shut to our spouse.
As most women can attest, when our heart closes, it can sometimes take a crow bar to open it back up. When I closed my heart, it was for the purpose of protecting myself from hurt and disappointment (probably like most of us).
Once my heart was securely shut down, it was an easy transition to become selfish. The focus was no longer on how to give, but entirely on what I wasn’t getting. Here’s the kicker – when your focus is almost exclusively on the negatives, shortcomings and failures of your spouse, you get MORE of it. If you are a believer in the Law of Attraction (the universal law that says what you focus on is what you will attract), then you know this is true.
I focused on how he didn’t say this right and how he didn’t do that right. Without realizing it, I found ways where he could almost never win with me. A valuable lesson I’ve learned since then is that when a man no longer believes he can make his partner happy or “light them up”, he will be gone emotionally, if not physically. Sadly, it would have never occurred to me that I could have appreciated and acknowledged every attempt, effort, word, and deed to try to be there for me. Thus, by recognizing the beautiful intentions, I could make him feel WAS winning with me, and it didn’t have to be executed perfectly.
As I spiraled down, I lost sight of the fact that real love is more concerned about giving, not getting. I forgot that love gives because that is its nature. I didn’t remember that love doesn’t keep score. Love doesn’t give and then turns around and says, “What will you give me in return, because you now owe me?” I never knew that you could give love and still get to feel the beauty of that love, even if it isn’t recognized by its recipient.
I’ll never forget Tony Robbins, my mentor, saying that if you give now what you gave in the beginning of your relationship, you will have the love and passion you had in the beginning.
If you are not, what have you withdrawn from the relationship?
Shan White, a certified life coach, specializes in working with women in preventing or recovering from the heartache of divorce.