Here’s a radical thought: Just because your marriage failed doesn’t mean it was a failure. Reframing the way you think about your divorce, can be a game-changer. First, however, experts say you may have to rethink how you think about marriage.
“Your marriage has one goal,” says, Hal Runkel, licensed marriage and family therapist, and registered conflict mediator in Atlanta, GA. “Marriage has evolved into a people-growing machine.”
According to a recent article on Thrive Global, Runkel and other experts contend that marriage — whether it lasts for five weeks or for 50 years —is an opportunity for personal growth. So even if your relationship doesn’t stand the test of time, you can consider it a “success” if you’ve grown personally.
When newly divorced, it may not be easy to determine how your marriage helped you become a better person, but with time, you may see lessons learned that could not have otherwise been realized. Here are three “wins” that can be counted as divorce successes:
Realizing what’s really important. Nothing solidifies your basic needs like being faced with adversity. After going through a divorce, you may have a greater appreciation for what you really want out of life. For example, if your ex-spouse didn’t hold the same value of family as you, you may walk away with renewed conviction that parenthood is non-negotiable in your next relationship.
Changing unhealthy habits. Living on your own — without accountability — you can maintain habits that are less than constructive. There’s nothing like cohabitation to shine a light on bad habits and destructive patterns. In fact, they may have contributed to the demise of your marriage. If so, divorce may give you the motivation to make some positive changes in your life, such as quitting smoking, embracing a healthy diet and exercise plan, or stepping away from workaholic tendencies. Note: Amending behaviors for yourself —not to please another person — is always more effective and healthy.
Considering the ends, not the means. Did your marriage prompt a positive geographic move or career change that you might not have made on your own? You literally might not be where you are today if not for taking those vows. Perhaps your “failed” relationship brought you to the exact place where you need to be in order to move forward with your new life.
There are many successes to be found when you shift perspective to find the good in what you once considered a negative event. Having a hard time finding that positive spin on your divorce? Create a daily gratitude list. Leave no gift overlooked. You may find that even if your marriage was not successful, your divorce can be.