“Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard…..” -Devon Brough
I’ve seen a meme with this quote circulating on social media lately; I’m condensing it here for this article’s purposes. Not going to lie, something about this did NOT sit well with me when I saw it, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I did take notice that those who were sharing and posting it ever so proudly were those that are married. Go figure. After some self-reflection and thinking, I finally found the root of my discomfort with the message. Can I let y’all in on a little secret? *leans in* Nobody gets married with the intention of getting divorced—literally nobody. Okay….maybe there’s someone out there, but they are likely the exception, not the rule.
While everyone is proudly posting and championing how people need to “choose” their hard, I think there is an element to how this is worded that projects shame onto those who might have “chosen” the hard⏤divorce. Deciding to end my marriage was, by far, the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. It was also not one that I came to lightly. It came after a year of marriage counseling, countless self-help books on how I could be a “better” wife, journaling, prayer, reflection, etc. I fought hard for my marriage. I literally poured my all into it until I reached the point where I was losing sight of myself and felt I had nothing left to give.
So what was the alternative? “Choosing” to remain in a situation that I knew wasn’t good for me for a variety of reasons? As far as I’m concerned, remaining in the marriage would have been far easier than deciding to uproot my life completely and walk away from the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. Becoming complacent in my marriage would have been WAY easier. If the concept of divorce is one that seems unfathomable, great! Hold on to him sis! Truth be told, it was unfathomable to me too until the tide started to change.
Yes, marriage is hard work, but I truly believe you have to be in the marriage with someone who is WILLING and WANTING to do the work with you. Plain and simple.
The shame I experienced as a result of my marriage ending has ramifications today, almost four years later. The biggest trigger for the shame is the idea or perception that I “just walked away” from my marriage. I think that is why this quote struck me the way that it did. What does this say about how our society views those who are divorced? Are we just a bunch of people who “just didn’t try enough?” Did we “choose” the wrong hard? It is easy to pass judgment on a situation that you are far removed from and have never experienced.
To those in the midst of a divorce, or it’s still “fresh,” HANG. IN. THERE. It does get better.. Sit present with those feelings of shame so that you can understand what is at the root. Please don’t allow it to suffocate you. Process it. Journal it. Get a therapist if need be. You don’t owe ANYONE an explanation about your decision. Here’s my rule of thumb: As long as you’re doing what is most meaningful and honoring to you, it is ALWAYS the right thing to do. Be blessed!