Mary’s identification with the role of a victim is only delaying real healing, causing her unnecessary suffering and possibly validating her bad choices, which will only complicate her life in the long run. Just because he, perhaps painfully, realized one day that your body does not excite him anymore or his desire is gone – does not change who you are, does not make you less attractive or make someone at fault. Inversely, the way he has come to feel now does not make him a monster. Even if Mary is right in thinking that she is well deserving of his affection, he can have another opinion and is entitled to his choice, no matter how much this pains her. After all, he can’t be required to sacrifice his life to be marooned in bed with a woman who does not make him happy for whatever quirky reason that might be.
The story, the mistakes, the promises, the “he said, she said” – none of this is important. We will need to let go of our own sob story, eventually, to get rid of it, to just drop it like an unnecessary burden.
“What will I say instead? How will I explain myself to people?” she might say. Well, when she is ready, this will become self evident. She most likely will not even talk about it from the get go; she will have other priorities. But if it comes about she will simply say with ease, “I am divorced.” No need to validate it. No narrative necessary. If the person persists and says “Oh no. What happened?” She may shrug her shoulders smile and say “Life happened” :)! This is real freedom and real victory because you are not ashamed anymore; you are not attached to the negative tag of the “divorcee” taboo. You are allowing yourself to be who you are – there is a real power in that!
Often times, it is really true that there are no guarantees in life, love, and marriage. Instead of “till death do we part” the marital vows should really say “until we are no longer happy and can’t put up with it.” This would be a far more realistic slogan. Why would a woman or a man sacrifice years of their life to raise children and support each other without such a guarantee? The only possible answer is because it meets our current goals at the time, and we decide that we want to have a family and children with this person, hoping for the most positive outcome: A great and loving partnership for life. But no one can be 100% certain, and no one is entitled to it. What do you think ? If marriage came with this type of warning, would people would do things much differently? Not really, because from how they feel at the time of marriage, they would not be able to foresee any trouble – only their future life together will tell.
Maybe, if no “Happily Ever After” guarantee were so rosily promised in marriage vows, people would be more careful when making huge sacrifices. How often does a woman sacrifice her career in order to build a family? If she knew that she would be left alone twenty years down the road, would she be so eager to make these sacrifices?
Making such sacrifices almost never pays off in the long run. The other party is never quite happy enough to justify the sacrifice you have made in the first place. The cost of giving up the opportunity of a lifetime, or of letting yourself get hopelessly out-of-shape, or losing your self-image entirely in favor of becoming only Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So, is rarely ever worth it.
If someone’s “Happily Ever After” is not guaranteed, and they do not begin their married life expecting absolutely security, perhaps they would have hedged their bets in the first place. Perhaps lived more fully in the moment, and not for some far-off reward. After all, should married couples see themselves as all that different from live-in girlfriends and boyfriends, who are only together to relish in each other and supposedly stay together solely out of pure love and free will? Certainly things get a lot more complicated in marriage, but the main reason for staying together should be the same in both cases. If we recognized the core principle of any relationship as giving and receiving love fully today without any guarantees, and commit to treasuring and treating each other better on daily basis – not taking each other for granted, as a lifelong sold-into-slavery piece of property – this approach would improve our odds in marriage!