The darkest moments in your life are when you learn the most important lessons. Change and loss are two of the most powerful teachers in life. It can happen when you go through an unanticipated change.
But certain things happen that are beyond your control. In those moments, you need to stop resisting the change and look at what you can learn from the experience.
These words could not be truer in the case of a separation or a divorce. No matter where you are in the stage of separating from your partner, this process can leave you feeling broken and vulnerable.
But once the dark cloud has cleared, you can open your eyes to the valuable lessons you learned.
Here are some of the lessons that you need to focus on, instead of dwelling on the hurt or being in denial.
Lesson 1: Happiness is a personal thing
When you enter into a marriage, you are taught to look at things conjugally. You share almost everything–material things or otherwise–with your spouse. As a result, a lot of married people associate their happiness with their spouse. When a divorce or separation happens, they feel like they are unable to become happy again.
But happiness should come from within you, not from your other half. The moment your spouse walks out the door, your ability to be happy should not walk out with them, too.
You have to decide that you can be happy on your own. Whether you choose to get married again or not, it is your choice. But you have to learn to find happiness within you first before you choose to share happiness with another again.
Lesson 2: Both parties must make it work
Marriage is a complex thing. It encompasses your lives, jobs, health, and other factors that directly or indirectly impact your marriage. That is why marriage should be a constant work in progress.
If one of you is unable to give their full commitment to making a marriage work, it won’t. It requires equal amounts of effort from both parties. As upsetting as it may be, you cannot take up the load that is supposed to be handled by your spouse.
This is an important lesson you should take with you before entering into a new relationship. The other person must be willing to give as much as they take from the relationship.
Lesson 3: You shouldn’t lose yourself to make your spouse happy
Divorce hurts. But what hurts the most is realizing that you lost your sense of personal identity in an effort to keep your spouse happy. A lot of married people are guilty of this.
But before moving on to a new relationship, this is an important realization you should make: You don’t have to lose yourself.
This relates to the number one lesson on this list. You need to be whole and happy on your own before you can be happy with your spouse. Make sure to use the time of separation from your spouse to find yourself and be whole again.
Lesson 4: Learn to value the present
Even when divorce hurts, it is important to learn how to appreciate the good things that you shared together. The more you focus on the positive, the sooner you can be happy again. One way to do that is to learn how to value the present.
Divorce teaches you to appreciate the value of the present. If you have children, use that time to be with them. If you don’t have children, spend time with your friends or family. During that time, be in the moment. Do not dwell on the divorce.
This is an important lesson to take with you no matter what your next step in life is. You have to realize that the divorce is behind you now.
You have to learn to appreciate what you have at the moment because it can be easily taken away from you.
Also watch: 7 Most Common Reasons for Divorce
Lesson 5: Learn to set boundaries
Marriage teachings will always emphasize the need for selflessness. You must be willing to sacrifice a part of who you are to keep your loved ones happy. You are taught to put your spouse’s welfare ahead of you. But you must also realize that there are certain boundaries to this.
You need to identify and set your personal boundaries.
As soon as the other person crosses that boundary, you need to reconsider. Is it worth your emotional and mental wellbeing? Is this what constitutes a happy marriage? If the answer is no, you need to learn to let go. If you keep holding on, it won’t do anyone any good, especially for the sake of your own health.
All forms of separation and divorce are painful, no matter what thecause of the separation may be. You entered into that marriage hoping to spend the rest of your life with each other, but life turned out to have other plans for you.
However, you cannot spend your entire life holding on to that pain. The sooner you can learn these lessons, the sooner you can get back on track in life. You can also use them as a tool to improve your other relationships in life, including that of yourself.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Lilly Parks is a Divorce Angel and part of the dynamic Naked Divorce team. She is committed to helping her clients find the path towards healing and has been providing assistance to those who are going through the difficult trauma of divorce for more than 5 years.