So far this year I have been to five weddings. Beauty abounded at each. Satin dresses, memorable music, and awe inspiring settings that included mountains, a cathedral, and a spectacular lake view. My favorite moments were the exchange of vows written by the bride and groom themselves.
As I listened, my heart swelled seeing two people have a moment in time when they clearly saw the best of the person who stood before them. Often the overwhelm of their emotion threatened to prevent the words from making it out of their throat, such was the depth of feelings about their beloved.
Each, in turn, made pledges of their intention to be a loving spouse for a lifetime. There was simply no doubt about their sincerity.
I have witnessed the divorce of many couples whose wedding vows I saw made with the same intensity as these young couples. The reasons for the demise of the marriages ranged from addiction and abuse to growing in new directions and discovering they can no longer be their best within the relationship.
When the divorce process is underway, couples often can no longer see those qualities that they saw in their spouse when they were in love. Sometimes it is because they no longer have evidence of the kindness, joy, or hard work ethic they once admired so greatly. Sometimes it is because they stopped looking deeply enough to recognize that those same traits endured.
What would it be like to go through a divorce—whether by your choice or not—while seeing the best in your spouse?
More than one thing can be true. I can see that you are a loving parent, but no longer be willing to live with your infidelity. I can see that you have a terrific sense of humor, but choose not to live with your financial irresponsibility. I can see that you seek a divorce I do not want, but appreciate that you are committed to supporting our children.
It is normal for married couples to have criticisms about their spouses, whether they be petty or significant. We can be confident this does not lessen during a divorce. Nevertheless, the capacity to continue to see what you appreciate about your spouse can make the journey of divorce easier.
You may not get choked up with emotion at thinking about how wonderful your soon-to-be ex is, but you might notice yourself feeling a little better when you recognize that some of what once endeared you to this person still remains. Whether or not you can see the best in them, be the best of who you are and give it a try.