Why I Got Divorced – Broken People, Broken Marriages

0 Posted by - February 2, 2011 - Guest Socks, Relationships, Love & Marriage, Why I Got Married

WORDS BY LYNDON JONES

There was a time where if a man or a woman committed to something, it was going to be seen through to the end with diligence. It didn’t matter how they felt. Back then, a man’s word was everything, and for them, marriage was no different. It didn’t matter if a husband cheated or if there was speculation about a child’s likeness to their father. Marriage was the ultimate show of selflessness. Marriage and commitment were synonymous, and the cornerstone of our progression. Love was labor and labor was love. Although I have an appreciation for the strength and perseverance of our ancestors, during and after my short marriage of four years, I realized that there was something very important that my elders could not relay to me properly.

Missing Peace.

My wife and I had a nice home, cars, and both of us were gainfully employed. She was loyal. We even communicated our wants and needs fairly well. Still, I knew that I wasn’t happy. I had no clue about what to do other than to seek happiness elsewhere. I was an adulterer with no remorse. She was a wife scorned. There was a missing peace, which eventually led to our divorce. It was very civil. There were no hard feelings, only questions. Questions that I was determined to find the answers to, and I did.

The main question did not pertain to just my marriage, but to all of the failed marriages I had seen throughout the majority of my life. It seemed that no one was capable of the highest form of commitment. I wondered what happened. What did generations before us have that we didn’t? Then it hit me. I discovered that commitment has been infused by an element that my elders did not have the luxury of embracing—feelings. They made it possible for us to own much of what we have today, including the ability to express the way we feel. I was not happy in my marriage and unlike my grandfather’s grandfather I now have the privilege to honor the way I feel. Love and commitment have new meanings. And both are equal, yet separate.

In this light, I now know that if we are going to honor our own feelings and truly honor who we are, we must first understand why we are who we are. We must seek internal peace and transparency of self with the same level of committed diligence that our ancestors used to survive, with one difference—we must embrace who we are and how we feel. If I had discovered that internal peace earlier in life, I believe that I would have avoided years of hurt and pain, and ultimately, a failed marriage.

The process I’m referring to is self-discovery—owning and accepting who you are. Unfortunately, before entering into my marriage, I had no idea who I was or what effect my past had on my life. All I knew was that I wanted someone else to make me happy and to complete me, and I can safely say that my ex-wife was looking for the same. We were both searching externally for something that was inside of us. Very few people realize that their past has a direct effect on the choices and decisions that they make as adults. It was not until the divorce that I decided to get to the root of the problem, and there I found myself. Unfulfilling marriages are entered into by unfulfilled people. It was my time to deal with me, and this is what I had to do…

Go back. Way Back!

For some, it’s abuse (sexual, mental, physical, etc.). Others may experience parental abandonment.  My issue as a child was verbal abuse and a lack of validation from my father. There were no verbal or physical expressions of appreciation. I had to accept the fact that childhood trauma had a major impact on the choices I made as an adult.

Trauma for a child is any painful event that is beyond the child’s comprehension. I had to revisit the moments that I remembered and make sense of them with adult intellect. Even today I have to undo my tendency to have childlike emotional responses to adult situations. I revert because of early emotional scarring that caused my development to be arrested. It’s a daily battle to see the world as a grown man and not the young boy who could not make sense of what he was witnessing.

If you take this step of going back to your childhood, you will find the answer to why you are the way you are, why you attract certain people, why you react to situations the way that you do, why you need, why you’re vulnerable, etc. It’s only then that one can start to uncover who they are. This begins the healing process that many before us never got the chance to experience.

Forgive.

Once I understood the root of who I was—my character, personality, thoughts, and insecurities, etc.—I realized that in order to move forward, I had to forgive myself and the people in my past that hurt me. No matter how severe or painful, it had to be done.

Just as I began to learn who I was, I realized that everyone is a product of their own personal experiences, and most people can only give what they’re capable of giving. I even had to forgive myself for all the wrong that I had done to others. I was carrying tons of guilt that compromised my judgment within all of my relationships. I made concessions and compromises that were unhealthy and detrimental to my own growth. If you don’t learn to forgive, you will not be able move forward into a healthy relationship.

Take Responsibility.

I accepted everything that happened to me. I owned it all. I knew the wrong that I had done to others. I faced my past, I understood who I was, and I forgave myself, and those in my life that hurt me. I reached a point where I could talk openly and freely about anything in my life, all because I owned it.

This process was the most freeing experience of my life. It allowed me see the flaws not just in me, but also in every person that I encountered. Other people’s flaws were no longer turn-offs, they became endearing.

My decision-making process was flawed by my own insecurities, guilt and lack of self-worth. I had to forgive in order to release myself from the cycle of bad decision-making. I had to take responsibility for my actions, behaviors, thoughts, decisions, relationships, etc. I used the knowledge of who I was to take deliberate steps towards finding a healthy relationship. If I had only known that a healthy knowledge of self would allow me to genuinely like who I was, I may have been a better friend, a better son, and a better brother, and most importantly, a better person.

There Is Hope.

Going through this journey gave me a greater appreciation for what my ancestors endured. How could they face themselves at a time when social injustice was so prevalent? For many of them, marriage and the commitment to family was all that they had, it’s where they found strength. But, obviously, there was no room for introspection. I can attest that facing yourself is not easy. It takes work. And oftentimes it’s painful to look at the chaos that you’ve caused. But, if we are to truly honor the struggle of those men and women that came before us, we must do what they could not—honor who we are.

I see so many people abandoning the union of marriage. I encourage you to think twice about this. I do understand that the nature of marriage has changed, but we also need to be mindful of the commitment to family that serves as the building block of prosperity for future generations. I believe that with a renewed and healthier focus on self, we can restore the ever-deteriorating structure of marriage and family—this time based on two people that are aware of their flaws, in love with themselves, and prepared to do the necessary work to honor marriages of the past and serve as examples of pure commitment for generations to come.

Are you concerned that more marriages fail than succeed? Does that effect the way you view marriage and your probability of success? Why do you think past generations were able to stay together longer? Have you seen successful marriages growing up? What have you learned about marriage from your parents and grandparents? Are you willing to take responsibility for the role your past experiences plays in the failure of your relationships? What are you willing to do to change bad patterns? What did you think of Lyndon’s journey and revelations about marriage?

Speak your piece…

  • Wise_Diva

    RT @NakedWithSocks: NEW POST : Why I Got Divorced – Broken People, Broken Marriages http://nwso.net/2011/02/02/why-i-got-div

  • http://bpierrewrites.blogspot.com B. Pierre

    I appreciate the fact that you didn’t allow your failed experience get you jaded.

    Too many people skip out on process of knowing themselves and are looking to a companion to solve their problems. They look at another individual to resolve their problems but skip the very person staring back at the mirror to solve their problems.

    It takes whole individuals to create a whole marriages. The concepts of two halves make a whole is ludicrous but unfortunately people are following that rule of thumb

    If people were more self aware and truly acted in love, being selfless, they wouldn’t dare commit to another if they weren’t completely “right within.”

    It takes a truly selfless person to get themselves right before they would commit to another. But some people are either ignorant to their flaws or feel that their problems aren’t grand enough to negatively affect a relationship.

    But speaking for myself, I’m getting me on point so when that significant man does appear in my life, my past won’t being rearing it’s ugly head because I’ve taken the opportunity now to take care of mines.

    Taking the care to do that, fills in gaps, creates an inner peace and creates a whole person who can contribute to a fulfilling relationship. It’s only then can one truly give one’s best to a marriage. The time to figure out yourself should be done before marriage not during because the focus is no longer on you but on the union of the two.

  • Nan

    This piece was very provocative. I applaud Lyndon for being so willing to look at himself. For having the courage to see things clearly. It’s easy for us to say, “things have changed.” We often attribute it to prosperity and a desire for instant gratification. But I think the brother might be on to something when he suggests, we’re not staying together because we’re taking a minute to ask ourselves if we’re getting what I need.

  • http://www.conversationsatthebar.blogspot.com Nicole

    Thank you, Lyndon, for not only being so open and honest, but also for taking responsibility for your feelings and actions. Insight does not necessarily bring about change, but it sounds like it did for you. I think that because divorce is so acceptable now, marriage is taken a lot less seriously; everyone gets excited about the wedding and totally forgets about the marriage that follows.

    From what I understand (I am single), marriage takes a lot of hard work. I knew in my early 20s that it was going to be difficult for me to find someone that I would want to spend my life with (it definitely has). And I was/am okay with that. Would my life be great if I had an awesome partner? Sure. Is my life awesome without one? Yep. So many people, women in particular, believe that marriage is the thing you’re supposed to do by/at a certain age and often jump into one because of that. However, many of them jump right back out because it wasn’t anything they were expecting and didn’t fulfill them the way they thought it would.

    Thank you again for sharing your insight. It’s great to get a man’s perspective on marriage/divorce/adultery.

  • Lyndon

    “I’m getting me on point so when that significant man does appear in my life…”

    This is what has always been a serious problem for me. It’s possible that I have had what could have been the right woman for me, but when I found the slightest thing wrong, I would bail. Looking back at those times I realize what was going on had everything to do with me, not them. Appreciate the response too

  • http://bpierrewrites.blogspot.com B. Pierre

    The whole bailing concept is something we all are guilty of because we’re in a society of instant gratification. If we’re not happy now, we quit. If something isn’t happening fast enough, we move on to something else.

    Outside of sex, there isn’t anything “instantly gratifying” about marriage. It’s a an arduous, give and take process. A good marriage is built. It’s not instantaneously perfect. It takes being persistent and being committed to make things work to create a good union. The more aware we are of that fact, the less likely we’ll be to bail when something does pop up. Trials shouldn’t weaken the marriage but make it stronger.

    If we go in with the mentality of “going in to stay in and that’s it,” we’d have greater success. We need to stop giving up. Life is hard enough single, why/how can we assume that it would get easier when there’s two different parties involved?

    It’s hard work. Only when we get that can we start making progress.

    But as you’ve mentioned, you went in incomplete and not necessarily ready to take on the responsibility of what a marriage is about so I could only imagine how overwhelming it was.

  • terri

    I’m so glad you wrote this article. Kudos to you.

  • JC

    Great piece Lyndon :)

    I believe that in the past marriages were first seen as business arrangements. Families were brought together to make even stronger families…They lasted because contracts should be binding…but people got crafty and smart and realized that if they were going to spend their life with someone can they at least like the person…we then move to marriage for love.
    Unfortunately what people forget or ignore is that just as people change so can your love for someone. I really don’t think it is fair to see divorce as a failure. If you are in a marriage that you entered because of love and then find yourself out of love, why stay in the marriage? Won’t that make it more like a business agreement? And when businesses don’t function any longer most times the partners part ways.

    I’m not an advocate for marriage. I don’t see the need of it and quite frankly not sure I see any benefit. Sure I want a partner, but I don’t want kids and I have learned that I complete me. Why pledge myself to someone when who knows what course my life will take and if that person will want to follow me or vice versa?
    I think if people were more self aware and honest there wouldn’t be as many marriages. I don’t think so much about it being instant gratification, but it being people don’t envision what they want for themselves and themselves alone.
    I think it is time to make the option of “civil unions” more acceptable to all…I would be more apt to do that than marry. Maybe because a civil union doesn’t have that connotation that love is main focus. That two people love each other enough to commit to being together till death. Civil unions IMO is seen as more of an legal acceptance to live in a partnership. There is love but it is more focused on equality of it.

    Kudos to those that have married for love and have made it work and are happier for it.

  • Lisa

    Well said and agreed to…….

  • Wmofyr

    Kudos to you on being able to open up and reflect on the situation. I like to see guys showing their emotional intelligence.

    I read somewhere that in order to change one has to —
    1. unfreeze (decided they need a change, look within, etc.)
    2. change (make a plan for the solution and coping, and do the change, etc.) — and I’m going to mention relationship books here, for ideas or clarity (but don’t throw rocks, lol)
    3. and finally they must refreeze (once they figure out the plan and made the commitment to working the plan, then they must lock it in)

    I have seen so many failed marriages in my family. Ironically, I only have one friend who is not married. But I like to encourage my friends in their marriage. Divorce is a bitch even if you want to be rid of the guy. Good marriages give me hope that marriage can work out for me, some day in the some day future.

  • Nikki

    I love the piece. Very insightful and needed Lyndon. I understand how seeing my parents having a successful marriage has effected me as adult seeking to have a successful marriage one day in the future and how it effected me in romantic relationships.

  • Bernice Dickey

    ‘Other people’s flaws were no longer turn-offs, they became endearing.’

    That statement reflects maturity, we are all flawed, you have to find the flaws YOU CAN LIVE WITH and commit to that to make marriage work.

  • http://saturnreturns-grow.blogspot.com Othaniel Cruickshank

    Sometimes we have to fail to succeed…..that way we can get up tomorrow and approach the situation with a tighter game plan.
    Sometimes our revised plan doesn’t turn out well either ……so we refine and repeat the process……until we get it right.
    I recently ended a relationship with a man I really really cared about. In retrospect, he wasn’t my guy but that doesn’t alleviate the pain or feelings of failure.
    These days post break up , I no longer have this “oh well, plenty of fish in the sea” mentality. I really want to figure what went wrong, accept responsibility for my actions, work on my issues , etc since I can only change me. I firmly believe damaged people attract other damaged people……we recognize the luggage :) In order to be in a healthy relationship ….we must be healthy and redefine commitment/ loyalty in our minds. The characteristics we admire in athletes e.g. persistence , heart, gumption, etc…..I always wonder why many of us don’t apply this ” never give up” mindset to our relationship. I don’t know about anyone here but ending a relationship is emotionally draining and puts me out of commission for several weeks. I can’t afford to lose that sort of time anymore. I really appreciate this post because it renews my faith and puts a finger on underlying issues that aren’t addressed.

  • Older & Wiser

    I love the introspection shown in this piece. Although it’s not stated openly here, I suspect that you also developed a closer relationship with God in the process of your reconciliation with yourself. ;-). Congratulations on doing the hard emotional work it took to reflect and write this piece, your future partner will benefit greatly because of it!

  • Cafe7202

    Wow, this post was so full of insight I think I read it 3 times before I was able to absorb it. I agree that we would all be better off in all of our relationships (as sons/daughters, parents, friends and significant others, etc) if we could go through this process.

    I guess I’m left with the question of how exactly, to navigate such a process? I imagine a great deal of it could be done through introspection and an objective view of yourself and your history. But how many of us are capable of being truly objective about ourselves? Of recognizing our shortcomings and behavioral patterns?

    Thanks for a great post….a lot to think about.

    C.

  • da ThRONe

    I have to say best guestblog in a min.

    You can’t love others until you love yourself.

  • Lyndon

    “how many of us are capable of being truly objective about ourselves? Of recognizing our shortcomings and behavioral patterns”

    Honestly, it wasn’t easy. It’s almost like undoing everthing youve ever known/wanted to be true about yourself. Like ripping off a mask that’s been glued on your entire life. And I believe the only reason I got to the place where I wanted to change was due to a series of losses in a very short period of time (Father, Grandmother & Wife in 5 months). I had to look at myself EVERYDAY. It don’t get more “rockbottom” than that. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t want people around, so all I had was myself. And I realized that it’s easy to lie to yourself when your hopping from woman-to-woman or working a busy schedule. But when all the distraction faded, I had to see all the damage I had done and decided I didn’t want it anymore.

    I once had a woman tell me that if she had to face and acknowledge the horror of her past she would go crazy. Her words helped me to better understand how much junk and unsettled business we bring into relationships, then expect it flourish.

    Thanx to you too

  • jaclynsd

    I’ll I can say is WOW I can so relate to all these feelings. The writer is on point when he talked about taking responsibility, forgiveness and getting to know one self before even thinking of entering into marriage. I was young when I lived w/someone and had a child. It was the feeling of that person completing me and being responsible for my happiness that I longed, but at the time didn’t realize. I’ve known for a while that he needed the same from me. It wasn’t until much self reflection and discovery that I realized we both had been doing this all along. My childhood prepared me in no way for marriage as my parents had no solid foundation when it came to marriage or raising a family. But as you become and adult you start evaluating yourself and wanting to know why do I do the things I do? Its not until then that you come full circle and learn to forgive those before you because they themselves had no time for self reflection like the writer said. So I am grateful for their struggles and remember that I’ve been given the gift of self reflection and growth. For that I’m in a better state of mind and emotionally healthy. Because of that I know my daughter will have a better shot at marriage and I also know that when and if I get marriage I’ll have a better chance of it too.

    I’ve been very blessed to have successful couples around me that give me hope. Those who know that marriage takes work and that on a daily basis put in work. All I know and I don’t know much…is that if you want to have a better life you need to have better people around you. Remove yourself from negative people and that will in itself give you a more positive outlook.

    Here’s one of my fav quotes “change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable”

    Thanks so much to the writer for sharing, you’ve come a long way =)

  • Rastaman

    Everything begins from the inside and works itself outward. Every person’s journey of self discovery starts with introspection. It requires personal courage to look critically at yourself and even worse admit errors and shortcomings, our egos generally find that unacceptable. But I am not telling many what they don’t already know now.

    A few months ago I wrote about my desire for a wife nota other GF. That was my own personal realization that much of what I was seeking and offering most of the women with whom I was involved was insufficient to maintain the type of significant relationship I ultimately desired.

    The hard work started afterwards because I have had to adhere to those goals and it is hard. It was more fun not having realized all those things about myself and women I dated.

    So congrats on sharing. Congrats on helping to raise the consciouness. But also realize that those who came before did not necessarily have the options we so liberally debate. So they had to make tough choices and sacrifice much even if they chose to not acknowledge how painful it was. Forgive them because much like we do they still are handicapped by the same human frailties. The frailties that continue to make so many of us repeat the same bad habits even though we are aware that the results will be undesireable.

  • bogart4017

    The most successful marriage i grew up aound was my grandparents. It was deeply spiritual and rooted in the commitment not only to each other but in the service of the Lord. This may be what goes wrong with relationships today. As a people we have grown farther away from “church” than our forefathers. It is very easy to lose yourselves as a couple in the pursuit of the almighty dollar instead of the pursuit of the Almighty.

  • R.e.D

    I was writing this long comment that I was going to post b/c there is so much I want to say in response to this, but my thought process is all over the place, so I won’t…all I will say is that this piece was well-done.

  • Just Sayin

    inner peace=Love

  • QuoteMan

    I think you spoke for many with this one, homie. This goes far beyond just marriage – it’s just life in general – period. Self-discovery is the foundation of all things growth IMO. Taking a leap forward in life requires introspection and a visit to the past, so to speak. You can’t get pass your past by avoiding or overlooking it, you gotta face it – no matter how ugly it could be; cuz over any great length of time, the scars of our past become our flaws.

    Never been married so my experience is a bit different. But I had my fair share of demons as a kid; which subsequently spilled into my earlier relationships. Today, much better person, I could no longer blame my past no more than I could blame my very existence.

  • http://spinsterscompass.wordpress.com Spinster

    Powerful post for so many reasons. Thank you for sharing.

  • Justme

    WOW!!! An absolutely wonderful and a wonderfully accurate piece (once again). I thought that maybe I was the only one who knew that deep introspection, self-discovery and a pyschoanaytical examination into one’s past were some of the most significant endeavors we could ever participate in for sake of a successful life, a successful marriage, and an overal peaceful, transparent, and content filled existence.

  • Justme

    I agree that the LORD should be an intricate self-adhesive to the success of marriage. Thank you for reminding many of us that Christ ultimately should be the foundation to a successful marrigae. But in the self breath it is also disheartening that Christians now divorce at a rate equal to non-believers. But again, you are accurate in your comment.

  • http://whatsonmymind09.blogspot.com Marcia H.

    Growth in a man is so DAMN attractive! I love it!!!! Go You!!

    I’m not concerned. It’s a known fact that marriages are doomed to fail before they even get a chance to mature. Which is sad… It doesn’t effect my views on marriage b/c I have great examples of working, happy, long marriages around me all the time. Long time ago people stayed together out of need, and not wanting to be the talk of their church, or friends, or neighbors, or whomever about being an “old maid”. And then there were those marriages that survived b/c the people involved actually loved each other and were going to work through whatever life handed them together. My parents marriage wasn’t the best so I learned what not to do from them but I have aunts, uncles, cousins, and deceased grandparents who showed what to do right in a marriage. I’ve always been the type of person take responsibility in the mistakes I made. Denial just waste my time and energy and clearly accomplishes nothing.

  • http://theevolutionofem.blogspot.com menluvmysmile

    Thanks for sharing that post, I have heard from many people whom I care about, and do care about mesay that your past shouldn’t define who you are. In some truths it should not, what I realized and try to work through is that your past DOES effect you. It effects you until you realize it takes committment to working through it so you can move on.

    I am greatful for the one reference of the true work it takes for a marriage to work, and that is my grandparents. Knowing that for a committment like this takes work all day everyday reinforces my feelings in that it is a serious committment to make and should not be taken lightly.

    Taking responsibility for your actions is just as big as admission to that of admitting of your past affecting your future. To look into the mirror of yourself takes courage and for that I applaud you.

  • th1whbrngu

    Well,Well,Well,your command of the english language,ability to empty your heart and soul to meet the needs of others is commendable.WHAT GREATNESS!The choices you made after those losses, were reflected in “The Road Less Traveled”.This cleansing process and awareness can only lead you to aquire the many blessings that God has in store for you.He will be your keeper and your guide.”Keep On Believing”.

  • hellifiknow

    That was a truly amazing piece….and very well written. Thanks for contributing to a mature discussion about the issues that impact us all in our closest relationships.

  • CK

    Am I the only one who fails to see what this has to do with commitment? Yes – you cannot love others until you love and accept yourself, and I fully believe marriages should allow each of you to grow – that’s the whole point of relationships. However. Commitment is a CHOICE! There are days where I get up and don’t feel loving toward my husband. There are times when I’m just fed up with myself and my life and everyone around me. I don’t FEEL like being married anymore or having my life and my responsibilities.

    Everybody is going to go through this at some point in their lives. Whether it be for an hour, a day or a year! But when you marry someone, when you commit to someone, that is a choice you are making. And it is something you are asking of someone else – you are asking them to be your helpmate in life. Your “feelings” about it don’t have anything to do with it – not in an otherwise functional relationship.

    And so please can someone explain to me WHY in a functional relationship where you are fully capable of expressing needs and wants, that you would have to leave that person and break your commitment in order to grow into yourself and work through all your stuff? Marriage is supposed to be the most secure place in the world, the place where you CAN express yourself and learn about yourself and grow as a person. Your spouse should be helping you with that and encouraging that!