advice column / Author / real life

Lessons Learned from Divorce

Occasionally I use my blog as a sort of advice column, in an effort to pass on lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. This article is on lessons I learned for keeping a relationship vital and healthy

After 14 years of marriage, I learned a thing or two. I thought I would share a few of those lessons today.

The first is simple, never take your partner for granted. It is is easy to assume that because you are with someone for a long time they no longer need you. It’s not true. They need to hear that you love them, cherish and value them. The worst thing you can do is assume that because you feel a certain way, your partner knows and it never needs to be voiced.

The second is to date your partner. Remember when you first got together? The excitement that came from trying new things together? You went to restaurants, on road trips, saw new films. You carved out time to make moments and memories because you wanted shared experiences that you could look back on. Life gets busy, I know, work kids, family obligations take hold as the years march on. Even so, a date night a week, or every other one, gives you the chance to reconnect and remember why you fell in love. Something as simple as eating dinner at your kitchen table with candle light and snuggling on the sofa for a movie can really help to remind you of those first moments together.

The third is to never forget the importance of the little things. A text in the middle of the day, flowers for no reason, a photo for his desk or cleaning the dishes after she cooks. Making those small gestures to let your partner know that you are thinking of them goes so much further than large, extravagant gifts. It’s nice to receive beautiful things, even better to know that you are thought of in the every day moments.

The fourth is to communicate. Nothing is worse than allowing something you are angry or sad about to fester and grow. These emotions are like weeds in a garden that will choke out the beauty of your relationship as they continue to grow. If you hold on to the things that bother you, you will build a wall that will be impossible to scale down the road. It’s ok to fight, no relationship is perfect. What is not ok is to hold in your fears, your pain, your sadness, and then take it out on your partner down the road. You have to express yourself then find a way to put it behind you and move on.

The fifth and final lesson is affection is necessary. Intimacy comes on many levels. No one says you have to “make like bunnies”, the truth is the chemical reactions that draw us to one another initially will and do fade over time. With that being said though it is up to you, up to your partner to make sure that you work on keeping the romance alive. Even if, physical limitations prevent you from having sex, you can’t ever underestimate the important of touch. There are so many ways to connect physically and far too often we assume that penetration is the only way to express intimacy with one another. We stop kissing, we stop hugging, we stop looking into each others eyes. All of these things are necessary to keep us bonded and feeling close.

I’m not a relationship expert by any means, just a woman with some insight and time into how and why my marriage failed. We didn’t take the time to connect, touch, talk. We made vast assumptions about the others needs without consulting one another and in the end it hurt us. There were, of course, other circumstances that led to our demise but I do believe that had we looked at these 5 core things more closely, we could have perhaps done better in our efforts to try.

We get one shot at this experience call life, and, if we are lucky, we get the chance to share it with someone else. Connect and Communicate with one another and you will be surprise at the changes you will find.

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