Embracing Uncertainty


UncertaintyHeader

Recently I have talked a bit about the fact that I’m currently at the tail end of a divorce that has been brewing since late 2012.

Although I am not someone who will ever “celebrate” a divorce, having it finalized will be relief.  It will allow me to finally close the door on one chapter of my life (well, as much as you can when kids are involved), and truly start defining my new future.

My marriage may have turned out differently than I expected, but that doesn’t change how I think of love.  I still believe in marriage.  I still believe two people can allow time to deepen the bond between them, instead of letting it pull them apart.  I still believe you can achieve “forever” with someone, and have that forever be a beautiful thing; where you are actively choosing your partner each and every day.  I still believe it’s possible to one day be part of a couple who after decades together can walk hand in hand, still very much in love with each other.

Any longtime readers will know I’m a big believer in continuous improvement.  No matter what happens to you in life, to me it’s important to take situations and try to learn from them.  To look at what you may have done right, or wrong, and how you can try to improve for a better future.

I would like to think I have learned, and grown from my experiences.  So maybe that learning will prepare me for the future I want.

 

Then I look at the numbers.

For marriage in North America the divorce rates are as follows:

  • First marriage – 50%
  • Second marriage – 67%
  • Third marriage – 73%

Are those number accurate?  Who knows.

When looking at divorce stats sometimes I see those numbers and sometimes I find different ones.  I don’t think the accuracy of the numbers is as important as the trends they show.  And in every set of number I have seen the trend is the same – as the number of marriages increases so does the frequency of divorce.

Statistically at least, it looks like your first marriage is actually your best shot at “forever”.  And if that’s true, maybe people DON’T actually learn.

 

I think that’s a pretty scary thought.

An even scarier thought is, maybe people do learn.

Maybe they are learning, about their own boundaries and about the things they will not put up with in the future.

But if learning that means the failure rate actually increases with subsequent marriages, then what does that tell you about long term relationships?

At that point, why bother?

 

Do we just need to accept that relationships are fleeting?  That we will only have a few good years together and then things will invariably go to shit?

 

Personally, I can’t accept that.

I don’t really care what the stats say.  Maybe it’s the exception to the rule, but I believe it’s possible to hit 20, 30, 40+ years with someone and STILL be in love with them.  To wake up every day and actively choose each other (alright, maybe not *every* day, but most of them).  To accept each other for who we actually are, flaws and all, instead of focusing on what we are not.

Will it happen for me?

Honestly, I don’t know.

But I believe it CAN.

I also think believing gives me the best chance.

 

Here’s the truth – there are NO guarantees in life.

And maybe that’s alright.

 

Maybe one of the keys to lasting 40-50 years is not necessarily caring if you hit 40-50 years.

Wanting to, sure.  As I think that’s an important part of commitment.  Plus you need to have a sense of where you want get to in order to actually get there.

It doesn’t just happen though, and you won’t actually get there if you don’t put in consistent effort.

 

Really, what actually matters?

The past can and should be a learning tool, but beyond that it doesn’t matter.  It’s already happened.

The future gives you goals and things to work towards, but it’s not guaranteed.

All you really have is today.

 

So what really matters is how you treat each other today.

Are you making time for each other, even when life is busy?  Are you trying to listen to and understand each other?

Do you understand your partners needs and wants in life, and are they a priority to you?  Do you feel like you are a priority to them?  If either of those are a no, what are you doing about it?

Do you set goals together, and try to share in each other’s victories and support each other through challenges?

Are you actively choosing them, each and every day?  And not just on the days when things are easy?  If so, do they know it?

 

Things happen.  People change.  The future is never certain.

But I would like to think if we actively choose each other and make each other a priority each and every day, then we always have a great chance at tomorrow.

And maybe that’s all we can really ask.

After all, 40-50 years is really just a whole heck of a lot of tomorrows.

buildTillTheEnd

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5 thoughts on “Embracing Uncertainty

  1. Thoughtful and insightful. I think too many people don’t work on themselves after a divorce/break up. They carry the same issues into the next relationship, which is why it doesn’t work. Its why you see people continue to choose the same “type” of partner. I think second (or more) marriage can work. And do work. For the people that put the time and effort into themselves. They spend time ALONE. Learning to be ok with that. Learning who they are and what they truly want. I know too many people that are already in another relationship before the divorce papers are signed. And its sad, because they aren’t helping themselves or their kids. I know someone who is on her 4th marriage. She readily admits she didn’t work on herself and continued to make poor choices in each marriage. Except number 4. Before meeting him, she spent a lot of time alone. Working on herself. And because of that she was in a better place, attracted a better man (10’s don’t attract 2’s) and has been able to make this marriage a loving and lasting relationship. I’m sorry you are going through a divorce. Your positive outlook and attitude will help I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi hopingtoheal,

      I agree with your assessment that things can (and do) work for “the people that put the time and effort into themselves”. I think that maybe you can’t truly be in a healthy relationship until you are comfortable enough with yourself that you don’t “need” a relationship. Actually I think approaching anything from a position of need (vs. want) is a bad thing. Personally, I know that I am alright with being on my own. I’m capable of doing everything and am happy with who I am and the choices I make in life. That said, I don’t *want* to be on my own and I prefer having someone to share things with.

      Where I think a lot of people get themselves in trouble is, when things don’t work out they tell themselves something like “I just need to find the right person”. I think that’s really a destructive outlook, because it basically absolves the individual of any responsibility for the breakdown of the relationship, and also makes it so that it’s hard for them to grow. If the problem was “the other person”, then YOU don’t need to change. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of finding someone who is a good fit, but I actually think it’s more important to “be the right person” than it is to “find the right person”. Or maybe it’s better to say they are equally important.

      I think self awareness and a willingness to learn and grow are probably some of the biggest factors that contribute to success in relationships.

      Like

  2. I like it your when you say ” choosing your partner each and everyday”. Every marriage have some ups and downs but choosing to stay is really a hard work but it could be worth it depends on the partner. My mom chose my dad through thick and thin and though unfortunately she died after their 43rd yrs together I am sure she will still choose him through the end. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Vinneve,

      I get that relationships are complex, and there are all sorts of factors that can bring people together and pull people apart.

      That said, I *truly* believe SOOOooooo much of it comes down to simple choice, and the main one is “do you choose your partner, each and every day”. If the answer is yes, then I think the odds are great that a couple can hit many years together, and also be happy.

      To me, part of that choice involves accepting each other for who you are, not for who you want them to be. I am who I am. Sure I may change a few little things here and there (and I should always be trying to grow as a person), but by and large my main personality isn’t going to change.

      Communication is a huge factor as well, as I think resentment is one of the big killers of relationships. It’s really hard to actively choose someone if you resent them. But resentment doesn’t really set in if you are willing to work through things, accept each other for who you are, and let go of the little things along the way.

      It feels like it should be so easy, and we make it a lot harder than it needs to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Do We Ever Learn? | Are We Still Having Spaghetti For Dinner?

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