"Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding." Ambrose Bierce, American Writer, Journalist, Editor 1842-1914 The Epiphany of Divorce Through much evaluation and reflection I can identify one instance in my life when my perception of the situation was far from the true reality. The ending of my first marriage and the subsequent change in my thought process has allowed me to step out of a perpetual cycle of enculturation imposed upon me by society. o What did you think was going on? I felt there were no problems with this relationship. The perception was that we were happy, everything was going perfectly or so I thought.
We were building a new home, building a future together, and building a better life. I was content and satisfied with life and the relationship I was in. The marriage was idyllic, with little to no confrontation or major crises and ultimately fulfilling. Because we never had any knock down drag out fights or spoke badly of one another there was the perception that everything must be ok. We were financially secure, young and healthy and in love, well at least I was.
o What was really going on? The reality of the situation was my marriage was on the rocks. There was a rift developing within the marriage and I was blind to the reality. Blinded because I was working too much in my professional life and building a new home instead of working on my relationship my. I was a workaholic working 50 to 60 hours per week trying to provide what I thought was a better quality of life, not realizing the damage was already done. We were simply coexisting and adhere ing to the sta us quo, instead of building a new relationship based on us as a couple. o Why was there such a difference? The difference between the perception and reality of the failing relationship can be found in enculturation or the example set by my parents.
My parents were married young. My father was easy going, non-confrontational, and worked a lot to support the family financially. My mother was a housewife who maintained the household. This model was what I based my marriage on and through family influence of watching my father work a lot, I came to a realization that if it had worked for my parents and their parents before them, then this is all that is needed.
I was providing a life of financial stability what else was necessary? Similar to Dr. Bernie's lecture and the "ham" story, I did not question what I had "learned" about relationships through my parent's marriage. I simply accepted it as fact and just assumed "if it worked for them, it must work for me." Marriage is about compromise there is a constant battle for balance within your professional and personal life. Without balance there can not be both. o What happened? The marriage essentially disintegrated before my eyes and Ididn't even realize what was happening until the last blow was delivered. There was a breakdown and lack of communication which in hid sight was the main contributing factor that led to the divorce.
I was oblivious to the warning signs that my ex-wife was showing me. Perhaps, the family value of being the provider was a contributing factor as well. In the end divorce was the only option available, the damage had been done and whether I wanted it to happen or not, it just did. My ex-wife reduced my life and our marriage into three trash bags of belongings that she tossed to me at the front door.
o What did you learn? Through this process I've realized that I need to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor instead of working toward an unreachable standard. In my second marriage I am an active participant and important participant in my family, instead of just being "the breadwinner." When I find myself falling back into the same frame of mind, working too much, not spending time with my family, I'm able to take a step back and reevaluate my reactions to the situation. I've come to realize that there are alternative solutions and ideologies for every situation, and just because it is, doesn't make it true. o How has your thinking changed? Through the experience of this divorce I have realized that work is not everything. I have modified my thinking so that I will not fall victim to my previous experiences.
Marriage is a "two-way street", it's compromise not a company, communication is the most important aspect needing in building a strong foundation. American novelist Marge Piercy said it best, "Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding is the third" After 10 years a failed marriage and new understanding of life and love I have truly become a changed man. It has taken me this long to alter my perceptions about love, marriage, success and to be ok with the harsh reality that I'm human.