The Blessings of a Dysfunctional Marriage

This twenty-year marriage had a happy ending: divorce.

It’s not what you think, completely.  Yes, the divorce was the right thing to do and we all felt better afterwards, or we would not have made that difficult decision.  But despite the many years of struggle and anguish, Dave and I had a good marriage.  Let me explain.

I should start by saying that Dave and I had what is probably a typical marriage.  Like most couples we were attracted to each other and fell in love because of our unidentified and unmet emotional needs.  We felt “complete” with each other because our partner reflected a chance to heal our emotional shortcomings.  Trouble begins when the euphoria wears away and you’re left primarily with the challenge of actually healing yourself.   The opportunity that is marriage is that it provides the laboratory, lab partner and the incentive to avoid an “F” to discover and heal those unmet needs.

Of course the problem is that we too often look toward others to fix our emotional voids. “I’m feeling sad, angry, inadequate, unloved, then it must be your fault.  Your unwillingness to make me feel better means you don’t love me.”

That makes perfect sense in the somewhat sterile world of the blogosphere, but in the heat of the moment, after all your hot buttons get pushed, it is extraordinarily difficult to access the objective and responsible viewpoint.

Which brings me back to my dear ex and dysfunctional marriage.   Without my marriage, I would not have had the opportunity for self-discovery and improvement that my committed husband provided.  I had a place and a partner who supported our individual and dual journeys for self-actualization for twenty whole years.  My partner put as much time and effort into his personal journey as I did mine, and in so doing, helped me along my way.  My ex helped me lift my head from my self-delusional sand to realize that it’s not only OK to imperfect, but it’s a condition that is conducive and even necessary for personal growth.

No, the marriage did not work out despite our best efforts.  Sometimes it got ugly.  But I can proudly say that we both gave it our best shot and I believe I can speak for us both when I say we are both better people now than before we met.   I feel sure our mutual commitment to each other until the very end is the reason we still fondly support and care for each other and that we have parted with little or no bitterness.   I am still proud of Dave and his journey, and wish him much happiness and growth on his next big adventure.   I know I am ready for mine.

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One thought on “The Blessings of a Dysfunctional Marriage

  1. Reblogged this on Silver Lining and commented:

    All – I thought I’d repost this old blog. Someone told me this was post-traumatic growth – probably true. In the end, we have a choice to buckle or grow from our trauma, but then, that’s a pretty obvious choice, isn’t it?

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