Imagine someone you love.
Now imagine them carrying a huge glass bowl. It’s big, beautiful, and just holding it fills them with joy. This makes you so happy because you love seeing the people you care about happy. You watch as this bowl becomes a part of them. They carry it everywhere, and they adore it.
Soon you see signs that the bowl is too much. Their muscles begin to ache, weaken, and scream in pain because they always carry it with them, and it has become too heavy. Your loved one is still attached to the bowl, still struggling to hold on to it, so you only watch.
You watch, fearful when you see just how excruciatingly heavy this bowl has become. How they stagger under its weight. Your loved one stumbles, but they hold fast to the bowl, even when their arms are numb, their backs hunched, and their joy gone.
You watch, wanting to offer to help carry the bowl, but it’s their bowl to carry.
Then one day, your loved one falls under its weight. The bowl crashes to the ground and breaks into so many tiny little pieces, you can’t see them all. You watch your loved one on the ground trying to take in the devastation around them, not knowing how to get up. There’s fear they’ll be hurt by the shards of glass and fear of staying where they are because it’s not safe there either.
Would you be angry at your loved one for dropping the bowl? Would you blame them because it got too heavy and they should have put it down ages ago, before it broke? Would you berate them and tell them they should have never gotten the bowl in the first place if they only planned to break it down the road? Would you be mad at them for not being able to immediately get up and pick up all those millions of tiny pieces of glass?
You would ache for them. You would want to comfort them and help pick up the pieces, keep them safe.
Your loved one inhales. They look up, searching for your eyes. It’s then that you realize, you’re simply a mirror. Your loved one is you, the bowl is your marriage, and the devastation is your life.
I don’t believe people go into their marriage thinking it will end in divorce. Divorce is, for most, an ultimate fail. It is sad (even if both people want it). It is the admission that your dream of the life you thought you would have is over, and you must figure out how to start all over again. You have to learn how to pick up all those little pieces of glass, knowing it will hurt and that it will take so, so long. You have to learn to dream again.
The “reasons” for divorce don’t matter.
What matters even less is what other people think about you, your decisions, or the way you are handling your divorce. I know people who have stayed in a marriage simply because they didn’t want their friends and family to think of them as a failure, as weak, as going against “What God wants,” or because they knew it would be so hard on their children. People who gave up their happiness and their hope for a sliver of joy in life because of what others want, what others would think.
It’s cliché but true: We get one chance at this life. One. Embrace your joy. Get out if you can no longer breathe, if your days are spent going through the motions. If you feel trapped in a nightmare. If your kids are seeing and hearing you fight more than hug.
No one else has to pick up those glass pieces, and no one else has to hold on to that heavy, heavy bowl.
No one else has to make peace with your decisions.
Your marriage might have failed, but if you get up, pick up the glass, and can find joy again, then you haven’t.
And to all those who say, “Well, I’m entitled to my opinion,” kindly suggest since they are so entitled, they should keep it all to themselves.