Love Comes in All Different Forms ~ even Divorce


Labor Day was a good day to get married. The planner and lover-of-fun in me thought it would be a perfect way to give myself and my new husband a wedding anniversary that coincided with a four-day weekend each year. We’d have a built-in national holiday anniversary, that would allow us to pause and savor and celebrate our special union each year. 

And so, we set the date, and then we set out down the aisle to what we hoped—and believed—would be a forever pathway to the rest of our lives. Spent together.

This year will be the first year in 28 years, that I am not celebrating my wedding anniversary. Instead, Labor Day will be a meaningful acknowledgment of the past, and a significant day to memorialize the beginning of a new, forward-looking process of moving into the next stage of Life, following a decision to mutually divorce.

When I tell my friends or colleagues about my divorce, the first sentiment exclaimed is, “I’m so sorry.” Followed by a reference to someone or something “failing.” Or concern over how “toxic” or hard it must be “to be around my ex.”  

The assumption is that the decision to end a long-time union must be negative, and I guess that initial sentiment is fair.  

But while extraordinarily painful and certainly tragic in that a three-decade journey walked as friends, family, co-parents, and partners needed to end, the unfortunate truth is that sometimes ending a relationship that is no longer supporting the happiness or the well-being of each of its participants, is a positive decision.  

No actually, the most LOVING decision. Albeit difficult.

Every marriage, every coupleship is unique and extraordinarily different in its make-up and journey. But within every coupleship, are two people who ultimately are committed to each other. Meaning, they are committed to actualizing the mutual goal of enhancing each others’ lives.

The clients I treat as a Psychologist are committed, loving, loyal people who are teetering regarding the gut-wrenching decision whether or not to leave a marriage that is no longer working. They are deadened inside, angry, resentful, disillusioned and depressed as a result of “knowing” what they want and need for their Soul. And staying because they are wracked with guilt, fear, or hopelessness. 

Or, they are unwilling to step out of something they are certain is not working, to step into something with an uncertain future. 

And so, they stay. Frozen in time. Unhappy. And typically, unhealthy as a result.

Marriage is sacred. Loyalty and commitment to another are worthy and noble traits. Working hard at making a marriage work is a necessary, imperative ingredient to creating happiness within a marital union.

But if and when it has become undeniably obvious that the most loving act is to free your Self and your partner from something that you have come to KNOW is no longer working it is, in my opinion, the greatest gesture of love and kindness to acknowledge the end and to take action ~ for both parties.

Love is displayed in many different ways. Sometimes, divorce is the most loving way of saying, “I love you and I love me, and we deserve to be happy.”

Labor Day will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart. As will the last 28 years. And albeit uncertain, hopefully the next 28 years.

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Julie T. Anné Zeig, Ph.D.

Dr Julie T. Anné Zeig is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Eating Disorder Specialist, Founder and Clinical Director of A New Beginning and Co-Founder and Clinical Director of TheHealthyWeighOut, both specialty eating disorder treatment facilities located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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