Until Divorce Do Us Part… (Seasoning the Wounds of Failure)

First Name: Matthew
Surname: Williams
Age: 41
Marital Status (please tick as appropriate):
– Single
– Married
– Widowed
– Divorced



I hate being divorced.  Don’t get me wrong, in spite of all the pain and regret I accept my marriage ending, and I believe that one day I will meet somebody with whom I’ll feel happier and more fulfilled than I ever have before.  Still, I hate being divorced.

I hate failing, and divorce is a failure that I will always have to carry.  And there aren’t many failures that we are obliged to declare on official forms, just to make sure that people are aware of our failure.  Well, isn’t it only right and proper that any potential employer, for instance, should know that my wife decided to leave me?

You can put your violins away, I’m not looking for sympathy; but I can’t deny that it bothers me.  Divorce is a deeply personal failure, more so when children are involved.  And human nature being as it is, when we know that someone’s marriage ended we can’t help but wonder why.  Did he cheat?  Was he a control freak?  Couldn’t he keep her satisfied?  Filling in ‘Divorced’ tick boxes can feel like seasoning the wounds of failure.

Failure, failure, failure….  I hate that word.  I especially hate it as a label.  We can of course choose to look at it another way: like all failures divorce carries within it the positive potentiality of future success, helping us to make wiser choices, be more self-aware, and better understand our own needs and those of others.  We can choose to look at divorce not as a failure but as an opportunity, a lesson, a catalyst for something better.

But I’m not going to sprinkle it with sugar, when it comes right down to it divorce is a failure – the failure of one or both parties to live up to and honour the solemn vows that they made to one another.  I didn’t set out to marry until divorce do us part, and neither did my wife.

I failed.  We failed.

Until divorce

‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ – I hear this phrase a lot and many times it is used as a platitude to avoid facing tough questions about things that could be done better; tough questions that would in turn force us to ask questions of ourselves that we may not have the answers for.  So we avoid them.

Or, we fail to even recognise what is broken at all, until the break is beyond our ability – or our will – to repair.

Making a marriage work involves just that, work.  There is a romantic notion that seems to have gathered currency in recent years that the ‘right’ relationship shouldn’t require ‘work’, that our ‘soulmate’ will complement us perfectly, be the ying to our yang, the gin to our tonic.

With the right partner we should be stirred, but not shaken.

I don’t buy it.  As a great philosopher once said, ‘life ain’t no fairytale’ (https://lovelaughtertruthblog.com/2016/05/02/i-know-i-am-a-fck-up-just-the-same-as-you/).  Marriage is work.  Marriage is sacrifice.  Marriage is compromise.  And it is our commitment to these very virtues that acts to cement the lifelong bond that marriage promises.

In facing the potential breakdown of a marriage, in contemplating the life-altering failure of divorce, perhaps we need to ask ourselves if in working at our marriage – in making sacrifices, in making compromises – have our roots become more entwined, or have they untangled?  In nurturing our partnership have we in fact sacrificed or compromised valuable parts of our selves?

When we divorce we fail.  But it is when we lose ourselves along the way that we most truly fail.

Tear In Your Hand – Tori Amos


9 thoughts on “Until Divorce Do Us Part… (Seasoning the Wounds of Failure)

  1. I’ve been divorced for twelve years but don’t think of it as a failure. It was interesting to ready your point of view. My situation was different as I left my husband because he was violent – it wasn’t failure, it was survival! I do agree that we should get another tick box that says ‘happily single no questions asked’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting Shelley, and I’m glad you’re in a better place now. This post came from a place where I was feeling pretty crappy about things; I usually see the positive in things – at least I’d like to think so! – and wondered whether I should publish this given that it is a pretty negative piece, but I thought that it represents part of what I’ve gone through during divorce ie negative moments, doubts, self recrimination etc. Whether for better or worse divorce sure isn’t easy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was interested in how you viewed divorce as being a failure as I never think like this, but didn’t read it as a negative – I thought you put across your feelings perfectly, and you did add the positive spin! I also write a motivational blog over on the Blogger platform and find that being upbeat 100% of the time isn’t good for my readers – they need to see the ‘real’ you and find out how you feel, cope, and remedy life’s ups and downs. I thought your post was great. Divorce isn’t easy (and I did have three children to cope with too!) but out of the pain comes a new beginning. Wishing you lots of love and laughter 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Shelley, I’ve started following your blog and look forward to having a good read 👍 We do our best!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. An hhonest view and I respect your eloquence in expressing what many feel – yet I cannot share that perspective these days. I’m learning that when I give something of real value (an expression of Love) that I lose nothing – in fact I gain – so there is NO sacrifice. No loss. Even if the other person chooses not to accept the gift.

    Equally, when my family structure changes form, I don’t feel a failure for discovering that my intention of ‘happy ever after’ is expressing itself in a different way. Who am I to control another person or even force myself to abide by a ‘promise’ that is based on laws to protect the inheritance of land and not the joyful CoParenting of couples who may or may not live in the same house together?

    I choose to be honest about not playing God with my or anyone else’s life. Focus on Love (which can mean letting someone go) and feeling Loved (not from outside sources – why make yourself a victim of others’ whims of emotion?) and suddenly there are no regrets, no sense of failure, and only positive emotions to feed into the CoParenting relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suzy and thank you very much for commenting. You have a great attitude and it would be nice to think I could get to that point one day. Divorce leaves a lot of scars that take time to heal, maybe time will offer me a different perspective. I’m glad you have managed to work things out well for you and your children.


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