In this series we will look at each of the parts of a Thriving Relationship to illuminate when a person should get divorced. If you haven’t worked to add in the components of a healthy relationship, then you will never know if your marriage could have been awesome, supportive and connected!
Putting Your ‘House’ In Order, First.
Integrity Requires Setting Creative and Effective Boundaries
Getting divorced is a legal boundary. Getting divorced can be a healthy, effective boundary, but usually it is unnecessary and often devastating emotionally, physically, financially and socially.
Boundaries with Yourself
Before you set a boundary with the other person, I strongly recommend you look in the mirror. Here’s what I mean: you need to start by putting boundaries on yourself. Stop ignoring your needs. Stop trying to get anyone outside of yourself to make you feel happy. Stand in the bathroom, and look yourself in the eye, and apologize for being a total jerk towards yourself! You haven’t been kind to her. You have ignored her, and tried to numb her and placate her with behaviors that hurt her, like retail therapy (shopping compulsively), like emotional eating, like netflix binging.
Especially for women: Start with setting a boundary that from this moment on, I will never not care for myself again! Give up sacrificing yourself forever!
Start setting a boundary that you are important in your own damn life. Start spending time with yourself, taking healthy care of your body and finances and education, and deciding what your own values are! Become your own best friend, and stop blaming and being nasty to the person you married. Apologize for putting it on them for your own misdeeds towards yourself.
Now Set Boundaries with Those You Love
After you begin caring for yourself, you are ready to look at what boundaries you need to set with others. Setting boundaries is uncomfortable -if not outright painful!- in the beginning. You WILL need other people’s support. I recommend the book, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend as a primer and workbook for practicing boundary setting. This is super powerful if you get a group of people together and read a chapter a week as you support each other in setting boundaries. I participated in a study group like this at a time when I thought I was really good with boundaries. I was shocked how weak I actually was! This study made a huge difference for me.
Restoring Integrity Before considering Divorce
That’s right, ladies. Do not even think about getting a divorce yet! Until you have your life in order, you are not healthy enough to have a healthy relationship. You can’t possibly be a great partner until you have completed some work on yourself. Therefore, it is inappropriate to consider such a big, potentially devastating choice as divorce.
What You Can Do Now
So, let’s say your marriage sucks. You are fed up! You can’t live like this anymore! Okay, fine. Here’s what you CAN do NOW. Set a boundary WHILE you are working on yourself. Ask your brain and heart what you need to be healthy and safe.
For example, do you need freedom to not be solicited for sex while you know he is cheating?
Great! Move into the spare bedroom/office, or move back in with Mom (if she is healthy!), or get your own apartment. No need to even consider divorce while you are healing and restoring workability in your own life.
Another example, do you need personal space and time to begin eating well and exercising?
Great! Tell him you won’t be home after he gets off of work on M/W/F because you’ll be at the gym, and then visiting your therapist or girlfriend. Tell him when you will be home (9pm, or some reasonable hour where he won’t worry about your safety.) Tell him that this is your way of honoring yourself so you can stop persecuting him!! Allow him to help you create a plan for childcare, if applicable, if he is willing to. If he isn’t, then make your own plan. Do not wait for his permission to take care of yourself! (When you do that, you then resent him even though it really was your choice this whole time!)
Final example, do you need financial stability because he won’t get a job or he keeps running you into debt or he keeps lying about money?
Great! Separate your finances immediately!! Act like a grown woman, get your own bank account. Protect your share of the savings. Cancel all the shared credit cards. Let him know that you are now going to honor yourself so you can stop persecuting him when he makes money choices you aren’t comfortable with.
Also, love him or leave him! For example, either accept being his sugar momma, and let him know you love paying his rent, or hand the man a bill, and put his stuff on the porch and change the locks when he doesn’t pay!! That’s right! If you need a man who contributes financially, and your man doesn’t, then SET A D@^^N BOUNDARY and give him his self respect back.
You monitor your self respect.
Own your life as your creation, including where you have chosen to be a victim. (See our next post for details on the power of ownership!) Your partner can find someone else’s couch to sleep on! Or, he can put up a tent in the backyard! Stop whining about him to all your friends. Admit you are the one who has perpetuated this problem! This is a big step. And, email me, Darling. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve caused for yourself.
A Few Things to Really Consider Before Considering Divorce
Here are some items which I recommend you complete BEFORE considering divorce. This is pretty expansive, but it’s never all inclusive. Just know if you haven’t done the following, you are certainly not in a healthy enough place to make the best possible choice about divorce or don’t divorce!
- After you have practiced making your own well being a priority, and you have successfully created mental health for yourself with any support needed. Get a Basic Mental Health Assessment Here:
NOTE: *Well being might require separation from dangerous circumstances.
- After you have restored your basic physical well-being.
- After you have created financial stability for yourself See The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- After you have spent at least one year Restoring Integrity around rigorously honoring your word and living aligned with it.
Other Resources & Tools:
Oh wait, there’s more!
When it comes to getting yourself healthy, there are 2 more levels of the foundation! Those are called 100% ownership and Blank Slate. We will show you how to implement these in your life so you can make absolutely certain if your marriage could be awesome before you throw it out with the divorce water. Subscribe to Our Blog Here to make sure you get both of them in your inbox!
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