Most of us marry with the best of intentions: kids, a scrappy dog from the pound, a happy, healthy home — and when the kids are older, growing old and gray together.
No one goes into a marriage expecting to divorce — but it happens. And if does happen (to you, or someone you love), calling the split a “failed marriage” is pretty off the mark. There were undoubtedly happy times in the marriage, kids may have been brought into the world, and more than likely, the couple spent a good deal of time trying to repair the relationship before deciding to divorce.
As a reminder that good can come of a marriage ending, we asked our readers on Facebook to share how they feel about the idea that divorce is a failure — and to share the reasons their marriages were of value, even if they didn’t last. See what they had to say below.
1. It was a stepping stone to a better life.
“My ‘failed’ marriage made me who I am today. The marriage wasn’t a failure. It was a necessary stepping stone. It was a relationship, full of choices, some with unfortunate outcomes. It ended for various reasons but my children, the life lessons and the growth I’ve shown since have all been successes.” — Aubrey Keefer
2. Spending decades with one person is hardly a “failure.”
3. A marriage where your needs aren’t met teaches you the importance of self-care.
“I didn’t fail at marriage. I gave everything I had to my marriage. I failed myself. I let my marriage become the only thing that mattered, risking my own health in the process.” — Beth Ellen Vasquez
4. Sometimes, losing a marriage means regaining your health.
“After we separated, I had two surgeries I needed. I had avoided taking care of myself for so long.” — Kris Russ
5. You and your ex had great times together.
“Why wasn’t my marriage a failure? Because when it was good, it was what people dream of having…” — Maia Benusis
6. It provides a chance to reinvent yourself.
“My unexpected divorce and job loss earlier this year has given me a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with my beautiful teenagers, reinvent my life and rediscover the true me. That’s a great opportunity at 50, not failure.” — Liz Kay
7. Two words: Your kids.
8. Divorce forces you to become a stronger, more effective parent.
“Divorce made me discover the much-needed strength I had buried deep inside of me for my two boys and for myself.” — Jen Elnar Parker
9. Think of it this way: Your relationship just had an expiration date.
“I prefer to think my marriage was successful, it simply had a surprising and unexpected expiration date. After being married for 30 years, it took a couple of years post-divorce to come to this conclusion!” –– Vicki Richards
10. You put in everything to make it work.
“I gave it my best. My children told me they just wanted to see me happy and these days, I’m happy.” — Carrie Spence
11. You might become a better person and parent after divorce.
“Along with two amazing kids, I have a better relationship now with their mom than when we were married. We’ve given up a shared house and bed for being better people — in my mind that’s as big a win as we can get.” — Bill Lennan
12. You shouldn’t be living life on a pass-fail basis, anyway.
13. You learned the value of self-preservation.
“I got out alive and have rebuilt my life into something better. I learned the lessons that I needed to learn and I’m a better person for it. I’ve always been giving and loyal and willing to do anything for the people I loved but my marriage taught me that you don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm. Now I can teach my daughter that while helping people is wonderful, you always put on your own oxygen mask first.” — Kate Fruehling
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