In this generation, it is not uncommon to be affected by divorce. Whether it be directly or indirectly, it is not unusual to have experienced the effects of divorce yourself or be close to someone who has. My parents have been divorced for 6 years now. It has been a rocky 6 years, but the knowledge I have gained from their choices and mistakes are something that will remain with me forever. Their divorce has led me to discover more realizations about life and love than I ever would have imagined.

1. Don’t rush into marriage.

Make sure you truly know the person you are choosing to spend the rest of your life with. No one goes into a marriage anticipating a divorce, however sometimes it happens. It sucks for everyone involved. To prevent this from happening, try to date your partner through all the seasons. Growing up in Utah, I know first-hand what it’s like to be  spoon-fed marriage as soon as you graduate high school. Most of the time, this is where mistakes occur. Make sure you are mature enough and completely ready for marriage. Don’t get hitched  just because you think it’s the next step in your life.

2. No love will be successful unless you learn to love yourself first.

Don’t forget that no matter how much you love the person you decide to spend your life with, you will never reach your full potential of happiness unless you have learned to love yourself. It seems almost impossible to love with your whole heart and soul unless you have accepted who you are. Self-loving is just as important as loving your partner unconditionally. This includes having respect and self-worth for your body and soul.

3. Communication is the key to success in any relationship.

Divorce will show you first- hand that not having good communication skills or the ability to communicate will crumble and eventually destroy a relationship. You have to be able to express your feelings using “I messages”.  Blaming and accusing your partner of things will lead to strain and conflict within the relationship. Make sure you are able to recognize how your partner communicates and what makes them feel valued. Sometimes it’s the smallest moments of communication that make the biggest difference. “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. “ – Maya Angelou

4. Never stop making efforts.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life once you are married. Don’t neglect to nurture the relationship that’s right in front of you. Life gets busy and at the end of the day you just want to go home and crash but, it is crucial to make time for your significant other and make them feel like they are a priority. Never put your love and relationship on the back burner. That is when unhappiness and dissatisfaction settles in.

5. Be confident and capable of supporting yourself as an individual.

When there is inequality in a relationship, marital troubles and divorce exasperates those differences.  If one person’s career holds more weight, those issues always show up in conflict. I have seen it happen many times when a couple gets divorced and one person is left with nowhere to turn because of career sacrifices. It’s important to have a plan and a passion that makes you an equal to your partner.  It’s good to be independent and not heavily depend on another person for financial or emotional stability in any marriage.

6. You will go through more than just “for better and for worse”.

I always thought love and relationships looked easy. So why is it that the divorce rate is almost 50%? That’s a terrifying statistic. When you get married and make your vows to be with each other for better and for worse, most people do not anticipate the trials and tribulations they will be put through in their marriage. You will have to climb mountains with your partner. You are going to go through amazing times where you feel on top of that mountain and some low times when you feel like there is no way you can continue climbing. If your partner is not there for you in both the good and the bad times, never leaving your side, then you deserve better.

7. Everything happens for a reason.

This sounds cliche, but it is true. Like I mentioned before, no one enters a marriage anticipating a future divorce. If you do, you should not be getting married. Even in a relationship that seems perfect, it can take a turn for the worse. Sometimes people aren’t meant to be. People change. It’s inevitable. My mom always said, “You can change with each other or change away from each other.” No matter how difficult splitting up may be, sometimes it is for the best. Do not ever let yourself get in a toxic relationship. There is no reason to be anything less than exuberantly happy.  On the bright side, going through a divorce whether it be first hand or second hand, makes you smarter about love.

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