About Marriage and Divorce

by Sonja Ebbinghaus-Vuckovic, Germany (English 2nd language)

Huu, I just read the article‚ ‘Divorce: nothing to be ashamed of’, and yes as to all comments I read – it also deeply resonates in me.

I am after 18 years of being together with my husband, now in the phase of ‘separating’. What unusual word for me.

As far as I know you fall in love, you are together, you may get married, you have kids, you see it is not it, you try to rescue it, you fail, you struggle with giving up, the pain and sadness increases and all family suffers – then finally you decide to separate – you move out – one year later you get divorced. That’s it. A whole lifetime story.

After this whole setup – you are marked as ‘failed, used’. You may end up on the market of singles again or you may never open again to anyone.

But what if this whole process is not about failing – but about being true to yourself, your partner and all around you? What if – you actually take responsibility of your previous choices and get step by step, as far as it is possible, through them and get honest? Is this not a healing for you, your partner and your kids? Is this not a healing for all around you as they see someone feeling what is true for them and taking action?

When I got married I was pregnant and yes, that seemed the most normal thing to do – though I always said, I never will get married. So the word ‘marriage’ for me came with a lot of associations.

I can’t remember a single marriage as a child and later, including that of my parents, which I would name as the one I would like to have too. I feel the word ‘Marriage ‘ is so predetermined depending in what culture you live and social background – that it is like a heavy coat… you put on and can’t move freely. Should it not be the same feeling, if you are married or not to your partner? Why do things change when you put your name under the contract? Maybe because I did not know what true marriage is. And so I just allowed myself to get labelled and fit in.

Today, I see that my relationship and marriage did not work – not because I do not love my husband – but because I did not love myself in the past. I forgot who I am. I was separated to myself. So if I am not me, what can I offer to my husband and my daughter and all those around me?

All of what is coming now ‘in this separation phase’ is new to me. I want to take responsibility for myself and in the same way I take responsibility for all around and with me. I do not ‘just leave’ – I am open and willing to bring all the love I am. Hurts will heal and there will be space for more true relationships for all of us. If we allow.

288 thoughts on “About Marriage and Divorce

  1. Healing our hurts is fundamental in every relationship otherwise we carry ideals and beliefs that have nothing to-do with True-Love and we end up looking like ship wrecks life time after life-time, so how important is to heal and deepen our Love that is True?

  2. We can think of divorce as a failure but often that is just about pictures. There would be many marriages that no one questions because they are together, so the picture is a ‘success’ but there actually may not be love. Sonja what you have shared about starting with self love and then sharing love with everyone is a completely new foundation, instead of seeking love from others or partners which is what we commonly do.

  3. Looking around me as a child I felt the same, I felt I would not get married because it seemed meaningless, looking from the outside in it seemed like a trap that we all fall for. If there is no evolution for both parties then it is a trap one that we can get stuck in until we pass over and have another go.

  4. No matter what relationship comes to an end, most of us have hurts to look at and this is our responsibility to deeply explore with support so that we are then ready for another relationship and not have to repeat some of the things that happened in the previous relationship. After all relationships are about opportunities, just like jobs and families and everything in life really is – a constant offering of opportunites for us to grow and evolve with understanding of what life is really about – and life is not really about whether 2 people stay together or not, it is about so much more than that, so we cannot limit ourselves with a narrow view of life. This is a blessing I have come to see more and am still very much learning to put this into practice in all areas of life.

  5. It’s been true for me that self love leads to a reconnection to the love within. What I have realised is that becoming love again means sharing love equally with all, as it’s really just being myself, as opposed to the idea of giving and receiving love (as a doing) with a significant few.

  6. When we are able to let go of the pictures, how things should look like, where we should land, and when etc., we make way for truth to be expressed and shared.

  7. Thank you Sonja, this is pretty immense for a short blog! All the questions and observations offered open up such a vital conversation, as does your honesty, marriage is something we definitely need to talk about and examine what is not true. I also grew up seeing many marriages, some were very good companionships, some were very abusive and distressing. We have so many pictures, beliefs and ideals about marriage, all getting in the way of the true, loving, and evolutionary nature of relationships.

  8. I remember also the feeling of something shifting or changing in my relationship with my now wife when we got married. We were still the same people and still loved each other the same after marriage as before but there was a package of ideals and beliefs of sorts that came with marriage that we are both still unravelling and discarding and reimprinting.

    1. I have heard that marriage is an institution so it makes sense to me that it comes with a package of energy that we get doused in and unless we are aware of this we get let’s say infected with stuff that doesn’t belong to who we truly are, we are sold a lie in effect. That’s why I appreciate your honesty when you say you are both unraveling and discarding and re-imprinting.

  9. “Hurts will heal and there will be space for more true relationships for all of us. If we allow.” Very true, the more I have come to love myself some relationships have fallen away but those with deeper quality have opened or remained and grown.

  10. The words ‘marriage’ and ‘divorce’ can come laced with so many beliefs. When we see a relationship based on allowing and supporting each other to grow then this is the foundation of true marriage.

  11. Sonja thank you for your honest sharing I feel many of us go into a relationship because subconsciously we are looking for someone to love us because we are unable to love ourselves.

  12. Honesty is love so when we are being honest with ourselves and others we are love and therefore from this place of love we bring love to everyone. Honesty is part of the foundation of which my relationship with my husband stands upon. It is key in my relationship with him.

  13. We are fed such a lot of false pictures and ideals about marriage, is it no wonder that so many of them fail? ‘The happily ever after’ scenario is deeply embedded into our conciseness, but at no time are we ever taught that the most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves first and from that we have more to offer another. If we want to make our relationships work then we need to work on ourselves first also.

    1. We are set up to fail with the “happy ever after” scenario and other pictures about marriage and relationships, especially the one where love comes from another and is not who we are. We can actually live our love equally with everyone as it’s innate within us, we don’t have to limit sharing love to any one person.

  14. Space is amazing, and we tend to write-it-off but when we feel the expansiveness of the Love we are innately then feeling space becomes a blessing. When space is not felt our first steps should be to reawaken that glorious spaciousness feeling and that is simple for us all to do for we can all re-connect to space via our movements especially walking.

  15. Thank you for the honesty in your recognition that the real separation was actually you from your true self and thus you were not able to bring all the love that you are to the relationship. With this level of transparency you have the opportunity to build a more loving relationship with your partner in separation than you had when you were married – this truly has to be the way forward for so many who find themselves in your situation.

  16. We can have a joint life in separation from each other. We may choose to stay together or to separate. If separation is what we choose, we still have to choose what are we separating from: is it just the person, or is it to live in separation from ourselves?

  17. The act of getting married is all about commitment – commitment to self as well as to another and being willing to ride out the ‘tough times’ and be willing to build on expressing deeply and intimately each and every day. A part of my wedding vows years ago was to agree to not separate until we had worked through any issues or disagreements – once all issues had been worked through and we were fine then we would be allowed to consider separation. Now this might sound crazy but to us it was clear that in a marriage we would be challenged with each others choices but that this was part of the growth in the relationship that we would embrace, and somehow we felt that if we did separate, we would then end up in another relationship with the same issues we had not resolved previously. This is not to say that we did not stop to consider divorce on several occasions when we were not seeing eye to eye. But we knew that on some level we could work through the issues and be closer for it so we ended up staying together, and because of the willingness and openness on both our sides, we were able grow and deepen the relationship. That said if someone in the relationship is not willing and open you cannot force the deepening, you can only wait and offer space and sometimes like in Sonja’s case the space means separation – and thus there is no judgement, only more love on offer and growth in ways we had never fathomed too.

    1. Your commitment to your wedding vows is really inspiring and offers others an opportunity to also explore their issues before considering separation which would surely save some couples from much heartache whatever they eventually decided. It is only when we are willing to examine our part in any situation that we can open our eyes to how our behaviour has impacted another and work through situations without rancour and judgement.

  18. So many marriages are what I call false marriages in the sense that the people who are together are not happily together and do not deeply care for, respect and adore each other. I grew up seeing many marriages around me that looked more like a convenient relationship where one person used the other and more often than not took the other for granted and had expectations of another and quite frankly treated each other abusively. No wonder that Sonja never felt like getting married either when this is often what we get to see in society as a reflection of what marriage appears to be. But true marriage does not have to be like this at all and once we realise this we can be free to allow our innate tender and loving nature to be the leading impulse in all our relationships.

  19. A gorgeous and open sharing Sonja – thank you for your words and your honest expression. Divorce or separation is often seen as a failure, but in essence nothing is a failure if it is done with grace and deep love and that it is part of what is needed for each and every one of us to grow and evolve back to who we are. We cannot judge a relationship for coming to an end for if anything it is simply an honest indicator of where things really stand in terms of our relationship with ourselves (which may be lacking) or a a difficulty for what ever reason to open our hearts further and allow more love in and more love out. And the process of separation itself can be the instigator of allowing this further opening to happen.

  20. If we learn from a supposed ‘failure’ there is no such thing as failure, we are just learning. When a baby begins to walk has he/she failed? What’s the difference?

    1. Yes I agree esteraltmiks…I see couples staying together for the children and then because they are not being true to themselves there can be a lot of misunderstanding and unnecessary ill feeling and this of course impacts on the children. Ironically by staying under one roof and not really wanting to address their differences they bring an atmosphere that is more harming than healing.

  21. Changing our belief that when we divorce, or end a relationship, we have failed, changes the path of the healing that is so necessary for us to move on with our lives. If we are constantly thinking that we have failed, we are simply stuck in the past and all the what if’s, the blame and the pain, making it almost impossible to move on as we are weighed down with all the undealt with emotions; not a wonderful foundation to take into our next relationship.

  22. I had carried hurts and ill feelings from my divorce from forty years ago. It was a marker that affected all my relationships until two years ago. Being in love with yourself and really digging out those past hurts and excepting my part of the relationship has been more than freeing for me and for all the people around me.

  23. This story of ‘trying and failing’ in marriage is very familiar to me, as I am sure it is too for a lot a lot of people. But even though this is for many, a normal way for life to play itself out, I do agree that we should never give up on ourselves and the love that is there to be expressed – even to those we have said goodbye to.

  24. When we are willing to see the truth that a relationship we are in, in its current set up is not working, not inspiring us to deepen in love and to evolve, it is deeply honouring to call this out and if needed step away from the relationship. This does not mean there is less love for each other but rather an opportunity to deepen in love and heal that which was holding back our maximising what the constellation was offering.

  25. In truth, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Every experience has learning in it and a possibility for us to deepen our love.

  26. Divorce is not in even the remotest slightest sense a failure. One’s partner or oneself can change grow develop whilst the other prefers not to and such a gulf does not work and it is better for all to call it a day, stay friends, continue to love each other and see what happens next.

    1. It’s a great point Doug, we can change the nature of the relationship but we don’t have to change the love.

  27. There is much to take responsibility for in relationships and there is so much potential for growth and healing. Yet we can be laced with society’s ideals and beliefs without even knowing it and then the conflict and the disappointments flood the relationship to the point where the relationship has nowhere to go. What you share here is so refreshingly honest.

  28. When we can step back as you did Sonja and see that your marriage didn’t work because you didn’t love yourself enough to bring the fullness of you to the marriage. I feel this is something that happens in many relationships but without the honesty, we can so easily look to the outside and make it about the other person and blame them when things go wrong. We never learn this way, all we do is move on, but nothing truly changes.

  29. Thank you for your honesty Sonja for as I read your blog I could not but wonder how many separations and divorces of couples is because one or both of those people in the relationship separated from themselves first.

  30. What I love here is that there is no resentment or bitterness but just a willingness to learn and be open. Very cool.

  31. True relationships are not about bringing a portion of you to be with a portion of the other and then to ‘fullfill’ each other by fillng in each others’ needs. Sadly this is what most relationships are about these days. We are not taught to bring all of ourselves to life in general and then to relationships too. True relationships are about bringing all of you to each other to work together and hence this amplifies what each brings and accelerates what both can bring together – a very synergistic experience rather than one that relies upon the other for existence.

  32. Sonja, what a beautiful way of sharing your experience with separation and showing how this can be done in a way that deeply honours yourself and other(s). Divorce and separation are certainly seen in our society as a failure, whereas this certainly does not have to be the case. Two people may come together to spend time together and then their paths separate and they have other callings in life – to not separate and not honour the other callings would be the ‘failure’ in that case! Interesting how we can look at things from a different perspective and realise how boxed in we have been with our thinking! Thank you so much for your sharing!

  33. Of being in a relationship, I often find that it is in the tiny details that supports me to hold on to my sense of who I am, such as in the rhythm of our walking together, where we can each honour and claim the rhythm that we have and not to feel obliged to enjoin with the other, unless it absolutely feels natural and true to do so, in which case there is pure glory to be had.

  34. ‘Marriage ‘ is so predetermined depending in what culture you live and social background – that it is like a heavy coat… you put on and can’t move freely.’ That’s what we have made it to be, full of ideals and beliefs, arrangements without love for ourselves and the other, maybe with what we have made love to be but not love in a true sense.

  35. What is beautiful to read in this is the opening up that is occurring not a shutting down. Often when a relationship ends people can go into more hurt and a closing themselves off. What is great in this is the opposite is occurring, a coming back to you and in this more being brought out.

  36. There are so many, me included, who walked away from our marriages feeling that we had failed and that those around us, in many cases, were judging us. And then with the spectre of failure hanging over us we often began the next relationship still carrying the hurts of the previous one. Certainly not the energy to bring to any relationship

  37. “… but because I did not love myself in the past. I forgot who I am.” And therein lies the reason why our relationships go ‘pear shaped’, not because of how we feel about the other person, but how we feel about ourselves. When we make our inner relationship the most important one to master, then we naturally have a strong foundation upon which to truly love everyone, intimate buddy or dear friend alike.

    1. So true Rowena, to “make our inner relationship the most important one to master” is the key to having relationships that are true and loving.

  38. It is wonderful to know that we can make divorce a loving and caring process rather than something that is full of angst.

    1. Spot on Elizabeth, would it not be great if we could make this the ‘norm’ – if you are going to divorce, let it be done in the most natural and loving way and make this a normal standard. What an amazing way to transform society and allow people to see that divorce is not a failure when it is done with love and care and respect.

  39. I come from an up bringing and culture where arranged marriage was very common not that long ago. When I first heard about this as a child, I recall not feeling the essence of love in any part of the arranged marriage I saw and heard about. This felt very strange to me and I remember feeling relieved that I was not going to be a part of this form of marriage when I was older. Also at the same time, I got the sense that separation or divorce was definitely not accepted and was view as a failure and shame. Unfortunately, this view of separation and divorce is still pretty strong. I feel what you have shared here Sonja would be very foreign to most people in my culture. I am sure this will slowly change with time and especially when more ad more people reflect how loving it can be when separation and divorce is done with absolute love. With this, we begin to understand how supportive it can be when we make choices based on love and truth, and not based any ideals or beliefs.

  40. It is such a true observation you make that if you are separated from yourself it is not possible for the marriage to work.

    1. Yes a true observation but how many of us know that we are separate from ourselves because this is not how we speak or support each other from childhood. It is a travesty that the set up is so flawed and that as children we are championed for what we do, not who we are, therefore when what we do fails we feel are a failure.

      1. Yes, Lucy, it is very true that not many ‘know that we are separate from ourselves’, however, we all feel something is missing in our lives, evidenced by all the distractions – drugs, alcohol, sport, computer games, searching for a spiritual saviour, etc. When we truly ask, and find the answer, as to why there is something is missing, then we discover that the missing piece is ourselves.

  41. Divorce for me was one of the most powerful and evolutionary things I did for myself, so many prefer to stay stuck in marriages as they are in comfort and in fear of being on their own, this then becomes an arrangement as there is no true love.

  42. Saying Yes to a marriage is actually a Yes to yourself. A Yes to your evolution and as a result a Yes to everyone. The moment you commit to a unit of true love you offer this to everyone, as true love involves everyone around you.

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