I was recently asked for advice on whether or not to get out of a bad relationship. This is a difficult subject because so many factors can play a role in a union: children, religion, money (sadly), one-sided love, extramarital affairs,…In fact, I once heard a man say that he HAD to stay married because he couldn’t afford to divorce his wife. No surprise, they ended up divorced anyway, just having wasted a few more years in misery. How horrible to be such a slave to materialism! He could have made happy memories that last forever instead of the temporary dollars that let’s face it – you can’t take with you.
If I take a Christian point of view, I can either say it’s a sin to divorce because you took a vow before God, OR I can turn to the Bible and find that Moses granted divorces when hearts turned cold and that God wants us to live in abundance of joy, love, and faith; citing that to live any other way is a disservice to Him. Islam does grant divorce in certain cases. Sikhism does not; suggesting that even in cases of domestic violence, it is better to defend yourself at all costs than to divorce. Most religions will strive to help you stay committed but if it is not possible, your religious official will hopefully present you with a merciful way out. Each religion has its own viewpoint on this subject but fact is, times have changed since any religious texts were writtten by mortal men and surely none of them could foresee the world today. So has religion left us in the cold? I don’t think it has. Pray or meditate for answers. Faith is within you. Try some – in your God AND yourself. You might be surprised!
My mother divorced my TYRANT of a father after enduring over 20 years. When she was asked why she stayed so long she said, “I stayed for my kids. I waited until they were older to finally leave him.” Little did she know that all the while we were growing up, we hated him, feared him, and fantasized about them divorcing. We only wanted my mom to be happy (and ourselves to escape the tyrany). I am so sad she wasted so much time with him, but thankfully she is independent, happy and living life to its fullest now. Sometimes it is better to be alone than with the wrong person.
In my aging years now, I can admit my viewpoint on commitment has changed as I have become wiser. I never knew what true love was when I was younger and married; I had different expectations of marriage, albeit stupid ones. I kept trying marriage, hoping for the best, holding on to the same beliefs and life but expecting change. Marriage is not about acquisition of things or people, or meeting the expectations of society and family, or about the permission slip the judge that never even met you signs saying you can marry each other (marriage licenses are really just state government revenue generators and the official who gives you permission rarely gives a hoot about your relationship. Look up the history of marriage license for a real shock!).
Marriage is about being a team through it all; best friends and lovers of like mind, goals and values who care more about the other than themselves. It is a life of giving, not taking. And NEVER enter a marriage thinking your spouse will change. If you really love them, you wouldn’t want them to change, you love them as they are, unconditionally. Also, know that everything and everyone in your life is temporary. Even if you make it until death do you part, you will still part, so take nothing for granted.
My harshest answer in the past was this: People come into our lives for a reason, either for us to help them or them to help us. When the purpose is served, and the bad outweighs the good, and both parties clearly and adamantly do not want to serve the relationship anymore, then your staying is perhaps a waste of precious time and peace of mind. In this case, you must ask, “Is staying together keeping us from being happy?” If so, negotiate a surrender, or wait long enough and perhaps God will separate you when He can’t take seeing it anymore. Life is short to waste in misery. Neither God nor your family would wish that on you anyway.
For my brighter answer: When you do meet the right person, you just KNOW, with every cell in your body that you are meant to spend your life with them, and they feel the same. As my beloved put it, “It is like a spiritual awakening.” You both work to keep love growing and support the other, as if your own light would extinguish without the other person. Many religious texts refer to this as being one soul/light in two bodies. True love is deep, and rare, and worth anything life throws at you. If you don’t have it yet, never give up hope. If you have it, may you forever bask in the joy it brings!