It seemed like a normal enough week. I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while to discuss some work things and was excited to catch up. I couldn’t wait to hear about how life was going, how her kids were, etc. When she said the D word I sat in shock like an absolute idiot, but divorce isn’t a word that has much of a follow up. It kind of takes your breath away like a punch to the gut. Within the same week the same word came again from two other friends, none of who knew each other.
I’ve heard, as I’m sure you have, about people placing bets on whether a couple would last. To be perfectly honest I had a friend of my husband’s from high school blatantly tell me he was shocked my husband made it down the aisle since he never thought he’d get married (I’ll let you imagine how great that felt the day of my wedding). But none of these couples fit that bill. These aren’t people you thought were so in love, they are people who were in love, and for various reasons, it fell apart.
How do you not internalize it? How do you go back to your own love and not live in fear of it falling apart? The reality is couples never set out to divorce but it happens. In America couples divorce every 36 seconds, over 2,000 a day. Don’t ever think you’re immune or special. Work every day at your marriage. Love may be strong but it isn’t unbreakable, like a fire it can burn bright but will wither away if it isn’t maintained. Once work is done and kids are grown your spouse is the one that is still there, and that love is precious.
More importantly, how do you support a friend when love falls apart? The best advice I have is to just be present. It is okay to ache for them. If they text or even call, answer. Make time for that dinner or lunch, be an ear or even a shoulder. Love them as much as you can through it.