Healing through divorce


From Divorce

There is a poem by Jack Gilbert. The opening line is “Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.” The reference is the Greek story of Icarus whose father made him wings of wax and warned him to not fly too close to the sun or the wings would melt. In his youthful enthusiasm Icarus got too close to the sun, his wings melted and he drowned in the sea.

The rest of the poem is about Gilbert’s marriage – how people thought it would never last, his memories of times with his wife at the beach, in Paris, and that they eventually divorced. The closing lines of the poem are, “Icarus didn’t fail when he fell; he just reached the end of his triumph.”

As Robert Taibb points out, divorce can so easily feel like failure but it is also about triumph – that you both have helped each other to grow and change over the years, to be a different person than when you both started, and now you have merely reached the end. Your roads have divided. It is time for change, a new chapter.
Crossroad on Hill

From Different Paths

This post is not meant to encourage those struggling in a weakened marriage to pull the plug. If there are children in the family, personally I would do my best to maintain marriage unless it gets to a state, when divorce is unavoidable. If marriage gets to that state, divorce can not only start a new chapter in life, but can also heal ‘old’ wounds. I have experienced that with my own parents, who got divorced when I was in my teens after almost a decade of constant fights.

My parents always claimed that they stayed together for as long as they possibly could for the sake of us, their children. Too long and too late for us, as their troubled relationship with constant fights brought more damage to us than divorce. Both me and my brother felt a huge relief when it was all over.

To our surprise, our parent’s relationship improved dramatically after their divorce. First of all, they started talking to each other. And I mean talking, without shouting at the top of the lungs or blaming each other for all sorts of things. They started helping each other occasionally too. A few years later mum even dropped a few tears, remembering how wonderful my dad was when they got married. That came as a total surprise to me, as I’ve never heard her saying anything positive about him during their life together.

From The Letters

However don’t perceive divorce as an easy way out of hard-to-manage marriage. As Robert Taibb points out, the most difficult about divorce is the need to do well what was hard to do during the marriage – communicate well, consider the other person’s needs, keep your focus on what is best for the children rather than using them as battle grounds for power struggles or forums for dealing with your own grief and loss. While you may have different styles, you need to agree on the same bottom lines.

Most of all take care of yourself – like it or not you are a model for your children on taking risks, the courage of taking charge of your life, managing life changes while staying positive and well-balanced. If you are okay, so too will be your children.

Keep in mind what Gilbert said: You didn’t fail, you just reached the end of your triumph…

From TeenFictionBooks

Failing and Flying

by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph…

From Glory of Icarus



19 thoughts on “Healing through divorce

  1. I think divorce is different for everyone. I know mine was well past its use by date. I knew that but my ex had some illusion that if I tried harder it would all be ok. Never once suggesting that she might try harder as well. It was certainly a new beginning for me complete with mistakes being made all over again. But I do believe we learn and become wary but I don’t think we ever give up as love could very well be just around the corner and it would be a shame to have become impervious to it. Good post O.

  2. bkpyett says:

    Dear Otrazhenie, I shall put something on my blog for you tonight, hopefully. My heart goes out to you. Having been through divorce, twice, it isn’t something we’d choose, but it gives you a fresh start!
    much love, Barbara

  3. satzie says:

    Healing through divorce ?
    I wouldn’t say its a bad idea because it varies with each person, life experience, their surroundings, so on. It depends upon the ingredients they have used.
    What i liked the most with your old post https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/you-are-a-genius/, is that there are n number of solutions for a problem. So divorce alone cannot be a solution.
    But i think a short break is good, like in one of your another previous post https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/sometimes-when-youre-married-2/, taking time to be yourself, which Melanie posted as her views.
    I know there were some disagreements between your parents, from what i learned from your previous posts.
    But i didn’t notice that there was a divorce. I’m sorry about that. But i also see endless good that it could bring upon you and your brother.
    A divorce could happen for varied reasons, endless possibilities.
    Considering a divorced couple not due to a very worse reason, but just conflicting factors.
    I wonder if the father could love his daughter the same, when she becomes matured enough like her mother and staying with him most of the time like his wife used to.
    I wonder the same with the mother.
    My point is that, at times, its not just the conflicting factors that affects, but the inner darkness, inner ability.
    Just couple of days back i went to visit my father.
    When you hear something disgusting about your father, from a third person, its quite hard to digest it and hard to handle such situations.
    There was a couple of years where my mom was completely disconnected from my father, due to some simple conflicts.
    It seems my father seeked another woman for a short span of time, during this course of time, though not sure how far he went with it.
    It was not the first time, i have heard something about him like that.
    This time he admitted to me, the mistake he did this time, though not quite openly.
    He was quite ashamed about his own mistakes repeating it more than once, and he told me he is fixing what he had done.
    But again, i remembered one of your old posts, and accepted him the way he his.
    And then i saw he was so good, trying to stay within the crease, just was tempted due to surroundings.
    What i saw good in this situation wasn’t something he did, but something which he didn’t do.
    I’ve seen people, especially lots of woman and few men, who have traveled their long life with relatively-hard to manage partners, and still happy and satisfied.
    I think my personal preference wouldn’t be a divorce in even extremities, but rather to adjust accordingly as like a liquid.
    The more one gets close with the other, the more dirts one would be able to find, and if one gets into the hands of too much of pessimistic thinking, there are endless possibilities.
    Like in one of latest posts say, http://theprotostar.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/the-depth
    People shows thier good, positive, attractive attributes when getting into a relationship, during the beginning.
    And then the opposites starts coming out, the negativity, the dirts, the troubles – quite challenge to face this phase.
    And there is a conflict, break up. And it might put people into a bad opinion.
    Then a space, then the positive is recharged, negative fed to a stranger, then they again want to get together, but afraid.
    Sometimes people think, its better to be shallow, not to go deep, so our negativity doesn’t comes out and spoils a relationship.
    But i think the more one develops the guts, to see all the faces of the other person, life takes you to a wonderful roller coaster.
    Quite a challenge, that could tear your muscles, gives pain, then grows it. The more the muscles gets stronger, the more it could hold on energy.
    I admire your views, especially those pointed below that heart image.
    I don’t know much about Icarus.
    But if i was Icarus, i’m bound to fall many times, certainly not failure, and certainly not the end of the triumph.
    I didn’t read the poem you posted, was hard to interpret the metaphor, just some bad health.
    Good day ahead.
    God bless you
    Cheerz 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment, satzie. You are totally right – maintaining marriage or any relationship is a hard work with lots of ‘dirt’ and obstacles on the way. “Happy ever after” happens effortlessly only in fairy-tales.

  4. randomrose says:

    After 42years of marriage I think I gave it a good chance. I have now had six years of bliss.

  5. viewpacific says:

    My friends have noticed how happy I’ve become since the divorce. We coparent well. The kids are thriving. I tell my coupled friends to stay in relationship, that divorce alone is not the way. The way is through integrity to yourself. It also involves gratitude. As the poem highlights: Icarus flew!

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment. Glad that you managed your divorce so well and that you are enjoying a new chapter in your life. Well done! 🙂

  6. In modern times, all too often, the WANTS of adults over-ride the NEEDS of the children they produced

  7. words of wisdom regarding the subject of divorce. sometimes it’s the only way to enable two people to grow; i’m glad that it led to a better situation for your own parents. by the way, thanks for liking my blog post.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment. ‘Grow’ is a very good word. In my view, ‘Respect’ and ‘Dignity’ are the other two key words when it comes to divorce.

  8. haddyism says:

    I feel like I’ve been married for 50 years and I’m not even married. Strange phenomena

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