How Final Is Divorce?


When I was a teenager, I attended the wedding of a couple at my church. Their adult children stood near them. They’d raised a family together for 20 years, divorced, and now years later were coming back to the altar to marry again.

Their story is unusual, but not unique. This week, Motherlode shares the story of a young man watching his parents divorce and remarry.

His story is remarkable for the quality of the telling, but also the sweetness of two people going their separate ways only to rediscover love where they’d left it.

What it brings up for me most clearly is how fluid our relationships are. There’s this popular conception that divorce is the end of everything, but that’s rarely true. Sometimes of course ex-spouses really do disappear forever from one’s life, but for most of us there are ongoing entanglements even after the marriage has ended.

If you have children together you probably need to continue some connection. There’ll be major life decisions you need to make, and college tuition bills to pay. Being part of a blended family, I’m very aware that my husband’s ex-wife is still part of our family.

While conflict and bad feelings are usually what push people into divorce, there’s no rule that says you have to stay angry forever.

For some people, life after divorce makes for a closer connection. In rare cases, it leads you full circle back around to falling in love. For others, like my own parents, there’s a peaceful distance in seeing each other at family reunions. They’re not about to fall in love all over again, but being apart lets them appreciate what they like about one another. They certainly get along better now than they did when they were married.

Photo: Cuban Refugee

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