“You focus on your children and one day you wake up and you’re not committed. You’ve fallen out of love: especially with your busy lives and three kids. I want my marriage to succeed with my whole heart.”
– Maura, age 37
In our preface, I wrote that I could never picture my wedding day. The concept of a wedding, or even a successful marriage, seems alien to me, as it does to many daughters of divorce. Many see this as a source of sadness. Our society tends to view marriage and family as the ultimate sign of satisfaction and fulfillment in a women’s life. To have a successful marriage and family is proof to the outside world that a woman has “got it all together.” She has created some semblance of stability and healthiness in her personal life, so she must be okay. Women, and especially daughters of divorce, can put undue pressure on themselves to find the right man, marry, and develop a happy home life. But if they possess this goal, it can present many problems. Most women from disrupted homes don’t have a healthy template to follow when it comes to nurturing and sustaining a committed relationship, making it difficult for them to know where to start. Perhaps the first step for daughters of divorce is to reevaluate their view of relationships and adjust their expectations.
Even in the twenty-first century, when ideas about the nature of modern families have changed, many notions about marriage remain the same. Women raised in divorced homes can be especially hard on themselves when it comes to making their relationships work. They tend to feel if their relationships end, there is something wrong with them. The reality is that with time people grow and change. This does not mean love has failed. Simply because love does not last forever does not mean there is something wrong with it. Relationships, whether they last three months or three decades, can provide their participants with the love, understanding, and intimacy they need at the time. Often, the courage to end a relationship that is no longer meeting both partners’ needs shows the greatest strength.