One Question to Ask When Deciding to Divorce
Many people considering divorce get stuck considering whether to end their marriage and don’t choose — sometimes for years or even decades.
In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown writes about how when was in the middle of his first year of law school, he answered the question “If you could do only one thing with your life right now, what would you do?”
What struck him was that his answer wasn’t “law school.”
“That’s when I realized that in sacrificing my power to choose I had made a choice—a bad one. By refusing to choose “not law school,” I had chosen law school—not because I actually or actively wanted to be there, but by default. I think that’s when I first realized that when we surrender our ability to choose, something or someone else will step in to choose for us.”
That’s how it goes with these folks that don’t decide whether to end their marriages. By default, they do choose. They choose to stay married.
Here’s a bit of a classic example of how this tends to happen. One person hasn’t been truly happy in their marriage for years. We call them the “leaning-out” spouse. The marital issues ebb and flow, mostly it’s more “meh” than bad. At various points the leaning-out spouse likely scoured the internet, looking up all sorts of things about divorce. Maybe how parenting or alimony works. It’s possible they even picked up the phone and called a divorce lawyer. They may have even had a meeting and asked more about divorce – perhaps for information on mediation or who keeps the house.
But if you think about it, none of that really matters if you want to stay married. If you want to stay married, who cares how child support works in Connecticut.
If you are considering leaving your marriage, focus your energies on the one decision that really matters – the answer to the question “If you could do only one thing with your life right now, what would you do?”
Otherwise, you may allow your divorce research to delude you into thinking you’re making progress when it’s just keeping you stuck, avoiding the decision.
Which, again, is a decision.