Chris of Washington, DC says: “I didn’t want to leave, but I needed to — not just for my own safety, but for our mutual safety.”

“I was married for 6 years before I began thinking about getting divorced,” shares Chris of Washington, DC. “I think she was both relieved and devastated when I finally asked for it. I actually think she was preparing to do the same thing and preferred to do it on her terms and conditions.

“However, I knew we needed space apart to sort through our situation. So I created that physical space to help us see/think more clearly about where we were and who we were (individually and each other). During this separation, we realized what we already knew but were too close to see: we were deeply, irreparably incompatible in all the ways that we needed to remain together. We lacked the commitment/ability to make the necessary changes.

He says it took 6 months to decide, and the fundamental facts that kept him from doing it sooner were: Hope. Love. Vows.

What would Chris do if he could change anything? “I wish we had been able to salvage our marriage,” he says, “but we weren’t, for numerous reasons. I wish we had realized this sooner.”

Since getting divorced in April 2009, Chris says, now 48, says: “I am doing much better. It was a challenging and painful process to go through, but it gets better as everyone tells you! Time truly heals wounds, and I think that’s because people are incredibly resilient. Given enough time,  space, and support, we can overcome anything.”

Today: Chris is remarried to a woman he says he wishes he met twenty years ago. “I am MUCH happier,” he says. “I’ve married someone with whom I look forward to growing old and leaving a lasting legacy to our amazing children!”

How is his x-spouse doing? “I don’t know, exactly,” Chris admits. “Last I heard/saw, she was doing well. I hope the same is true today.”

Would he divorce again? Chris explains, “If I found myself married to the same type of person as my first wife, yes, I would. My current wife? No way. At least, it wouldn’t be my choice/decision, and that’s all I can control. But, I would respect her desires/needs and do all I could to support her self-discovery journey/realization. Divorce is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t wish it upon *anyone*. Unfortunately, it happens — and should happen — in certain circumstances.”

Here are Chris’s lessons learned: “People change in roughly seven-year cycles. If you’re going to remain married for life, BOTH partners must possess (and employ!) the ability and commitment to weather these cycles and the marriage’s changing nature. I think more marriages would survive if both people were willing to dive deep into their own self-awareness, self-love, patience, and willingness to forgive. How much is the right amount? Who knows? I think this variable is what makes marriage more of an art than a science.”

His advice for others: Chris says that two things got me through his divorce:

1. “Philippians 4:8 helped me (consistently) keep my head and heart in a good place (my “happy place”) — instead of all the chaos, drama, and devastation that can be divorce. This, in turn, helped my body function and heal faster.” See below. 

2. He also began getting regular massages, which worked out the stress in his body, and he firmly believes it also helped him heal and recover faster.

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.