Recently I was sitting in a courtroom on recess waiting for the Judge to return. A woman began to talk to me. She was just finishing up her divorce and she was understandably upset. She began to explain that she never really wanted the divorce. As a divorce attorney that is usually the case. One spouse doesn’t want to get divorced but when the other does what choice do they have?
She continued to tell me that throughout the 12 year marriage she would throw the “d” word around a lot. Whenever there was an argument, whenever she wasn’t happy, whenever she felt like it. Several times she even went so far as to fill out the paperwork for a divorce and give them to her husband.
Her husband, eventually feed up with her use of the “d” word, filed for divorce and declared their marriage over. After 18 months of what turned out to be an ugly, emotional battle. They were divorced. She told me that her husband “is a good man” and that he “is the love of my life” she continued. She threatened him with a divorce all those times because she figured she could. She believed he would never file. He wanted to be married. But he called her bluff and now she is heartbroken, regretting her decision, wishing she just communicated what she wanted. The one statement that really stuck with me was when she said she thought a simple conversation could have saved their marriage.
I am no marriage expert but it stands to reason that when one spouse always threatens to abandon what should forever that doesn’t bode well for the relationship. Not only is this a manipulative tactic but it’s also selfish. And who wants to be married to a manipulative and selfish spouse. No one. So when you start to show that is who you are it should be no surprise when they throw in the towel.
If you marriage matters, don’t throw around a word that can actually end it. Have the conversation.