Some people are just not good for each other. And sadly, some people realize that soon after the wedding ceremony is over. Henry Ford said, “My best friend is the person who brings out the best in me”. I never met him personally but he seems a wise enough man from whom to take some advice. We can’t get along with everyone. Even the sweetest and most adorable judgmental free people in the world – aka children – discern quickly who they like and dislike. Intuitively they know that not all the children in the sandpit leave them feeling safe, secure and happy. So why do we assume we can get along with everyone?
Discerning who brings out the best in us does not make us judgmental, it makes us wise. Sir David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. an internationally renowned psychiatrist, consciousness researcher, spiritual lecturer, and mystic says “wisdom can ultimately be reduced to the simple process of avoiding what makes you go weak”. And we all know the people in our lives who leave us feeling less than enough. Less than safe. Less than secure. Less than trusting. Less than empowered.
It doesn’t make them a bad person. It makes them not a good match for us. When we have ‘met our match’ they are our best friend because they bring out the best in us. We want to be around them because we like ourselves better when they are near. These people make us want to be a better person. They make us believe in all that is good about humanity. Their light shines brightly and we know we can count on them to be a soft place to fall when things around us are not going as we hoped they would. When we are really wise, these people are also our spouses.
Sometimes, we meet and marry people that we really want to be our best match. Despite the evidence that shows otherwise. They align with all the dimensions and dreams we created in our head about who would be good for us and we love the fantasy of all that could be. We just didn’t pay attention to the warning signs that clearly indicated this person makes us weak, insecure, distrusting and disempowered. We didn’t pay attention because we didn’t want to believe it. Our fantasy was more intoxicating than the reality. And sometimes, when everyone else thinks they are perfect for us, we can also convince ourselves this must be true. Until we can’t anymore. And then we stay married because of the shame and the guilt of hurting the people around us; living a life of quiet desperation.
When two married people are not best friends and do not bring out the best in each other, sometimes the next most loving step for everyone involved is to separate. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your partner. Love your partner enough to give them the opportunity to find and marry someone who leaves them feeling ‘more than enough’.
A relationship should not be measured in years, it should be measured by how it makes us feel. A quality relationship leaves us feeling ‘more than’. More than safe. More than secure. More than trusting. More than empowered. It doesn’t matter what we do or say, don’t do or don’t say, it’s how we make each other feel that’s important. How do you make your partner feel? Do you generate a ‘more than’ or a ‘less than’ climate? If we cannot do that for our partners in life, why bother staying together? Relationship is the vehicle for spiritual growth. If our relationships bring out the worst in us, its unlikely we will be able to connect to the divinity within. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to stay together only as long as we have the potential to bring out the best in each other.
“The purpose of marriage” says Matthew Kelly, internationally acclaimed speaker, bestselling author of 7 Levels of Intimacy, and business consultant, “is to challenge, encourage and inspire one another to become the-best-versions-of-yourselves”. If your marriage is not doing that and/or has no potential for doing that, divorce is possibly the next most loving step to take.