Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size

What Your Friend's Divorce Means for Your Marriage

"We're safe. Aren't we?" continued...

Would I be happier single, too? "Don't compare the best moments in your single friend's life with the worst moments in your own," says Tessina. "Develop a skill that will serve you well throughout your life: reality checking. What would your life be without your spouse? Financial status? Household workload without someone to share it with? Going to bed alone?" Suddenly, a man whose biggest offense to date may be forgetting your wedding anniversary doesn't seem so bad. Even if the image of your footloose single future is appealing, that doesn't mean it's time to call a lawyer. "If there's something you're really longing for," says Tessina, "you need to talk to your husband about it."

How strong is our marriage? A friend's divorce, says Tessina, is a great opportunity to discuss the health of your relationship with your husband and reaffirm your commitment. For Diana, her cousin's divorce has led to talks with her husband about their fears and desires for their future. "I think in the end we're closer," she says. "Seeing the extreme pain the divorce and the affair have caused my cousin and her children has showed us what we don't want."

But ideally, you're not waiting until someone else's marriage hits the rocks to nurture yours. Keep the temperature of your marriage from reaching boiling (or, just as bad, cool) by instituting "state of the union" meetings, suggests Tessina. "Set aside a sacred period to talk about what's working, what's not, then focus on solving problems. If you do this regularly, you'll find problems are usually minor and easy to solve," especially because you'll be tackling them before they fester into the resentments that put your marriage at serious risk.

Which brings us back to the original question: Could it happen to us? The marriage-smart answer is...yes. In fact, one of the more dangerous feelings a friend's divorce can inspire is invincibility. "When you take comfort in thinking, That couldn't happen to us, you have to be able to answer, Why not?" says Greer. "You have to see concretely what your strengths and resources are and how you work together to overcome problems."

Watching a marriage dissolve is one thing; watching a couple make it back from the brink can be the most bracing lesson of all. "We certainly have friends who were in a downward spiral, but then recovered," says Jessica. "I think you have to make a decision: Do we want to do the work to improve this relationship and make its cycles of ups longer than the cycles of downs?" Lisa, a 40yearold mother of one in Madison, WI, admits that when she was single in her 20s, she felt a little smug every time a friend got divorced. But now that she's married, when a couple she knows splits up, she just feels sad, she says: "It reminds me to let my husband know how much I love him, to take better care of my marriage, and to hold it dear."

Today on WebMD

flowers behind back
Article
Upset woman sitting on bed
Article
 
couple kissing
Article
Exercises for Better Sex
Video
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article