When a marriage ends, there are often a lot of “I should have…” thoughts and conversations. “I should have seen it coming.” “I should have been more attentive.” And the list goes on. “Should” is a very dangerous word. You can’t separate it from its close cousin – the feeling of regret. “Regret” then brings its partners, “blame” and “fault”. These are friends you don’t need during a divorce. There’s enough regret, blame, and fault going around already. What you need are new friends. Empowering friends. Friends that will help you grow from past experiences – not rub your nose in them. Perhaps what you need are a few new words.
Before you roll your eyes at the simplicity of this suggestion, consider the force that we’re talking about. What you say is very powerful. People believe more of what they hear themselves say than they believe what anyone else says. Sadly, people also have a tendency to say whatever thought pops into their head. And over time the uninspired words create an uninspired life. Instead of purposely saying positive things we consciously say negative ones. Let’s see an example.
Let’s say a man has been working extra hours and his wife has expressed feelings of neglect (or vice versa). Which sentence is more empowering: “I should spend more time with my wife” or “Because my wife and family are very important to me, I make time to spend with them”? Not only is the “Should” sentence more passive, it also places blame.
As you move forward with the next chapter in your life, you will likely do a lot of soul searching. Just be careful of what you say about yourself, your marriage, and your life. Ask your divorce attorney if he or she knows a good counselor that can help you with your new vocabulary and your paradigm shift.