6 Things I Learned From My Parents’ Divorce


1.Don’t get married for the sake of others.

When my brother was a child he asked my mother how my father proposed to her. She laughed and said,

“He put a gun to my head and said, ‘Marry me or I’ll shoot you.’”

There was some truth in it, I guess. My parents weren’t exactly forced to marry each other, per se. Rather, they were pushed to get married because of the time they lived in — my grandparents didn’t want the neighbors to talk because my father had stayed over for a night to play cards with my mother and her siblings. My grandfather encouraged her to get married as quickly as possible, as he was relatively conservative. This was in the 1970s.

Sure, some rushed marriages work well depending on the level of filial piety and respect you have for your parents’ wishes. But most of the time, it happens exactly like those sappy Chinese dramas. You marry into a family that has a terrible mother-in-law that is out to get you (or think you are out to get them, or their wealth), or one with an abusive husband who cheats in the open. The main point is, don’t get married because other people want you to, but rather because you are in love and you know all sides and characters of the person you are marrying.

Why marry a stranger?

2. Don’t date a Chauvinist Pig.

Chauvinist Pig: A man who thinks his gender is superior, and that this justifies any behavior towards women.

Someone once told me, “the biggest character flaw of a man is his ego.” A man suffering from the MCP (Male Chauvinistic Pig) syndrome will never let his guard down on protecting his pride — even if he was in the wrong in the first place. With a patriarchal approach to forming families, with the root so wrong, how will there be growth?

3. Always have an opinion.

An opinion may not be definite, and it may not even be well-received. But still, have an opinion anyway.

“Why should I have one?” She asked. “It’s not like he’d listen to me anyway.”

Your opinions are what make you. It is a judgement and estimation of your own ideas. Without it, you lack any form of real self-expression. When you lack self-expression, people lose respect, and they will step all over you if given the chance.

4. Children are products of your love, not objects of emotional blackmail.

I spent countless years listening to one side of the story. Being young and gullible, I spent my youth stuck in the middle of a war that could only be fully described as mentally and emotionally torturous. I questioned the actions of the ones who really loved me and most of the time, I was used as a chess piece in a never-ending game of emotional blackmail.

My mother lived by these words in her actions:

Luke 6:29. “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also.”

She never retaliated against the slander against her, by own husband. I only stood up for her when I realized enough was enough. I had just turned 16 then.

5. Siblings are your saving grace.

Throughout my teenage angst years, I was placed in an extremely volatile situation. My grades were going down with my self-esteem, I saw no point in studying and I determined that I didn’t want to have a plan because it was just easier to not care.

My siblings were there to see me through the extremely bad days, including the times I came home with a tongue stud (twice) and a belly stud (twice). Their methods were unconventional, and a notch off what a typical siblings would do, which is “cool!” “Where did you get it at?” or “I want one, too!” (In retrospect, I was only 14 going on 15, and schools could suspend you or punish you should you be caught with one). Instead, I had curfews, confiscations and countless heart to hearts.

And finally, it got through my thick skull that indeed, I was wrong — and that I needed to get my life in order. I don’t think I could have realized that If they had given up on me then.

6. Love dies only if you let it.

Love changes in so many ways that no one really realizes it at first. It can change from real acts to kind words, and as the years go by, they can eventually become empty promises.

Remember, there are going to be days when you wake up and all you can think about is how much you can’t stand the person sleeping beside you. The one who takes up space, steals the blankets and probably told you to stop eating the leftover deserts last night because you looked like you were getting fat. But keep chasing the person anyway, don’t stop trying to know each other, to love each other, because if you do — it will die. You both will die for each other. 

Love is always a choice. It could be mistaken as a feeling at first, but when the feelings die, that’s when you make a choice. To fight, or to give up. I won’t give up.

image – kevin dooley