The Thing I Like About …

Dark Water: the part where the divorce gets easy.

In Dark Water, Dahlia moves with her little daughter into a new apartment building after she and her husband were divorced. It’s clear that she’s a good mom, and that the dad is a good dad, and that both parties are actually pretty good people all round. Yet their divorce, like so many, is full of bitterness and vague hostility, with each party fiercely defending the right to spend time with the daughter, and with each party assuming that the other will stonewall at every turn.

But then, after dealing with the supernatural and stressful events that happen in the movie, Dahlia has a change of perspective.

She meets with her ex-husband and tells him that she is now willing to accommodate one of his requests. He’s surprised, but she assures him that she knows they can do better than they’ve been doing, and that she wants what’s best for the little girl. Her ex-husband is extremely relieved, and instantly begins to reciprocate this openness. In an instant, the entire relationship alters to everyone’s benefit.

I know that divorce isn’t easy, even under the best circumstances. I know that not everyone is a good parent, or even a good person. I know that. But in the realm of “for the most part,” I also know that our egos, our fears, and our drama can prevent us from making the best of a thing; we don’t want to give an inch, because … well, because … because we don’t want to give an inch. But if we give that inch, there’s a chance that the situation isn’t actually as bad as it seems. If we give that inch, we may just find that the ego is still satisfied, the fears are quelled, the drama is dismissed – and all parties can become the people they would rather be. If we give that inch, maybe we’ll find the reprieve from hostility and bitterness that we were looking for when we got the divorce in the first place.

And maybe it’s in all kinds of situations and not just divorce. Maybe if we give an inch, we’ll find something easy and good and surprising, in all kinds of relationships (or ex-relationships), in all kinds of ways.

We just have to be willing to give that inch.

It’s only an inch.

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