Divorce and the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

I explain how a pb&j sandwich is a perfect analogy for marriage... and divorce!

Many years ago, in marriage counseling, my therapist once told me that marriage is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My first thought was, “well yeah, that’s obvious”. Okay, I’m being facetious. I didn’t immediately get the analogy so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t automatically make sense to you either. Here is the premise behind the analogy… Think about how you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (obviously with grape jelly because we aren’t animals here). You start with two pieces of unadulterated yummy soft bread, a tub of salty creamy Peter Pan peanut butter (because Peter Pan is the only brand I recommend or condone) and a jar of sweet sticky grape jam. I could go off on a side tangent here about the necessity for jam as opposed to jelly but that would take too long and it would totally screw up the title of my blog post. "Peanut butter and jam" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I digress… Back to the sandwich making. Starting out you have two very different major players in this sandwich saga; the savory peanut butter and the sweet Jelly. The ingredients represent you and your significant other (Naturally I want to be the peanut butter in my scenario) On one piece of bread you slather on a heaping amount of peanut butter because anything less would be uncivilized and a gigantic waste of time. On the other piece you spread the jelly on all the way to the corners so every last bite has that perfect amount of special sweetness. Now we’ve come to that glorious moment when the two very different but equal sides meet and are schmooshed together (yes, schmooshed is a word). This heavenly moment represents marriage in all its glory and messiness.

That all makes perfect sense so far, right?!?! Aren’t you astounded by how the analogy works so well to describe marriage? Well here comes the rub… When two married people come to the sad end of the marriage road and they decide to divorce, they are no longer the way the were when they started, just peanut butter or just jelly. Much like how you cannot ever totally separate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich once it’s been made you cannot walk away from a marriage without having some residue from your ex. You can never again have a purely peanut butter side or an untarnished jelly side once it's been schmooshed together. You will forever and always have both peanut butter and jelly on both pieces of bread from now on, forever and always.

That can be a sobering or depressing thought. Many divorced people choose to believe the jelly totally defines and overshadows their peanut butter. Others are tempted to never even acknowledge that they carry some jelly on their peanut butter bread because the jelly hurt them or was a narcissist or was flawed in many ways. It’s often easy to believe the jelly remnants don’t matter or aren’t even there at all. Embracing the residue of the grape jelly is more productive, freeing and honest. The jelly has changed you! Maybe it only changed you emotionally or maybe you have children from your pb&j sandwich. Whatever your specific situation, you have been changed and it can be good. The change has value to you and those around you. So, embrace the residue. Embrace who you are now. Honor the parts of you that have been changed. Sitting around wishing you’d never been a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is unproductive and won’t lead you anywhere you want or need to go. Sitting around wishing the jelly had never schmooshed their way into your peanut butter life is also unproductive. Instead embrace who you are NOW! Love who you are NOW!

If you are struggling to embrace the new you, I’d love to help you discover the wonderful things about who you are now. If you have questions or thoughts please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. And if you want to congratulate me on using the word "schmooshed" a whopping 4 times, please text me at 817-991-1722.

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