Don’t let her go

Jonathan Swinton

Do you wonder if your relationship is over? Or, when should I consider divorce? While there are circumstances where divorce may be appropriate, too often it is the default solution.

There is a song I heard recently by a group called Passenger that had an insightful message about these questions that struck a chord with me —

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow

Only know you love her when you let her go

It is easy to miss something once it is gone. I can think of many things in my own life that I miss. I miss the warmth of my childhood home on cold winter mornings. I miss my old red Jeep that I drove in high school and college. I miss my many friends I have made traversing through life that I rarely see because we have all moved in different directions throughout life. I miss the excitement and anticipation I felt in my young adult years when I believed the world was there for the taking. What do you miss? What would you miss about your spouse if they were gone?

I recall an impactful moment in my young life. My father took me to visit an elderly neighbor. This good man was respected in the community. He had been a mentor to my father and many others. His wife had died only a few months prior. On our visit this lonely man looked at my father and said, “Do you know what I am struggling with the most? I can no longer turn to her and say, ‘Look at this.’”  This man longed for his daily companion that he could share the most insignificant things with.

Far too often I work with couples that try to explain their reasoning for giving up on their partner, cheating or leaving their spouse. They talk about their lack of similar interests, feeling they are too different, they lack chemistry, they have a poor physical attraction, or just that someone other than their spouse is more attractive. I wish they could have been in that room with me when I was a child to hear the wisdom of someone whose priorities were in line. If you can realize that you can be happy just knowing you have an interested companion to say, “look at this,” you can truly find joy in your relationship. If you can’t, you may only know you love her when you let her go.

Dr. Swinton is a relationship and mental health expert with Utah State University Extension in Sevier County. If you have questions you would like him to confidentially address in this column, email him at

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