Mel Robbins: Fight for Your Happiness

UPDATED: May 13, 2024
PUBLISHED: August 14, 2012

My friend Lisa called and said, “There’s something I need to talk to you about… in person.”

We agreed to meet at a park and walk our dogs together. I felt panicky, sure that I had done something wrong.

My heart pounded as I got out of my car. We hugged, unleashed the dogs and started walking. I asked how she was doing, and she replied, “I’ll be better when I get this off my chest.”

I braced myself for the worst: She hated me. Our daughters were no longer friends. I was a lousy mother.

“Michael and I are getting divorced.”


“Michael and I are getting divorced.”

“Wow. Really?”

They were close friends of mine. I had no idea they were in trouble.

We walked in silence.

“I’m really sorry, Lisa.”

“Don’t be. For the first time in years, I feel happy.”

Related: 17 Quotes to Help You Find Your Happiness

As we walked and talked, Lisa explained what was behind the divorce.

Over 23 years of marriage, they had focused all their attention on managing two careers, raising three kids, spending summers at the beach, taking care of two dogs and building a life as a family. From the outside, their marriage appeared perfect: great kids, big careers, a beautiful home, awesome dinner parties, a beach house and plenty of money.

But inside, Lisa felt miserable. She and her husband had become roommates—they hadn’t touched one another in years. She laughed less and less. She gained 30 pounds.

After years of drifting apart, they had nothing in common but the kids. They tried their hardest to save the marriage but found that there was nothing left to save.

Many couples stay together “for the kids,” but I’ve never liked that philosophy. Lisa and Michael could have done that; they had five more years before the children were out of the house, but to what end? To teach their kids that marriage means no affection, no laughter and no connection? How does five more years of drifting help your kids? How does pretending help your kids? How does putting off happiness serve your kids?

It’s sad when a marriage ends. But what would be sadder is if two extraordinary people—who have truly tried to make their relationship work—stay together unhappily, wasting precious time out of guilt. Life is a wonderful experience, and you deserve to be happy as you live it.

I told her I was proud of her and that we would support them through the ups and downs of the next chapter.

We went out with Lisa and Michael the other night for dinner, and so far, things are all right. The kids have been told, and although it’s emotional, they weren’t surprised and are doing OK. One of them even said, “Now everything makes sense.”

In life, focus aids growth and success in every area—business, personal, spiritual. Lisa and Michael are turning their attention to being friends and parents, to maintaining the feeling of family, and to supporting one another in moving on.

At some point, something you care about will wither away: your career, your business, a personal relationship. It happens to everyone. There will be a million reasons to keep coasting along rather than to confront the fact that something must radically change. Don’t.

It takes a tremendous courage to admit the truth—that you are miserable—and then fight for YOUR happiness. You must. It’s never easy to navigate a major life change, but nothing worth fighting for is easy.

Related: What Happy, Successful, Optimistic People Know About Life

Mel Robbins is a contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine, best-selling author, CNN commentator, creator of the “5 Second Rule” and the busiest female motivational speaker in the world. To find out more, visit her website: To follow her on Twitter: