Failure can be both positive and impermanent. (The same can sometimes be true of a marriage.)
In my days of training facilitators to lead Divorce Recovery support groups, I taught groups of caring, sensitive people to avoid the expression “failed marriage”. These days, I say it (judiciously), and I like it.
Granted, I would not describe any else’s divorce as a “failed marriage.” We don’t get to define the success or failure of anyone else’s relationships, regardless of how they end or do not end. However, my first marriage failed, and I don’t mind saying it.
I say it because as a work in progress I appreciate and embrace failure. I do not enjoyfailure… I use it to learn.
Failure teaches us the lessons that nothing else can (like who we are when we don’t get what we want, and how we can do, be, and love better). It sets us up to deeply relish our successes.
And our failure allows us—if we are willing to be gentle with ourselves—to become safe for others in their failures, to lift them up, and to transform ourselves into a force of compassion and positive change.