Divorce is always sad, but does it have to be a knock down drag out disaster that resembles Scorched Earth retreat strategy? It is a common a right of passage today so why not re-think what we do to and for each other when we divorce? Are we to think vengeance and murder or should we try to ‘Live and Let Love’.
I interviewed a many years divorced and re-married woman whom I thought should have written a book on her handling of this difficult passage and here are her tips and secrets for ‘keeping it as together as possible’ in the middle of the storm. The most common break up periods are after the 1st, 21st and 15-16th years of marriage. The last one is usually the most messy. There are frequently adolescent children involved. What to do?
The fact is, there are some prerquisites for ‘a decent divorce’ and the main one is the upbringing of the divorcing partners and whether they’ve been left with a healthy self-esteem or not because, like it or not, it is the odd divorce that doesn’t lay siege to self-esteem. When this esteem is threatened, most of us are not very nice to whom we think of ‘the enemy’. The reality is that more divorces happen among people with unfulfilling and/or deficient upbringings and poor support systems. These kinds of people find it harder to tap love and altruism as they proceed. However, this fact does not mean they have no point of reference for creating a ‘live and let love’ experience. We can always all make the effort to use free will and choose the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.
And the basic tips:
A) Decide if the marriage can/should be saved, if not you will have to hold your nose and jump. ‘Trial’ separation is normal but there is no such thing as ‘nearly divorced’ if you have to go that legal route
B) Check your self-esteem, upbringing and support systems and find your personal anchors. Include prayer or recognise that there are forces greater than yourself which direct life.
C) If this fails, use the Golden Rule and use external foci to guide you:
1) If you have children, focus on the best for them and it will help define your behaviour
because there will usually be some nastiness, even in the most amicable of situations.
2) Foster and value precious moments with them
D) Attempt to admit both parties have made mistakes and sublimate the essentially selfish act of divorce to the kindness of releasing something that has gone irrevocably bad or was wrong in the first place. If the fault is largely yours, have the grace to act accordingly.
E) Switch off the business of ‘the woman is wrong’ if you are leaving because staying would mean, and I quote, ’emotional death’.
F) Try to support each other’s weaknesses…and if there is one, as far as possible, leave the other man/woman out of your personal deliberations. In most, but not all, cases, (s)he is not the solution to your problems but the symptom.
G) Promise yourself that only if you are not working and will be the chief custodian of your children, have a terminal/chronic condition, etc., etc., should you even think of taking more that 50% of your partner’s income and goods, no matter what the law allows.
H) Sublimate yourself and let the children vent and blame you…accept the blame and take their very common but wrongly assumed sense of guilt from them. They are not guilty and must know it. Bend over backwards to reassure them of your love and support.
I) Children often do better if they are with their parents during this tough time, only send them away if mental or bodily harm is a possibility. Take your breaks from them if necessary but if you send them to boarding school, or grandma etc., for the long term, they may be scarred for life.
J) Use all the backup from B) above to go through the tunnel to the clover, it will be dark sometimes. You may be the only one of the partners who thinks of the higher good.
K) We are all different, what works for one will not work for another and the lady I interviewed tried meditation and counselling and they weren’t for her. She determined her divorce would be something of which she would eventually say, ‘This too shall pass’, so she kept a madly intense journal of her inner angst called her ‘Misery Chronicles’ and when she felt she was sailing in fair winds burned the journal, symbolically erasing that chapter of her life.
Yes I know, easier said than done and now that the lady has had a chance to learn about what is really involved in marriage, she is under no illusion that it is easy nor would she do it again but she believes the rewards are greater than the trials in a working marriage and would not change her life of her new husband for anything… Like one couple told me, “Murder? Oh yes, divorce, never!” 🙂