Most couples get married with the intent of honoring their martial vows until death due them part. However, what’s intended doesn’t always occur. Unfortunately, divorce happens to many of us but it’s not because people don’t try. I thought I would be married forever but realized that my thoughts weren’t aligned with my reality. The idea of marrying my high school sweetheart appeared to be the next logical step in our relationship. We definitely loved one another but the reality as I can now honestly say is that the challenges we endured didn’t disappear when we said I do. As an inexperienced young person, you’re more optimistic than realistic. However, when you awaken to reality and begin living as your authentic self, you can make better decisions and life partner commitments. You will also find that you have no interest in forced, obligatory, or imaged based relationships because those unions usually don’t last “until death due us part.” People can only suppress their authentic self for so long and when reality reveals that things are getting worse verses getting better with no resolution in sight, divorce may occur. Divorce isn’t the easy way out as some may think because facing truths that you ignored, denied or could have possibly been manipulated is never easy.
People frequently ask me how do your ex and you get along so well? How is it that you can share holidays or look united at your kids events? How is it that your families still get along? I will be honest it wasn’t all roses in the beginning but it didn’t take me long to look at the big picture that no matter what my ex did or didn’t do in the marriage, we would always be connected because of our children. I didn’t want my kids to feel uncomfortable because the romantic relationship between their parents ended. So I made the decision that he and I would remain a family. What happened between us happened for a reason and if having 4 kids was the reason we said I do, I consider my assignment successfully completed. I learned a lot from my divorce and as a life coach, I share these rules with others. If you are considering or going through a divorce, I hope you find theses rules to be helpful.
Rule 1. Make a decision to co-exist with your ex. Sometimes you will have to be the bigger person. Yes, you may be tired of being the bigger person and feel taken advantage of when you do but peacemakers are blessed and everyone wasn’t gifted with this ability from God. Your purpose has always been higher than being a husband or wife, therefore try your best to co-exist. Remember, you should be a reflection of Christ, married or not.
Rule 2. Don’t take everything personal. This may be extremely challenging to do but if you know that you’ve done everything to save your marriage and your partner doesn’t want to continue the journey, you will have to let him/her go. When I went through my divorce, I knew that my ex loved me and I loved him simply because of our long history together but the challenges and habitual patterns caused the marriage to dissolve. I didn’t want to be inconsistently unhappy or inconvenienced by living inauthentically and I didn’t want my ex to live inauthentically, as well. Was I personally hurt, absolutely but I realized that taking everything personal was only going to weigh me down and delay my personal healing. My ex is responsible for his actions and behaviors, and it wasn’t my job to fix, persuade, convince or expect him to do what I hoped or wanted. He is his own person just like me; and sometimes people make choices that have nothing to do with you. I made a decision to trust God, focus on my kids, and stop taking everything so personal in order to have peace.
Rule 3. Don’t say negative things about your kids father/mother to them. This wasn’t an issue for me. However for some people they involve children in the ugliness of divorce when they should be protectors of their kids. Children should always be off limits regarding negative talk or discussions about the parents they love. It is simply wrong and only hurts the kids in the long run. You will have to attend extracurricular activities, graduations, weddings and one day share grandchildren with your ex. Your martial union may have ended but your family connection will continue so find common ground to respectfully co-parent. You kids are too important for you to not be cordial to one another. Your kids are the one thing you got right and if a parent is inconsistent in their parental obligations, you don’t have to say a word because kids are are wise enough to know and see it. Therefore, avoid negative insults and conversations that put one another down.
Rule 4. Be fair during the division of assets and property. Who gets the house, the business, stocks, alimony & child support will show you a person’s true colors. Use common sense during financial negotiations not revenge tactics when it comes to separating property. You know what financial obligations are required when it comes to the kids and basic necessities to survive. If you are not willing to compromise due to selfish and vindictive reasons know that it’s simply wrong and unnecessary, period! An attorney may be required to help educate and navigate you through this unfamiliar process; especially if you and your spouse can’t agree. However, attorneys are costly and some prey upon your situation and emotional state.
I remember seeking counsel to help me navigate through the process, some attorneys first question was does your husband have a pension and my retainer fee is a 5 figure number. Needless to say I didn’t use those attorneys because my intuition told me that they only cared about billable hours. I am not a vindictive person and I knew that my kids were too important to put a negative spotlight on our family name. My ex and I know what happened and I knew it was time to move on. I continued my search for an attorney who cared about my objective for peace. Luckily, I was referred to an attorney who told me during our first meeting that it was important for me to be amicable with my ex throughout the divorce process, simply because we have children and once the process was over their work would be done but my ex and I would remain in one another’s lives due to our children and it was best to find common ground through this difficult process. They even gave me the devotional book, Jesus Calling for encouragement. A retainer was still required as it should be for work performed but it was reasonable. The ability to mediate and agree is far better than a judge telling you how to distribute your money/property. Neither of you will get everything you feel you deserve in the divorce but you can negotiate, fairly. You know what your partner contributes financially, you know what it takes to survive, you know that you’ll now live in separate residences with financial responsibilities-so don’t be unreasonable when common sense is needed from both individuals.
Rule 5. Forgive. There will be things taken out of context, characters insults, hurt feelings…it’s an unfortunate part of the process due to heightened and sensitive emotions. Your ability to forgive has nothing to do with the other person and you may never get an apology for the suffering, pain, or hurt you endured from your ex; but forgiveness is a gift to yourself to release the weight of anger and bitterness carried in your heart. Sometimes people simply meet you where they are in life and they’re giving you their best. So forgive them and move on. Thank God for the lessons learned and look forward the one God destined you to share life with.
Rule 6. Don’t allow family and friends to get involved in the divorce process. It’s true that you will need family/friends support but use them as prayer partners or listening ears who give words of encouragement. Everyone will have an opinion but those opinions should be respectful, especially if you have children. Your ex and you will find a way to work through this process but family members tend to hold grudges a lot longer than you will. By all means be honest about your situation but for the sake of future peace be mindful of the things you say about one another. In addition realize that your family/friend circle is adjusting to your new status of being unmarried so allow them time to adapt to your new normal. Most family/friends prefer to remain neutral during your divorce because they are rooting for people they care about to get along even if the union ends in divorce. My ex and I still share the same friends; and my family still cares for him and vice versa.
Break ups and divorce aren’t easy but sometimes it’s necessary. What I know to be true is that life is too precious to live inauthentically or be with the wrong somebody. I did everything I felt was necessary to save my marriage but it wasn’t going to work. I had to surrender my fears, my control, my doubt and truly rely on my faith; not the pray and stress about it kind of faith…I had to have faith that surpassed all understanding. If you are in a relationship/marriage and more harm is happening than good or if you are the only one trying to make the relationship work and he/she isn’t trying to meet you half way it will only cause both parties to live unhappily for the sake of a nice house, good job, great kids imaged based life. If this occurs know that you aren’t really living; you are simply pretending.
Divorce isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to be extremely difficult or ugly; and if the divorce does become ugly it’s because your ex or you have a heart that’s filled with selfish motives and intent. So make sure you aren’t that person because it’s not right and karma is real. As you transition to the next chapter of life know that you will get through it. I am a living witness and I have never been happier in my life. I have joy, peace & live authentically; and my ex and I are family who get along well. Divorce is a process so be patient and learn to appreciate who you are and who you will become on the other side. If you have a heart that seeks real love know that your divorce is simply preparing you for the one who will ultimately be your true “until death due us part partner.”
Until The Next Blog,
Blessings & Love!