How to Have a Loving Divorce.

Via on Aug 11, 2012

I never thought I would be writing a piece on divorce.

After my parents’ not so amicable divorce, I swore I would never get married if I couldn’t sustain it for a lifetime.

I’m divorced.  

The difference between my divorce and my parents’ divorce is that we kept our love whole; we are friends and partners. We are a family.

My ex husband Keith and I met in college at the age of 19. We married at the age of 24, had two daughters and divorced a few days shy of our eight year wedding anniversary.

Family, friends and strangers are astounded with the graceful parting of our marriage.

We receive the question all of the time, “How are you able to do that?” Our answer: “Because we love each other.”

I had the foresight (because of my experience as a child of divorce) to protect the foundation of my relationship, for the love of my children and their precious childhood. I refused to destroy their innocence.

When our daughters draw a picture of our family, they draw the four of us holding hands under one roof. We are proof that divorce is not fated to divide a family; it can enforce and strengthen its foundation. We are an unshakeable team, with an indestructible roof of love.

We saw the whole picture. Our marriage was its own pulsing being, its heart stopped beating, but our love did not. Divorce is not the end of  love, it is the cessation of a pledged definition. We redefined our bond.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been asked about the secret to our peaceful un-union. Here is the path Keith and I walked, step by step.

1. Honor the truth. Truth is sacred.

Truth is sacred even if it causes pain. What causes us pain helps us grow the most.

If you are not serving yourself, you can not serve another, therefore the relationship is malnourished. When a relationship reaches a point of starvation, both people need to forage within themselves for sustenance.

A relationship is only satiated if each person is, individually.

Food is found inside of us. When we attempt to gratify our internal needs with external provisions, we enter into famine and we perish. Relationships fail because the two people within them depend on the other to feed them. Relying on your partner to sustain you, is like taking supplements and rejecting wholesome healthy foods.

Be honest with yourself. If you are feeling distant and disconnected from your partner, it is because you are distant and disconnected from yourself. It is time to turn inward.  

Some can self study and do their homework within their marriages, others can not. Only you know if you need to leave your marriage, or if you and your partner can both commit to working separately, together.

I was the initiator of my separation. It was the most excruciating revelation of my life. I realized I was not feeding and satisfying myself. I understood there was no possible way for me to be serving Keith. I needed independence. I had to step away from the wall of comfort and fall into the unknown. My truth was, I had to end the relationship to nurture my needs.

It is critical to remember that when we are rejected or we reject someone, we are releasing another and ourselves. When we are released, we are free. Freedom is our only goal in life. Sometimes, we must break a promise (to love another for a lifetime).

Bitter, volatile, hateful separations occur because the people within these relationships ignore their intuition. They don’t listen to themselves, they remain in their marriage out of fear. Hate is bred in the fallacy of fear. If we live in lies, we live in hate. If we live in truth, we live in love.

I had the courage to say goodbye to my union because I understood I was honoring a vow greater than the vow of marriage. I was upholding the promise to myself, to love myself first, listen to my heart, trust in my actions and worship my truth.

2. Don’t cheat.  

Keep the loyalty bound. If the vein of trust is ruptured, it will bruise for a lifetime. Cheating is an easy out. It requires no bravery, respect, empathy or restraint. The separation will become complicated and messy, and the opportunity to maintain a friendship with your spouse will be ruined.

Infidelity is never about the flaming hot sex or the desired man or woman; infidelity is a symptom and sign of the deficit one feels in his or her being.

Having an affair, whether sexual or emotional does not satisfy the needs of our hearts, it destroys it. Instead of feeding our yearning burning wants, we should answer the passionate call of our spirit.

The discontent in your marriage is about you. Your partner is a reflection of you. If you are bored and resentful of your partner and their shortcomings, it is a result of your un-satisfaction with yourself.

No one else will ever complete you, only you can.

3. Ignore.

Don’t listen to anyone else’s judgments or opinions, including your own. These thoughts don’t belong to you, they belong to fear.

Fear speaks through doubting questions such as, how will I afford to live? How will I survive the loneliness?  What will my family and friends think? Am I a terrible person? Maybe I should just stay?

No. If your intuition says it’s the end, it’s the end.

Trust in your decision. Make the choice and stick to it. Be decisive, be strong and don’t waiver.

4. Share.

You and your spouse shared everything during your relationship—continue to do that. Things are just things. If something has more meaning to them than it does to you, give it to them.

You are freeing yourself, so don’t let battles over dishes or artwork muddy the beauty of the release. There is no need to make a sequel to The War of the Roses, leave the disdain to Turner and Douglas.

Ask yourself, “Does this couch make me ooze bliss?” I’m guessing the answer is no. You should be able to sit on the floor and shine bright.

Share your friends too. Any friends that are going to choose sides aren’t true friends. Love (friends and family) endures regardless of geography and a platinum ring.

5. Communicate.

Communicate openly your anger, your sadness, your longing, your loss, your love. As a couple you were married. You were a team. You were partners. Keep that connection. Grieve together; grieve for each other. Endure the break up together—you will be stronger friends if you do.

During a divorce, sympathy is your best friend.

Sympathy is the catalyst for compassion. You were both members of the same union; you are grieving the same loss—share in all the feelings of your loss and sympathize with one another. You will cycle through different emotions at different times. You may survive your angry phase first. When your partner goes through his or her bout of fury you will be able to meet him or her with compassion because of your experience.

6. Remember.

Remember the man or woman you first fell in love with. Remember how you cherished them. You once thought they were the greatest person to grace the planet.

See them this way.

If you do, you will always greet them warmly, speak of them sweetly and think of them lovingly.

You saw divinity in your partner in order to marry him or her. That never goes away.

7. Learn.

Learn from your relationship.

Treat the marriage as you would a subject in school. Take notes, review and study.

You will have a new appreciation for the insight you gain from the marital experience.

Acknowledge the lessons you learned, and then let them go. Renunciate them. Release them into the world. Share with others what you know.

If you have learned a lesson from your marriage, you will not be burdened with resentment or blame because lessons are neither good or bad. They transform into understanding and understanding is wisdom.

You will see your partner as your teacher and ally, not your enemy.

8. Accept.

Accept the end. We are afraid of ending; we see them as failures. This is not a failure—it is a leap of faith.

TangYauHoong

Neither of you are dying. Your marriage is, but it can transform. When anything dies something else is born in its place.

Turn around and greet the present. See the beginning of a redefined family and friendship. If you accept the beginning, you will move forward without confines.

Have faith with every step and accept you are being guided and cradled by the universe.

There will be terrifying moments of loneliness, confusion and doubt, but they are temporary. See these moments as a guest teacher, leaving behind knowledge that will root as wisdom for your next relationship.

9. Celebrate.

Endings should be celebrated. There are rituals and celebrations for births, marriages, deaths and commencements, why not divorce?  Celebrate your love, celebrate what you have created together.

Keith and I went out for lunch after we left the courthouse. We toasted to our bravery, to our children, to our lives, to our love.

10. Say Thank You.

Thank your spouse.

Look him or her in the eyes and say, “Thank you.” Bless your partner with your appreciation for the years of devotion and commitment, for walking beside you on your path because it led you to where you are today.

See yourself through their eyes. If you do, you will look at them compassionately, as another who tried the best they knew how.

Honor the truth. Don’t cheat or ignore judgments. Share, communicate, remember, learn, accept, celebrate and say thank you—this is my recipe for a loving divorce.

Even if your partner is unable to follow these steps with you, you can follow them on your own.

You will part from your marriage with dignity and move forward with clarity of who you are and what you want in your life.

All that matters in life is how we act toward ourselves and others, so follow the path of kindness and truth. If you do, you are always making the right decision.

 

Also by Rebecca Lammersen:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/knowing-our-one-great-love/

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/04/my-marriage-was-not-a-failure-but-a-successful-masterpiece/

 http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/mirror-me/

~

Editor: Brianna Bemel

 

Like elephant Love on Facebook.

About Rebecca Lammersen

Rebecca Lammersen is the founder of Yogalution, a donation based yoga studio in Scottsdale, AZ. I love being alive. I love being a mother. I love teaching yoga. I love to write. I love to know. I love to not know. I love to learn. I love to listen. I love to read. I love to travel. I love to dance. I love to help. I love to serve. That pretty much sums me up. Check out Rebecca's website and her articles at The Huffington Post. Subscribe to Rebecca's feed and never miss a post!

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34 Responses to “How to Have a Loving Divorce.”

  1. Mamaste says:

    Just intro'd on FB to: WOW, I'm Not Spiritual & Family.
    ~Mamaste

  2. Absolutely AMAZING piece. Beautifully written but what you're saying leaves the words far behind… Thank you so much for this.

  3. GreatNorthSky says:

    From Someone Who Learned All This The Hard Way, I Am Extremely Moved By The Love and Devotion Of This Beautiful Expression Of HEART, Thank You So Much Rebecca नमस्ते

  4. allisonsaja says:

    Such a beautiful reflection. But sins are committed, mistakes are made. Can divorce be amicable with such betrayals and the pain that accompanies them? Blessings for your insight, Certain cause for pause. Gratitude.

  5. Beowolf says:

    I wish I had this. I tried everything I could to get her to have a loving divorce, heck even a semi-friendly one would of been nice.
    But she choose Enemy, with a capital E. Had me thrown in jail and stole my business and had affairs.
    What Kind of woman is so unfaithful?
    Is that too much to forgive?
    Chapter 1 said " honor the truth. truth is sacred" and " if we live in lies ,we live in hate."
    She choose lies.I do hate her for that. We were better then that.

    I always told her this is a great gift we could have give each other.
    But a lot of bridges have been burned.

    • Maybe you could be the one to give her a gift. Love her from a far…
      Those who choose Enemy are tremblers of fear. That's all, she's scared and her actions are a result of despair. When one is scared, he or she can't see the truth, but you can. The truth here is, she is hurting. When we ache with hurt, we want not to be, we try to stop the pain with anything we can, and sometimes we lie (a temporary relief).

      We are a reflection of those who stand in front of us. She is no longer standing in front of you, as you said "bridges have been burned." The Bridge of Chaos is where you stood, now you stand in the Land of Peace.

      Accept your past, because that's what it is now, your past. Accept it, accept her actions and love her, love her from the beginning, when you knew you loved her for the first time- this is where you will forgive.

      Thank you for sharing. I am sending you warmth and lots of truth! :) Rebecca

      • beowolf says:

        Thank you Rebecca. There is a lot of wisdom in what you say. I do love her, I always have. She is full of fear, so much so that she lied to the police and her children about who I am. you are right about the truth, it is very powerful and essential to any relationship. Thanks again for your wisdom.

  6. AllforLove says:

    Honor the truth – that's all I ask for is the truth. The truth will always set you free. The truth, whether good or bad is truth and the truth will set all involved along their path of recovery. Just be honest with yourself and spouse – Only then can you have a loving divorce otherwise there is always a wedge between you.

  7. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. Had been separated and recently moved back in to try and work it out, but having a range of emotions that change from day to day and its been so difficult for me to listen to my inner voice because of the fear involved. I am still in process, so I am not totally sure what will happen, but i hope that should divorce be the outcome that we can do it from your perspective. I am not optomistic given how things were when I first moved out but I thank you for giving me lots of concrete sugggestions. My husband flat out told me he didn't want to be friends if we got divorced. How do I deal with that?

    • Hi Jessica,

      Thank you for sharing. What I am hearing is, you are still deciding- stay married? or get divorced? So, you must make a decision first- Are you all in? or Are you out?

      Thoughts become our actions. If you are speaking of divorce, you will be divorced. If he is speaking about severing ties, you will sever ties.

      If you choose to remain as a couple in a marriage, pick thoughts that will strengthen your marriage and your friendship. Say out loud, "We will have a strong marriage and we will work to maintain our friendship." Just this thought will propel you to invest your heart into yourself and your relationship.

      You know what to do. Be strong and be quiet enough to hear your whisper. <3 Rebecca

  8. [...] love when we feel insecure and instead of speaking up, we act like we’re two and punish the other [...]

  9. [...] we well know, divorce has a very high rate of occurrence these days, and so it is not unusual to see it happening among [...]

  10. Dave says:

    How do I do this? My 20 year marriage has dissipated and I'm left with the revelations of countless infidelities, lies and cheating. I have been left and abandoned by my best friend. Yet, we're both still in love with each other – talk about how confused we are, how much we miss each other. She has moved out – she is still with one of the other men. How do I work through this anger and jealousy? How do I negotiate the emotional turmoil between love and hate? How do I resolve this inner struggle? I've been an angry person for so long, so insecure, so anxious and depressed – I want to let it all go. I realize this means loving compassion for her and for those who participated in her lying acts. I just don't know how to do it.

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  12. [...] But then came my divorce. A decision that would ultimately be in the best interest of both of us, but that also came with far more transition that I ever imagined. [...]

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  14. butterflythunderwolf says:

    Thanks you for this…

  15. nledonna says:

    I liked most everything but the little bit about cheating. Yes, this can complicate things. People are often confused thinking sex "means" something and so this subject is very charged. Unpacking all of our beliefs and fears about sex is very valuable, whether or not the marriage resumes or not. In my experience people also have difficulty talking about what a marriage means and what "expectations" each partner is holding. I think, ultimately, marriages "work" or don't based on the level of outside support the couple has, especially if they are raising children, and how aligned they are with regards to notions of family, education, freedom, and demands.
    Thanks for posting this article and I love hearing you and your ex remain in relationship. My husband and I divorced after 33 years after I became involved with a neighbor-mom. And yes, he and I are still in relationship.

  16. Elena says:

    Beautiful piece! These words have been encrypted in my heart. As I was reading I felt I could predict every word that followed. I am a divorcee myself and those were the "commandments" I followed during my divorce. Thank you for putting it all in words!

  17. Pinar says:

    Loved every bit of it…. I think not only divorced couples but any couple who needs a new look into their relationship should read this. Totally inspiring. Thank you!

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