“No one ever said marriage is easy”. We all have heard that at one time or another. But something we don’t hear as often yet we know to be true is that “Getting a divorce is not easy either”. Both of these life situations present unique and complex emotions. They involve and require investing time and attention into the other person. With marriage frequently there can be a “happily ever after”. With divorce finding a “happily ever after” is possible too. Usually, though it is only found down the road after time has passed. During a divorce, choices are made. You may choose to permit emotions, anxiety, sometimes even hate, and other complex feelings to take over and drive your behavior. You also can choose to follow a process that contributes to the healing of your hurt feelings. Choosing an approach that contributes to healing can allow positive feelings to emerge. The feelings emerge the same way Spring gives rise to a new life following a harsh winter. Willingness to persevere, to accept sacrifice in order to overcome obstacles ahead can result in you being free to be the best you that you can be.
I’d like to share an example of a happily ever after of which I recently became aware. As is often the case, it was found following a divorce many years down the road. A couple, high school sweethearts and now in their 50’s, had been married for over 20 years. They had two beautiful girls. Last few years their marriage was difficult. The complexity of managing the lives of their children, poor communication between them and not paying attention to each other’s needs had caused them to grow apart. They decided to divorce. By no means was the divorce easy. A successful business, an inheritance, the children, property, and very different financial means were just part of the issues to be managed during the divorce. They both hired attorneys and they fought. They fought a lot. In the end, as a result of hefty attorney fees, they both walked away with less than they should have. Sadly too was that rancor in the divorce had firmly added emotional baggage each had now for the other.
They have now been divorced now for more than 10 years. The baggage they had has been shed and they have become best of friends. They talk every day, have meals together at least twice a month, and they have hope. They took advantage of the time to heal as they slowly worked through the issues that divorce had introduced to the picture. They know now that they love each other. They will always love each other. They have been there for each other through everything and they will continue to be there. They have decided that they will not remarry. They both understand and agree that they cannot live with each other again. But knowing for certain that they can count on each other is everything.
They are both now in other relationships. Both of their significant others understand their relationship. Their girls are now adults. Both of the girls to are in healthy relationships. They spend time with their parents together as well as separately and they both know that when their wedding day comes, both of their parents will be sitting next to each other celebrating with them.
You might say that divorce cannot get any better than this. But if you ask both of them what they would have done differently they would mention two things: “We would listen to each other more and we would not have used attorneys in our divorce”. Both of them agree that the most difficult issues they had to overcome and heal from following their divorce were directly brought about by the pain inflicted by the process used in litigated divorce.
At Heartland Family Mediators, LLC we firmly believe that mediation without using attorneys is a far better alternative to litigating a divorce using attorneys. We know that many who read our blogs and testimonials are either already divorced or contemplating divorce. For some who are already divorced, they continue to experience hurt and pain and they seek on our site some sort of evidence that the pain can someday go away. For those considering divorce, many are seeking an affirmation that divorce can be accomplished peacefully and without destroying their families. Regardless where you are or where you have been, know with confidence that the pain can be lessened, if not eliminated. The key is in forgiveness. The irony in beginning with forgiveness is that it starts with first forgiving yourself. Once that settles in, forgiving others will follow naturally.
So, can a “Happily Ever After” really happen following a divorce? It really happened for this couple and it can happen for you.