A part of our purpose in serving this world and in serving our divorce community is a deep-rooted desire to transform the connotation imposed upon divorce and to inspire divorcing spouses to peacefully coexist.  So in thinking of a way to transform a stereotype or a viewpoint we know that we must begin on the individual level.

We begin with our speech.

You may not like everything about your ex-spouse, but can you name one person on earth (except your children) whom you like everything about?  Every relationship is imperfect and requires compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. Some of our family and friends are too sensitive; some are too gossipy.  Some are jealous and some inconsiderate. And yet, we manage to accept the good (look for the good) in these people and find a place for them to fit within our lives even though we get disappointed by them from time to time.  

Similarly, isn’t this the way of the divorced?  Don’t you take that person you like maybe 35% right now and find a way to be patient and create a new way to communicate so that it works?  Ok, even if you only like them 1 % right now. 

More importantly, in taking the steps to redefine your divorce you should refrain from saying unkind words about your ex-spouse.  I understand that you did or will need a shoulder to cry on.  Cry.  But be choosy about who you confide in and make sure it’s a friend that will put the facts of your divorce in a “vault”.  Do not add to the pressure in your already overwhelming life by worrying whether your confidant is well…not so trustworthy. The goal is to not take their advice to heart but rather follow your own heart when it comes to something so private and personal. Sometimes all we need is that ear to vent to and not necessarily feedback…

Some people do not understand the depth of your pain for they have never traveled there and would never do so as bravely as you.  Perhaps your divorce scares them.  Perhaps your divorce makes them doubt their marriages, or perhaps…just perhaps it inflates their viewpoint of themselves, their ego.  The details of your misfortunes may increase their perspective on their lives. It is very unfortunate that so many people define themselves by what they are not rather than by what they are.  Perhaps it is too hard for them. Some are jealous and make self-serving comparisons. 

We, as a society, are in a cycle of creating what we perceive to be the only option – a mean divorce.  Society perpetuates the image of ugly and cruel divorces ending in total domestic annihilation.  It is rampant in all media channels and this ugliness is spread for the sole purpose of increasing ratings and corporate financial gains. The disheartening part is that we also see it in our friends and our neighbors.  Neighbors gossip about neighbors. This one is sleeping with that one.  This one has a gambling problem, etc.

First and foremost, your divorce is your business. Trust only those worth trusting.  Second, forget who you and your spouse are today.  You know that your marriage is over; this is the only constant that you require confirmation of in order to move forward with your divorce.  I caution you to pull back the reins on the blame game and to make a conscious effort to remember the person that you married at one time.  Lastly, remember that heartache and anger can change somebody momentarily. When we are angry, we can appear to be people that we are not and people we are not proud of. Your spouse may be hurting just as much as you even if he or she is the one that cheated or left you. It is still an ending – still a change. For most of us, to hurt someone is not something that we strive to do. It may be just as difficult for them as it is for you to let go. We must remember that sometimes the anger and bitterness we see in others and feel in our own hearts is really just misdirected frustration and pain.

Do you intend to make divorce the death of your family or the transformation of your family– so there is no longer this stigma associated with a “broken” family.  You are not broken.  You are transformed.

Love begins with you.