A recent article quoting basic statistics suggested that the filing of divorce papers increases around Valentine's Day. This is due to people starting to question their relationships and the true meaning of love. I suppose that the thought of a romantic dinner with someone who you no longer want to share time with might be the trigger to take that dreaded next step. The article also refers to the increase in security company business, as suspicious partners endeavor to find out if there is another love interest involved. How sad is this?
Yes, life after divorce can be good, and for many, there just didn't seem that there was any other option.
Every time we turn on the radio this week it is all about love - the “have’s and have not’s”. I agree that getting roses and sharing a romantic dinner with your significant other is great, but there is so much more to this day of love.
There are many inspirational leaders that remind us that we should start and end each day with a prayer of gratitude for all that we have been blessed with.
If you are separated/divorced, and you have young children; be prepared that the journey ahead will involve ongoing communication with your former spouse. And if you are like many couples, then chances are this might not seem very enticing at this point.
To compound things, you may also be finding your life becoming busier with navigating children’s schedules and activities. Children are often involved in sports, music, school activities; making the weekly calendar look more like a maize of who goes where, with whom.
Words Can Change Your Marriage
Remember grandma saying, "One rotten apple can ruin a bunch"? Well, there is much wisdom in this old saying -- as what applies to apples also applies to your marriage. Words can destroy or build your relationship and the choice is yours. It is as simple as that.
Over the last number of years there has been much research with regards to the power of intention and the consequences that flow from that. Intention in the form of words is sometimes spoken out loud and other times to our selves. Research shows that our brains do not know the difference between the two. Further, neuroscience has proven that what we think is what we are and the words we use are whom we are. Our words can either bring peace, love, health or hate, anger and disease.
If you are going through a divorce, then there is no doubt that your soon to be ex will have mastered how to push your buttons. Your challenge is to not react – no matter what! Yes, perhaps it’s harder said than done but here are a few helpful tips to try:
Like the old saying goes, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Karen Stewart, the founder of Fairway Divorce Solutions, certainly knows that.
Like Karen, my business partner Cheryl and I both have had the experience of witnessing divorce first hand. Cheryl as an adult and I as a teenager. Ask Cheryl and I how the experience was and you’ll get two markedly different answers.
The sanctity of marriage has shifted as each era comes and goes. A couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary is now considered uncommon.
We all know that the introduction of every new piece of technology lends more reason to decrease effective communication in day-to-day interactions. We also know that with increased opportunities in our consumer driven societies, it has created a lack of commitment.
The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman is tragic.
From our perspective, he was a man with such amazing talent and a bright future. From what the press has said, he was a wonderful person as well. His life came to such an abrupt ending for those who saw him on screen and did not know him well.
But for those close to him I am sure there is a long history of bitter sweet stories, many filled with pain and suffering. I have no doubt that long before he lost his life he lost much more, including relationships that likely meant a lot to him. This is the sad reality of addictions. They destroy lives, marriages and take away futures. The person with the addiction at some point chooses between their vise and their marriage/relationships. For way too many, they choose their addiction. The word “choice” is a hard pill to swallow for an addict who is lost in the disease.
However - it is still a choice with serious consequences. Perhaps the death of Philip will not be totally in vein, if it will urge others to choose a different path with a different outcome.
Four years ago I went through, what I thought at the time was, my Armageddon. My now ex-wife, the woman I had intended to spend the rest of my life with, wanted something different. I was on my own and I couldn't imagine how I could possibly make it through in one piece. My divorce was the most painful and emotional experience I have ever been through, yet I now find myself living a whole new powerful chapter in my life that I am truly grateful for.
Over the past two years, I have been coaching men through divorce and separation. Most of these men come to me worried, scared and angry. I get that, because I felt the same way. During my divorce, I was worried about my kids and how they would cope, the financial impact long term, and what my friends and family would think. I was scared I would be alone and be a single dad for the rest of my life, scared I would be perceived as a failure in the business community and scared I would lose friends. Most of all, I was bitterly angry with my ex-wife. Without being consciously aware of it, I stopped taking care of myself, I lost a lot of weight, I shut myself off from friends, family and struggled to stay focused at work. I have to admit, that horrible thought about ending it all even snuck into my mind a couple times.
Divorce is difficult and regardless of what path we choose to take to resolve our issues, we are going to experience some degree of grief. A recent client shared how difficult divorce was even though she and her spouse chose the collaborative approach of mediation. She could not have imagined what it would have been like if they chose to fight it out with lawyers. Many couples underestimate the toll of divorce both emotionally and financially, and find themselves confronted with the “what if’s”, “I should have...” “if only I…”. While hindsight may not have saved your marriage, at least ensure that you choose the most cost and time efficient way to resolve your issues. Even complicated issues can be resolved with an experienced mediator. Do not fall into the trap that assumes justice equals fairness. Fighting it out with lawyers is a zero sum game – nobody wins.