Imagine a marriage where both parties are unhappy and bickering all the time. Their values and goals are different. There is no chemistry between them. The children are exposed to awkward silences and all-out battles. There may be emotional, verbal or physical abuse. Everyone in the family is miserable. Should this couple stay together? Most of us would agree they would be better off apart.
Now what if those two people, without the stress of trying to get along in this marriage, found that they were happier separately? What if they could get along on parenting issues? What if, outside of the rigors of the marital relationship, they were able to consistently exercise respect and clear communication? As separate individuals, they could thrive, experience good viable relationships and perhaps, remarry. The children would also thrive, as there would be reduced stress between the adults. The children would be exposed to happier, calmer parents with different, yet high-functioning lifestyles. Now, that would be a good divorce!
Sometimes there are good divorces. There could be more good divorces, if we could get beyond the desire to blame and seek revenge. Also, if we would stop seeing divorce as anti-marriage or anti-family, people would feel less stigmatized and less like failures. There would be less hurt feelings, bitterness and acrimony. Divorce could be a good solution to a bad situation.
Marriage is not going out of style, but it is changing. Some say this is in response to the women’s movement, increased life expectancy, the sexual revolution or economics. Whatever the reason, we are marrying just as often, but divorcing more frequently. We try again and again. We keep trying because love, connection, and commitment have not gone out of style. They merely look different.
No one takes divorce lightly. It is a decision everyone wrangles with. Often, we take more time considering divorce than we do marriage. Divorce is not always a negative thing. It can be an opportunity for all parties involved to have a better, healthier life. It can be a gift to our children and future generations as well.
Consider the possibility that your family might actually thrive after your divorce. Maybe your divorce can be a good divorce. To that end, maybe you can work at improving your post-divorce communication in a way that was not possible in the marriage. After all the dust settles from the legal process, you may find that a bad marriage doesn’t have to lead to a bad divorce.
Donna is right. Many families are better off after their divorce than they were before their divorce. That’s why I don’t like the term “broken family”.A divorce may actually “fix” the family.
I am not advocating divorce. I know that the transition of divorce is painful for everyone involved. It sucks. I wish everyone could have loving, fulfilling, functioning, healthy family relationships but if you don’t have one, divorce may be the only way to “fix” your family.
So fix it. Don’t destroy it.
Family Court destroys families. Here is an article about the realities of family court.
The Collaborative Process is a way for families to get through the transition of divorce in a humane, respectful and civil manner. It gives you the best chance at having a “good divorce”.
Okay… maybe you won’t ride off into the sunset, happily ever after… but a “good divorce” beats a “rotten marriage” every time.