Issues don’t magically end when divorce is final

On Facebook recently, one of my friends posted a picture of her signing a piece of paper. The status line read, “Filing for divorce!”

The number of comments on this post (25 comments in less than 24 hours) is probably representative of how much support she has and of how much compassion and familiarity people have with divorce.

I smiled at one of the comments, “We all deserve a practice marriage.”

The perspective of a practice marriage seems opposed to what I grew up with, which was the “in sickness and in health, until death do us part” marriage.

Oh, but the things you learn while going through the process — about yourself and about others.

By the time you get to divorce, the bond that held you together has been pulled so tight it becomes painful. When the cord is finally cut, both ends snap back uncontrollably.

From there, the pain is perhaps caused by the remaining wires that continue to connect you, even when you may never want to see each other again.

This brings to mind some questions about what marriage is and what divorce is.

Should marriage be forever or are there some lessons or contracts that you and the other person are working through while in the relationship?

This would lead to the belief that when you have finished your lessons with each other or fulfilled your contracts, the more you try to stay together, perhaps the more you stunt your growth and your partner’s growth. Does the relationship then become destructive?

I read a book on relationships called “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples” by Harville Hendrix, a marriage and family therapist.

His theory is that when a couple experiences power struggles in a relationship, this is an opportunity to work through deeper personal issues. And if you end the learning process — by getting a divorce, for example — you still need to work out your issues ... probably with someone else and in possibly your next relationship.

The word, “baggage” comes to mind.

So should you stick with it or get out? It depends on many factors: you, your partner, your relationship, your ability to grow, etc. In other words, only you will know what’s right for you.

Another friend of mine who is going through divorce said that he tried to work it out, stay for the kids, struggle through it, but in the end, he couldn’t.

He explained that even though he is grieving and adjusting, he feels relief and freedom.

“We were stuck,” he said. “Neither of us was growing and we were both miserable, not to mention how it was affecting the kids.”

“Even though we have not worked out the details of the divorce, I have hopes that each of us will be better off not holding the other person back, and that some day we can become friends. One myth that I’d like to bust is that just because we divorce doesn’t mean we hate each other,” he said.

What a wise thing to say. When going through a divorce, wouldn’t it be more therapeutic to be grateful for what you learned and how you have grown (even if difficult and sometimes painful) and still be glad that you are free, rather than being angry at the person who was and is perhaps one of your greatest teachers?

It all depends on your perspective.

Sheri Fisher is a intuitive life coach living in Grand Junction. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. For more information, go to: www.coachwithsheri.com.


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