Spiritual Guilt Post-Divorce
Divorce isn’t “Wrong”
Let’s agree to stop using “failed marriage” as a synonym for “divorce”. The decision to split does not have to be viewed as a failure or a deeper problem with someone’s personality, heart or soul.
A recent article In Business Insider discussed the benefits of marriage beyond the relationship: “marriage is perfectly designed to help you grow up.” It teaches us to work together, to have join goals. It exposes weaknesses, too. It can expose immaturity or selfishness. This can be helpful—if we can take the criticism—in showing us where we need to work on ourselves. And just because a marriage ends doesn’t mean you have failed. You can move through a phase of life and “graduate”—find yourself genuinely ready for new challenges and goals. Finally, divorce is actually brave. It’s realistically assessing your marriage instead of going on auto-pilot. Or perhaps it’s coming out of many years of auto-pilot. But it’s a conscious shift toward owning a problem and stepping away from that problem.
These are actually successes! Each shift is challenging and requires personal strength. It isn’t something to be ashamed of.
This week I sat down with Anne-Louise DePalo and discussed how the divorce process can be draining, both emotionally and financially. DePalo is an attorney in Staten Island. She’s been practicing in the area of divorce and family law for over 30 years, and she’s the author of the book, Divorce Now What? How to Survive, Thrive and Become Fully Alive Through the Divorce Process. She wrote the book to show people that they have options in divorce. It isn’t just litigation and conflict.
Accepting Others’ Choices
One way we show our personal strength in divorce may be in accepting a reality we really don’t want to accept. When the choice isn’t ours, divorce can be overwhelming, painful and scary. But just because it isn’t your choice doesn’t mean you have to be reactive. Instead, consider looking at what you’ve gained. And if that’s too hard, look toward the future. What are you looking forward to that you control? You will have time to reflect on your own growth later.
The Spiritual Side
Faith and religion are highly personal. Those beliefs often influence the way we see marriage and our role in keeping it functioning. DePalo recommends speaking with a spiritual advisor to help get through this part of the divorce and understand that “things happen for a reason”. That can help people see that perhaps the marriage wasn’t as strong as they thought. That maybe all of their needs weren’t getting met.
Coming to terms with your own divorce can be not just emotionally but spiritually challenging. And facing this challenge can mean hard emotional work and seeking help from professionals. It may take time. But the butterfly who emerges will be beautiful.
If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.