Beyond Balance: Divorce

Beyond Balance: Divorce

Welcome to everyone! This post is intended to be for informational purposes only, and is a product of my opinion and experience as a massage therapist and life coach. Please consult with a medical provider and do your own research with any tips or suggestions I present here, and do not disregard any treatment or advice given to you already. And also please do seek help if you struggle with anything I write about in this blog.

Marriage is a beautiful union of two people that want to share a life together. We have a grand celebration of a marriage that is shared with family and friends. However, we also look at divorce as quite the opposite. It’s something that is unfortunate, sad, or feared; particularly in a religious setting. In this case the one that instigated the divorce is sometimes thought of as the “bad” one, or the sinner. It’s also been traditionally viewed that divorce has a very bad effect on children, so it’s to be avoided at all cost.

To have gone through a divorce could also leave an impression on a person that has significant emotional weight. One could feel unworthy of love, like there is a black mark on their personal record. It could also influence future relationships for the worse, as a person might hold back their feelings for fear of getting hurt again. 

But what if divorce is not bad at all? Perhaps all we need is a shift in perspective on the word itself because the truth is that divorce is and should be a possibility in any marriage. If divorce is always an option, then you work your butt off to deserve each other, knowing that the other could walk away. Of course, it shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. Perhaps that’s another reason why the big celebration is part of our wedding culture–marriage is a BIG DEAL that we take seriously and avow publicly. And, just like marriage itself, divorce can be a source of great learning and growth for one going through it. Like myself.

I usually get a surprised reaction from people when I tell them that I went through a divorce. I married my ex-wife within the year after meeting her. Almost exactly two years after that wedding, I tearfully signed the papers from her lawyer that finalized the separation. I then tried to figure out what went wrong. 

This journey led me to really take a look inside myself.

Nicolas and Sarah, 2006

And what I found at the end really surprised me. It was me that really was at fault. When I met my ex-wife I wasn’t prepared for marriage at all, yet felt compelled to proceed due to a host of reasons. I kind of knew I wasn’t ready, but I didn’t have the courage to end the relationship before it got there. After we were married, my stubbornness prevented me from really opening myself up to be a true partner to her, and led to many fights and problems. 

So how could it be that I was at fault? Wasn’t she part of the problem, too? Well, yes, and I definitely got hung up on that idea at first. But then I found that being mad at her was essentially pointless. It happened and I couldn’t change it now. All I could do was learn from it. And that thought led me to the realization that we are only really responsible for ourselves in this life. Everything they do is interpreted by us for good or ill.

And that is the key to getting through a divorce. I have talked with many divorcees since and found them stuck in an emotional quagmire, categorized as the victim. In these cases I try to help people gain a little perspective. Even if your spouse is truly horrible, and everyone can see it, it is still up to you to learn, react and grow from it. That can’t be in anyone else’s hands. 

My experience led me to discover something magical about marriage: your spouse is supposed to push your buttons. It’s only through this that you can discover your shortcomings and try to change it. I also believe that a good spouse will help you get through the rough times after they push those buttons that set you off your rocker. My ex-wife was perfect for me. She was so good that she even taught me more about myself ten years after the marriage ended. 

Nicolas and Stephanie, 2008

Do you find yourself contemplating divorce? Maybe you aren’t happy and/or you are being treated like dirt. Yes, your spouse can teach you a lot about yourself, but there must be mutual growth for a marriage to survive. If you are the only one that is learning, changing, and growing, then your marriage is holding you back and it might very well be time to let it go and move on. Divorce has a place, but only in the right circumstances, and really, only you get to decide what those circumstances are. 

When talking of her divorce, my mother refers to the idea of “soul contracts.” This is something that she feels was in place before her and my dad ever met. As soon as the contract was fulfilled, and everything was learned by both parties, it ended. Along the same lines, when my mother-in-law talks about her divorce, she never once mentions regret. She says she has no doubt that she married the right person, because they were both equally sick and were perfectly situated to teach each other hard lessons. Once she learned those lessons, she suddenly knew in her soul that she was free. That’s when she ended it.

When you can choose a divorce from that head space, it’s a completely different experience. You are owning your part. You’re not trying to dump all the blame onto your ex-partner. You are acknowledging the lessons that were learned, and you’re not wasting away with regret. Don’t worry if you’re not there yet. It took me about ten years to find that level of peace, and you can, too.

Relationships, in my opinion, are the whole purpose of life. We aren’t meant to live alone. It’s from bumping up against others that we discover what we’re made of. Relationships expose the good, the bad, and the ugly–particularly marriage or long-term relationships. A spouse (and consequently children) teach us more than any other relationship because we can’t hide behind any pretenses. We are stripped down to nothing and then forced to look in a metaphorical mirror at our own psyches. It’s hard to do, but absolutely necessary in order to grow. You can read and learn about patterns in my other post on Core Emotions here.

A quick word about break-ups. Dating can be viewed as a sort of miniature marriage. You can definitely experience everything a marriage offers, in full or on a smaller scale. The benefit (or perhaps drawback) is that dating is a lesser commitment, able to be broken off by one or both parties at any time and for any reason. But, any of the content in this post can apply to a relationship and break-up.

No matter where you are in your marital/relationship status, take these meditation tips to heart. And smile, you are always doing the best that you can in your situation.

Pre-Divorce Meditation tips:

  • Think of divorce without any stigma or judgement. Does it feel right to be separated? Are you in fact already emotionally divorced from your partner, but struggling to bring it into the physical realm?
  • Try not to assign “right or wrong” to any of your upcoming decisions. Only think of what you could learn from both possible outcomes. Sometimes logic can help you break through the quagmire of emotions and see what needs to happen.
  • After the potential divorce you could find yourself in a new relationship with new struggles, or perhaps more of what you are trying to leave. Try to discover your core emotion to learn as much as you can from the divorce so that you don’t have to repeat these lessons in a future relationship.

Post-Divorce Meditation tips:

  • Be willing to connect soul to soul with your ex-spouse in a meditative state (this is not intended to be done in person). Let both of your Higher Selves connect. Thank your ex-spouse for sharing a portion of their life with you and for teaching you what they could. 
  • Think of your marriage with a singular perspective: yourself. Everything was a product of you, your decisions, or things you needed to learn. How does this shift your perspective?
  • Are you closed off to future relationships out of fear of being hurt or unloved? Let the fear leave your body with each exhale as if being washed away as you think of this truth: you are loved, always.
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