Divorce: for Better or Worse?

Divorce counseling and divorce mediationToo often people head down the divorce path without getting some good marriage advice. If more people did seek out some good relationship counseling then they might save themselves a lot of heartache and money. They might also help reduce the pain for themselves and their children (young or older). There is no doubt in my mind that some couples need to get divorced and there is also no doubt in my mind that many couples can work their marriage around and create a happier relationship. Marriage is a tough relationship and requires work. When it seems there is little hope, a couple would be wise to seek out a good Marriage and Family Therapist, especially if they’re in need of divorce counseling. If they have kids and are not 100% sure then my advice would be to try keep themselves on the marriage side of mid-way between marriage and divorce.

Why try to save marriage?

Because they are in a serious contract and have children and a whole life style. When a couple divorce each will have a reduction in financial stability. Before changing their status they need to get objective relationship counseling and marriage advice and, if they are healthy people, the outcome will be more life giving and help minimize the damage and pain. The Therapist should be one who specializes in Couples issues and the two partners need to feel ‘comfortable’ with the Therapist. Every therapist will not fit every couple. If you don’t like the Therapist’s approach try another Therapist!

For those who learn and decide to stay together

Through the therapeutic endeavor they will learn more about themselves and how to enhance their personal lives and marriage relationship. Too often couples have carried unhealthy ways of dealing with life into their marriages and then tend to think that their partner is the cause of all pain. Not true! The pain that I have seen in marriage is mutually caused and often comes from each person’s learned behavior from their Family of Origin. We all have some issues coming from our pasts and the marriage relationship tends to accentuate those issues. Often we feel if we get rid of the other person we will also get rid of the pain. The problematic issues from our past help form a dynamic that the couple become entrenched in. In therapy they see some of their own issues more clearly and speak about needs they have. The couple learn to approach each other differently and this can help them build love and connection anew. This is what most of us want.

For those who learn and decide to divorce

They too have learned a lot about themselves and the dynamic that they have mutually created. They too have learned of the need to express needs and of the impact of their past on the present. However, they see that the relationship is not a viable one and move towards divorce. In most of the cases I have dealt with it is one person who usually ends up coming to that conclusion first. There is a lot of pain for both people because their dream is coming to an end. Now they enter divorce with more understanding and try to reduce blame. They will be more inclined to approach the divorce process less angrily and this will reduce the potential for escalation of anger in divorcing. This will minimize their costs in money, time and emotions. Most importantly, they will reduce the pain for their children. The divorcing couple are in a better position to approach the co-parenting of their children into the future. The kids will feel less torn between the parents and structures will be developed to try help the kids feel they still have 2 loving parents who are going to continue to look after their needs. Divorce is change and changes usually involve some pain. As I work with and listen to my clients I know that parents hurt their kids much more than divorce. Making accusations, talking disrespectfully to or about the other parent, sending bad messages through the children, not allowing the kids easy access to the other parent, court battles, etc. are the things that damage the children’s lives the most. The Collaborative Law approach to divorce can also greatly help reduce escalation and pain, if you make sure to choose a truly Collaborative attorney when it comes to divorce mediation. All attorneys are not the same. Interview them and choose wisely because this is a huge milestone in your life and the lives of your children!

Tony Fryer