While marriage is celebrated extensively, there’s often not much more to divorce than a pen stroke. That’s while divorce is a milestone too, and one that deserves just as much attention. There will only be room for growth when you close off a marriage well.
‘Taking responsibility’ is one of the key concepts in ‘Spiritual Divorce’ by American coach and author Debbie Ford. In this book, she describes how devastating divorce is; how ex-partners are sometimes lonely, hopeless and furious. On the fragments, something new can be built, Ford writes. But for that to happen, a painful process is needed. A process of thorough and honest introspection.
Divorce as a wake up call
What went wrong, Ford wondered during the many sleepless nights after her own divorce. What did she do wrong? How could she have been so blind? In inner dialogues, she kept lamenting endlessly: life is horrible, I can’t trust anyone, I’ll never let anyone get so close again.
Until she started looking at her divorce as a spiritual wake up call. A painful one, to be sure, but she saw it as a change to take a good look at herself, and at her own part in the failed marriage. ‘If you ignore this wake up call, you’ll make the same mistakes again,’ Ford warns.
The seven ‘laws’
Everything happens for a reason, Ford is convinced of that. Everything is as it should be. Learning to accept this, and your painful divorce, is her first and most important ‘law’.
As soon as we stop resisting what’s happening in our lives, and surrender to the situation, there’s room for change. Resistance is the biggest obstacle on the way to ‘recovery’.
By being humble in the process of acceptation and surrender to what’s happening, by switching off ego and pride, we can gain wisdom.
We need to look at our own part in the divorce. Love drama is almost always caused by two people. We need to (have the guts to) take responsibility for our own role.
As soon as we have taken responsibility, we’ve gained options. We can choose new interpretations of what happened, interpretations that make us stronger, in stead of weaker.
We need to grow compassion and forgiveness for ourselves. If we can do that, we can forgive the other person too.
Forgiveness leads to freedom. It makes us break free from our past and create a new future.
Text: Eveline Brandt - Photo: Aaron Burden