No one gets married thinking that their loving relationship will likely end. But married couples grow apart for many different reasons. Once divorce enters the picture, some people brace for the worst, fearing that the process is always contentious and stressful.
But bad marriages can lead to good divorces, in terms of getting a fresh start and finding ways to settle differences with your spouse amicably. If you have children, you likely already understand that the breakup of your marriage isn’t all about you.
An empathetic approach can lead to a peaceful divorce
Even in the best of circumstances, divorce is painful. But choosing empathy over anger goes a long way toward healing wounds that have developed over time. This approach includes validating your soon-to-be-ex’s feelings as well as your children’s. You can accomplish this by:
- Communicating respectfully with your spouse
- Letting your kids have some say in family decisions
- Never using private information as a weapon
- Paying attention to your ex-spouse’s feelings
- Developing coping skills focused on your needs and not your need to please
- Agreeing to disagree on parenting decisions but deciding together
- Basing parenting decisions on what your kids need and not what they or you want
If you still have issues coping or having a good relationship with your former spouse, seeking professional help is a good option. A counselor can help you get through this difficult time and possibly identify patterns that led to the breakdown of your marriage, which can help you find a true fresh start.
Set an example that your kids can follow
Perhaps the best way to achieve a peaceful divorce is to remember that you and your ex need to act like adults and avoid destructive petty behavior, such as badmouthing the other in front of the kids. Their world has already been rocked and adding negative words about the other parent can further jeopardize their sense of peace and security.
They will look to you for guidance on how to survive this challenging time, and depending upon their age, those negative feelings will likely influence their daily lives, behavior at school and future relationships with others. Divorce is never easy but finding a harmonious path forward can help the entire family achieve peace of mind.