It can be difficult for many couples to find their legs in a divorce process and get meaningful work done, because they are facing the wrong direction – backward!
Fixing the past by renewing the marriage for the future is so important – if both parties can invest themselves in the work to make that happen. Couples owe it to themselves to leave no stone unturned in exploring this possibility fully, because the future will not be as secure without it, and no one wants to face the future with regrets over the good which might have been. There are resources listed on this website who specialize in such work, and can make sure every effort has been made to renew the marriage.
It can be especially hard to face the possibility of divorce if one or both partners have strong personal or faith values which their spouses no longer share – or perhaps never did share. Work on the marriage takes two people, however, and if one partner is committed to leaving, waiting too long to take reasonable action on a divorce process can have dire consequences.
If one spouse has chosen to end the marriage, the law regarding “no fault divorce” permits them to get out of the marriage – for any reason, or no reason at all. And the longer it takes to make progress on the process, the more likely that a couple will “serve each other” with legal process, and end up facing a contested divorce proceeding in court.
The tendency is to want to fix the past – you do what you think should help, but your spouse doesn’t respond to your efforts, and it makes no sense to you. So, you try harder, and your spouse only seems to get more irritated or distant.
If this happens, you may simply need to turn around and start looking the other direction – at the future. Working on a positive parenting relationship, or getting your spouse’s support for a financial plan which will maintain the children’s activities, may be possible where a spouse may have chosen to quit working on past marital issues. Remember, you didn’t write the law that permits one spouse to end the marriage whether or not there are reasons for it, and ultimately you can’t control your spouse’s choices. All you can do is appeal to their better instincts about making a successful future for both of you. You can start focusing on your own needs and stand your ground about keeping your children at the center and not the middle of any conflict between you.
In Collaborative Team Divorce, the couple has control of the work and pacing of the process, in terms of collecting information and weighing options about the future. You can make sure you have enough time to consider your options – and it can feel like a light switch inside your head.
If all your best efforts to renew the marriage have not received a positive response from your spouse, give yourself permission to face forward. Stand up for your own needs and the needs of your children in a transparent and meaningful way – and start working on the future. You never know what good may be waiting for you around the corner, especially if you have been true to your own principles throughout the process, and shown the good will necessary to create a solid foundation for the future.