Win-Win Divorce: An Oxymoron?
By Mindy L. Hitchcock
When Iím dating I look at a guy and wonder, ďIs this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?Ē
Americans have become jaded on the subject of divorce, and itís no wonder. Recently newscaster Dan Rather reported that more than 53% of marriages end in divorce. There are more divorced than married people in America today.
While some have become cynical, still others see divorce as a tragedy. Often they become obsessed with their divorce, thinking or talking of nothing else (to the dismay of their friends and family). I think itís time for a new attitude: a proactive approach to what has now become a fact of life.
As a holistic divorce lawyer, I have a vested interest in divorce. Or course, you may think that the statistics on divorce are good news for me. Just think; all that new business! Not only the couples who get divorced and jump into the next marriage before theyíre ready, but also all the kids from dysfunctional homes who have no idea what a happy home is like. Thereís no question their marriages wonít work!
Luckily, I see a much bigger picture than that. Why? I was the child of a bitter divorce, and I remember spending my childhood terrified of the dark, because that was when my parents had their worst arguments. As someone who was divorced myself, I also know the fear and uncertainty of starting over. For these reasons I am passionate about helping people see divorce as the catalyst for an extraordinary life. And I know that itís possible, because Iíve done it myself. So here are four simple steps you can take to be the winner in your divorce:
Step One: Release the Need to Blame
It is very important to release the need to blame our spouse for whatever went wrong in our marriage. Whenever we blame someone else for what happens in our life we give our power away. This may seem hard to accept at first. But as Dr. Kimberly Ventis-Darks says, there are no victims, only volunteers, and we teach people how to treat us by what we will accept from them. The good news is that when we take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in our lives, we begin to have real power. This does not mean condoning someoneís poor behavior, it simply means recognizing our part in the drama.
Step Two: Refuse to Criticize Yourself
Sometimes, instead of blaming our spouse, we begin to attack ourselves instead. Metaphysical author and speaker Louise L. Hay explains that criticism only locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Think of the things you criticized yourself for in the past. Did you stop doing those things? Probably not. Criticism breaks down, but praise builds us up. Learn to praise yourself, for every little thing you can think of.
Donít be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. They are wonderful things! Think of when you were a baby, just learning to walk. You got up, you fell down. You got up, you fell down. And your parents praised you and were so proud! Eventually you got up, and stayed up. And so it is. Just think if the first time you fell down, your parents began to berate you and tell you how stupid you were. You would probably still be crawling now.
We need to learn to see the magic in our mistakes. Especially when you are going through a divorce, refuse to criticize yourself, NO MATTER WHAT! Both criticism and blame are smokescreens that block us from seeing the lesson that will take us to the next level. Remember, we did not come into this life to change anyone else. We are here to heal our own lives. Which brings me to the third step:
Step Three: Be Willing to See the Lesson
Once we remove the smokescreens from our eyes, the lesson we need to learn will be there waiting for us, shining like a gift. We may not see it immediately. But donít worry. All we need is a little willingness, and the Universe will do the rest.
You may think, ďThat is easy for you to say. You donít know what Iím going through, and the pain I feel.Ē But the truth is, I do. I went through it as a child, and an adult. When I learned to stop blaming my parents, and understand that they were doing the best they could with the knowledge, information, and awareness that they had, my life got better. When I learned to stop criticizing myself for staying in a bad marriage so long, my life got better still.
There are no mistakes. There is a reason why you are going through everything you are going through. Be gentle and patient with yourself. And reduce your fear level with knowledge:
Step Four: Knowledge Is Power
One thing that makes divorce so tough is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear from the horror stories your friends and acquaintances tell you. Fear of what will happen to your finances. A little knowledge can go a long way in this department. The fact is, when it comes to a final resolution there is only so much that the courts will allow. The basic premise is an equal distribution of assets and a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the children. The more you learn about what can and canít be done in a divorce case, the more money you will save and the more peace of mind you will have. This is no time to hide our heads in the sand! Take the initiative to find out all you can.
There are many great resources available on the internet, and there are even seminars you can attend that will give you an understanding of the basics. Our office can tell you about upcoming events. Another resource I highly recommend is books, such as Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford. It offers many helpful suggestions for keeping the right perspective.
Each one of the steps I am suggesting to you I have followed myself. The change did not happen overnight, but I persisted. First I learned to love myself. In doing so I created a space for the man who is the love of my life. Now for the first time in my life, I have a happy home. My approach to divorce was the springboard that took me to a higher level. It can work for you. For more information please visit our website at www.lady4justice.com.
Affirmation: Today is a new day. I am a new me. I think differently. I act differently. Others treat me differently. All my changes are easy to make.