My current guest, Molly writes the blog, Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce. Aside from being a beautiful, calming title, I had all manner of questions about it because one of my universal truths is that all divorces are painful. Is there such thing as a peaceful divorce? Was it something Molly and her ex committed to as a goal? Is it something that comes from fighting against divorce for so long? How did they get to that peaceful point? Here’s Molly:
The blog started from Facebook posts. I would post status updates about things that were working in our divorce and I called them “postcards from a peaceful divorce.” My friends really liked it, so I had several friends who were bloggers and they encouraged me to start a blog, so I did that a year ago.
The term aside, I guess it sort of happened organically. We both knew we wanted to stay friends and we both knew we wanted to have a good sense of family unit for the kids, but it certainly didn’t always work that way in the beginning. We definitely had our moments of trying to make this work and not always working.
The first Thanksgiving after we separated, I invited my ex to come to have the same Thanksgiving we had had for the past twelve years of our relationship. At the last minute he forgot to bring the charcoal that he was supposed to bring so I could grill the turkey. It was the only thing I’d asked him to bring and it was now Thanksgiving Day. I was mad that nothing was open and I had to call all my friends to find some charcoal. In the meanwhile he got mad and refused to come and started calling and getting all mad about the whole situation. We eventually worked it out the next day.
We had lots of trials and error like that, but I think we always felt like our kids were very important. We didn’t leave the relationship hating each other, we left the relationship still feeling a very strong sense of love, but feeling a sense of “we just can’t do this anymore.”
He was the one that said that. I really hung onto it for as long as I could, but once he was gone and out of the house I realized how much more peaceful my life felt. We were engaged in so much daily bickering and conflict and huge fights all the time that I had become so used to that as my life.
So all of a sudden I felt peace. Life felt so much more peaceful and our relationship felt much more peaceful. However, peaceful is not a place that you arrive to and never change after that. It’s continually a process.
For us there still are moments where we’re not as peaceful as we’d like to be. It’s really still easy to push each other’s buttons, especially in moments of stress, but I do think that one of the things we have done much better on is not letting it escalate, not falling into old patterns, or when they’re happening we say to each other,
“Oh, we’re falling into this old pattern, let’s stop. Let’s nip it in the bud.”
We both have the mindfulness and the agreement to do that.
The Divorce Coach Says
I suspect that not everyone wishes for a peaceful divorce but I believe that once you come to that desire, you could experience less stress and emotional turmoil. However, as Molly so honestly shares, “Peaceful is not a place that you arrive to and never change after that. It’s continually a process.”
Even if you and your ex are both committed to being peaceful, you will inevitably disagree on some issues and you will inevitably argue. If you don’t, it means that one of you is silently compromising and not expressing your true feelings. That you disagree is not important, what’s important is how you handle those disagreements. Putting a framework of “peaceful” around your relationship may help you, as it helps Molly not fall into the behavior patterns of your marriage.
This segment of Molly’s story calls to mind Mama J and her story of how her ex believed that marriage meant not fighting. Mama J remarried and she her husband believe that how they handle their disagreements will influence how their children will handle disagreements in their relationships. It was probably Mama J that got me thinking about my own upbringing and how being a middle child lead me to be very much the peacekeeper, the one who comprises. Being aware of those tapes, has helped me to become more assertive (without being agressive).
Photo credit: eperales