While people don’t typically enter marriage to end up getting divorced, we all know that it happens. If you have gotten to the point where you are considering divorce, and especially if you have children, make sure you can say to yourself that you have done everything in your power to try to make your marriage work. Once you can say that you have done everything in your power to try to make your marriage work (such as reading books on marriage, marital therapy, religious counseling, or anything you can do to improve your marriage), and you have arrived at the decision that your marriage is over; it is critical you know HOW to get divorced gracefully. Divorce, like anything else in life, does not come with directions. The more guidance and information people have when going through a divorce, the easier it can be. Because most divorces are often overwhelming, sometimes people ‘forget’ to take care of themselves. Too much paperwork or appointments with lawyers can be time consuming so by following the three steps below, you will feel more focused, relaxed and capable of managing it all.
Step 1: Carve out 10 minutes every day. Just 10 minutes! During this time, it is YOU time… Choose to do whatever you like, no matter how pressing other issues may be. You can read a magazine, sing, take a walk, pray, meditate, write in a journal, take a hot bath/shower, watch funny videos on youtube.com, paint, anything you want!!!! It must be something, however, that has the potential to bring you a smile.
Step 2: Build your team! In other words, make a list of all the people in your life on your team, people who can support you. These people may be your parents, close friends, your attorney, your therapist, your minister, priest, or rabbi, or even peers in a divorce support group. Reach out to at least one of your team members each day to check in with them and when needed, ask specifically for what you need. Remind yourself, sometimes the most well-meaning loved ones get busy, or don’t know exactly how they can help you. Ask, for example, “would you help me fill out some of my paperwork?” or “Would you come to my attorney’s appointment with me?” Giving your team members specific ways to help you actually helps them too.
Step 3: Let go where you can. In terms of the divorce settlement, ask yourself, ‘What is the absolute bottom line I can live with?” This is in regards to finances, time with kids, your living situation, etc. When you know what your bottom line is, it is easier to navigate the terms of the divorce settlement. Oftentimes, couples start the divorce process by truly wanting it to be amicable. This is not often how it ends up though. Instead, one person gets angry that the other person reached an all new ‘low’ and then wants to retaliate. Retaliation doesn’t often work in life, but especially does not work in divorce.
Keep your eye on the ‘prize’ throughout your divorce process… Your prize is going to be your freedom and a chance to redefine your life. How you go through your divorce is solely up to you. Follow these 3 steps and it will go much more smoothly than it otherwise could. Feel free to seek professional help for emotional support and guidance on this life changing path. It doesn’t have to be just an end, it is also a beginning.