Everyone knows that divorce is one of the most traumatic life experiences a person can go through. In my last blog, I wrote about six practices to follow on a daily basis, in order to find peace during a divorce. I think these same practices should be followed by anyone even contemplating divorce, as well. I would like to include a few additional thoughts to help you to mentally prepare and arm yourself for the arduous process of divorce, or for the difficult task of healing a bruised marriage, so that you may come out on the other side with less stress, animosity, anxiety and anger.
Start with your own personal soul search. Begin with the question, “Am I ready to file?” Everyone contemplating a divorce has waged a personal war with themselves, known as: “SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?” This internal struggle can go on for years, decades or even a life time. To remain in limbo is damaging to you emotionally and physically. It also hurts your other relationships, especially your relationship with your spouse and children. A pro and con debate with yourself is, of course, necessary as no one enters into marriage lightly and therefore, the decision to exit a marriage should not be taken lightly, either. That being said, the best advice I can offer on the subject is to be brave and follow your intuition. Unfortunately, most of us struggle against the quiet voice inside, especially when it comes to something as life-altering as divorce. If you have been ignoring your instinctual knowledge that your marriage is unsalvageable, in favor of rationalizing that the reasons you think you must stay married are superior, it is time to think seriously about making a change in your life. “Quiet desperation” should not be treated as a badge of honor when the consequence is oftentimes the happiness of your family and your own sense of peace.
I believe I can safely say that we all have two voices in our heads, competing to be heard. For me, the first voice is my “Dragon Lady.” Sometimes, we confuse this voice, the loudest voice, as the voice of reason. The Dragon Lady is quick to point out flaws, berates for not being perfect by society’s standards and creates doubt where none should be. Her advice seems sound on the surface; always urging me to be sharper, flawless…more. However, this voice, strong and sure as it may be, is the voice that causes all of us to put the opinion of others before what we know to be right. It’s the voice that tells you to stay married because you can’t make it on your own. It’s the voice that tells you that divorce is going to make matters worse for your children. It’s the voice that tells you your friends and family will not approve of a separation.
The second voice is the voice that is connected to our inner wisdom and our heart. This voice is quiet and often silent. It cannot be forced or rushed. The dragon will shout fear and doubt over your intuition. It will push you to rationalize unhappiness; causing anxiety and insecurity. However, what lives in our skin and our spirit is entirely our own, built by a lifetime of experiences that are completely unique; so, striving to live up to other people’s expectations, in the long run, is a recipe for unhappiness and resentment.
Your intuition, on the other hand, does not make you feel bad about yourself. To recognize this still voice or gut feeling, you will need to be quiet. If you can hear this voice, you will note that it does not lie and it is not forceful. The inner advice you receive when you quiet your mind will feel peaceful and right because this truth comes from the heart! It takes courage to follow this voice, as it often shows us that the right path involves pain, but have you noticed that no one ever regrets doing so? This courage may allow you to save your marriage and learn how to rebuild with your partner. It may, however, direct you down a different path, filled with fear of the unknown. Regardless of what your instincts tell you, you can be sure that you are on the right track.
Now, how do we bring this guidance into our own life when it comes to deciding whether to file for divorce? We need to slay the dragon so we can hear our heart.