Updated: Oct 10, 2019
D - I - V - O - R - C - E: A Guide in Preparing for and Rebuilding your Life
February 7, 2018 | Craig Maguire, IMPRESSIONS FCS Inc.
Without-a-doubt, few of us have ever entered into marriage with any thoughts and consideration toward divorce. This is simply the last thing on our minds. After-all, we have managed to find a partner who we love dearly and who shares the same love and affection for us. What could ever go wrong?
The truth is that statistics often place divorce rates at 50% of all marriages. This is certainly disturbing however, we often fail to consider that our marriage could ever end up as just another statistic. Many couples do find the peace, harmony and love of a lifetime that they have aspired for and, although they go through the same trials and tribulations as everyone else, their love and devotion to one another never withers. So, what happens when this is not your experience? Divorce represents many different things to different people but ultimately, it means that two people simply cannot find the happiness and comfort in their relationship that they once knew. The two leading causes of divorce are believed to be failure of communications and financial difficulties. Although these stressors certainly contribute to a host of other conditions and circumstances, the result however, is often a feeling of isolation, rejection, disappointment and unhappiness. For some, years of remaining in a relationship with these feelings lead to an eventual eruption of emotions for which they can no longer bring themselves to continue on the same path and neglect their emotional pain any longer.
Such conditions prevail in many marriages today and often, it remains extremely difficult to decide on any action as the complexities of a marriage are so profound – there are often children to consider, financial matters, real estate and savings, fears of reduced income in daily living, and a wide array of major considerations and hurdles one may very well experience. In addition to this, it can often be excruciating to even decide where to start.
THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CONTEMPLATING DIVORCE
Of all the things racing through your mind, special consideration needs to be applied in reviewing and ensuring the primary conditions of your marital relationship.
1. Love, trust, respect and commitment:
Naturally, these words can represent different things to different people. The important thing to remember here however is that if you are feeling and genuinely believe that these “qualities” are lacking in your marriage, and no resolve has been possible through years of efforts, then you are essentially living in a “love-less” relationship. You may love your spouse very much and maybe always will, however, without these essential qualities and a comfort in having them shared with you in return will eventually lead to thoughts of resentment, discouragement, and hopelessness. This is not a healthy relationship, for you or any other member of this household, including your children, and often such relationships fall into ruin because one person alone simply cannot hold the weight of this relationship all on their shoulders any longer.
2. Meaningful and honest communications:
We all know and appreciate that not everyone is a “great” communicator. This is ok and does not make or break a relationship. What does negatively affect and ultimately degrades a relationship however is when communications with your spouse mostly centre on idle chit-chat, arguments and disagreements, and an increasing desire to avoid communicating with your spouse altogether. It stands to reason that if people find it difficult to discuss relatively minor topics, then the difficult ones will be even more difficult. When there are few opportunities for meaningful communications to be effectively realized, communication has effectively been “broken”, or at the very least, severely damaged. Add to this, the element of dishonesty or evasion by a spouse in their communications, and you have a relationship that cannot prosper and grow stronger as they no longer respect their own feelings enough, or that of their spouse, to even be honest and upfront with their feelings and the person they have committed their love and respect. With these essential elements of your relationship missing, many become the essence of “emotional hostages” within their marriages and are unable to break through the destructiveness that only seems to continue to grow within their relationship.
3. Confidence, self-esteem, self-image, and integrity:
All relationships, regardless of who it is with, have the potential to contribute to our feelings of confidence and self-worth. A marital relationship is no less impactful to our view and feelings of our self. With this said, remember however, that your personal happiness cannot be “controlled” by another – unless you allow them this control and relinquish “ownership” over your own feelings and emotions. Let’s break this statement down in more simpler terms: when you are self-doubting, blaming yourself, avoiding situations, feeling rejected and feeling a sense of hopelessness and despair, primarily because of how your relationship is making you feel, and specifically, how your spouse is treating you, then you have lost your “ownership” of your ability to manage your confidence and integrity to yourself. Again, this is certainly not a healthy nor enjoyable relationship; and, without your commitment to take responsibility again for your own happiness, chances are you will not find it forthcoming any time soon within this damaged relationship which exists. Be willing to truly reflect on your feelings and emotions and take steps to regain the confidence in living you once enjoyed – even if you need to do it alone. The lack of affection and responsiveness you continue to experience in your relationship will likely not change anytime soon however, your resolve to regaining your stamina and courage to be “yourself” again can and will have a dramatic impact on your ability to find happiness again.
WHERE TO START FROM HERE?
So, after reviewing these three essential qualities of a healthy marital relationship, you decide that your marriage is severely lacking in these vital commodities. What can you do to “save” your marriage and, if necessary, prepare for rebuilding your life in the event that this is no longer possible. Simply put, just as it took two people to enter into this marriage, it will demand that each person commit to actively and honestly resolving their issues. Without it, the ability to “save” one’s marriage is relatively impractical.
Divorce is never an easy or comfortable consideration for anyone to discuss. Our fears, apprehensions, and insecurities about “life after divorce” can be very overwhelming and frightening for many considering such a possibility. Although it is encouraging and beneficial to consider alternatives, at the onset of your relationship breakdown, such as marital counselling, mediation, etc., if you have surpassed such opportunities or realities, the following measures are offered for your astute consideration in preparing for your independence and preparation in rebuilding your life successfully.
1. Control your emotions:
Even divorces that proceed with relatively few hurdles and disagreements can still illicit a huge barrage of emotional responses when it comes to issues involving children, finances, property and other such matters. It’s important to remain calm and in control of your emotions. Emotional outbursts will not prevail in making this process any less emotional and difficult and can often lead to your spouse reacting with similar responses in return. It’s also important to remember that divorce is primarily always about money!!! Again, if you were unable to speak openly with your spouse previously about financial matters, this process of divorce probably won’t come any easier. Be sure to keep your composure, your integrity and your determination to remain in control of your feelings and emotions no matter how difficult some experiences may prove to be.
2. Seek assistance and guidance:
It is difficult to know and consider every nuance of divorce and what you should do in order to prepare for such an endeavour. For this reason, seek the assistance and direct guidance of a lawyer, financial adviser, banker, friends and family and any one who is knowledgeable and able to provide you with the guidance needed. This is not to say you need to follow everyone’s advice however, it is meant to prepare you by providing opportunities to make appropriate choices in how to proceed and what steps you are prepared to make. Proper planning and preparation is essential in preparing for you future, and that of your children.
3. Keep a positive perspective of your future:
As difficult as it may be to believe right now, there is indeed “life” after divorce. Although this time in your life is one which will no-doubt be a very draining and emotional experience, there are better days ahead for you and your children. It’s important that you keep focus on your plans established and remain positive of your future so you can continue your journey to the fulfillment and happiness you desire.
4. Be organized:
Over the course of your divorce proceedings, you will have days where you feel like the weight of the World is upon you. With so many things on the go, expectations, and responsibilities in maintaining your plan, it can be simply exhausting. Again, it’s important to stay organized so that you can “control” the tasks in your day in a purposeful and manageable manner. Be patient with yourself, and others, and allow yourself the acceptance that some days just won’t go as smooth as others. Ultimately though, the day is coming whereby you can start your new life again and rebuild the future you wish to accomplish.
ESTABLISHING A PLAN AND MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY
There are certainly a number of considerations you should prioritize when considering a divorce and starting a new life. In brief, most industry professionals recommend some important standards for your consideration, such as:
• Gather financial documents – bank records, credit cards, financial statements, mortgages, etc., and place in a safe deposit box
• Produce a comprehensive financial plan (lifestyle analysis) – consult with a qualified and experienced financial planner
• Monitor your spending – and that of your spouse
• Acquire a new bank account and credit card - in your name only
• Change your e-mail address and passwords, social media, etc., and consider acquiring a post office box
• Update all of your accounts – with your children’s school, driver’s licence, government documents, insurance companies, banks, etc.
• Build your credit rating through appropriate measures recommended by your financial adviser
Consult with other professionals who are able to advise you appropriately – such as an estate-planning attorney, a therapist or counsellor, and perhaps even a vocational counsellor It is essential that you develop a realistic and achievable plan of action in which to assess and determine your future endeavours to ensure your success. These often can include:
• Budgeting • Retirement planning • Asset protection and insurance • Estate planning • Investments • Children’s educational savings
Although this article is not intended as a comprehensive guide, it is hoped that it will prepare those considering divorce for opportunities to feel confident and assured in their abilities and planned endeavours to secure their future.
Such an experience is seldom an easy or enjoyable one however, it will help you to re-discover yourself again; your strengths and abilities, and to regain the courage and confidence that you know you have inside. Keep your head up and remember, you don’t have to do this alone – there are professionals available to guide you and help you to prepare for and rebuild YOUR LIFE.
About the Author: Craig Maguire is a proactive executive with approximately 30 years utilizing organizational development experience, project/case management capabilities, therapeutic counselling and intervention services, business management and administrative accountabilities, and strategic educational/coaching facilitation.
He is an inspiring leader and outstanding visioning, strategic planning and change management skills
. With years of leadership and community experience, he is recognized for his passionate intuitive leadership, community investment, stakeholder engagement, enthusiasm, public speaking, and exceptional ability to motivate and engage people in proactive strategies, with emphasis on developing local, Provincial, and National partnerships and alliances.
Craig is engaged in private practice operations through his established organization, IMPRESSIONS FCS Inc. and is Provincially-licensed as a registered social worker in British Columbia, Canada.