The request from a very wise couple who wanted to handle the process with respect, dignity, caring, and intention. They had had long and deep conversations about the paths they were travelling in life, and how remaining together would take tremendous compromise. They each wanted 100% of everything for their partner. They decided to end a 37 year marriage, and travel their separate paths, while still remaining friends.
Separating is painful, no matter how collaborative the decision. They wanted to channel their energyto managing it well. But we all know that divorce triggers much emotion. Delivering the message to others can be draining. People often have both bewildering feelings and a myriad of questions as they receive the news. Naturally, those feelings often turn inward and ruffle the feathers of their own relationships…are they truly happy? Safe? Grateful? Sometimes those get in the way of hearing….and healing.
So I interviewed each one of them separately, the same way I would do for a ceremony. Took their heartfelt words, blended them together, and created an announcement for them that would answer the questions everyone asks. It gave their family and friends a clear idea of where they were and what would happen next. And it gave those who know and love them real clarity about what would and wouldn’t change, and what they could do to help. “It would have taken us hours and hours to write…we were just too close to it, couldn’t see our way out.”
The response to the announcement was heartwarming, to say the least. It included these comments:
“You two amaze me, I sit here crying, reading this, thinking that you are the most mature, smart grown up people that I have ever heard of. “
“Change is a never ending series of stairs – when we look forward – that series of steep steps leading up to the horizon is daunting – it’s when we look back to see how many stairs we have managed to climb, have overcome, have embraced. It may take awhile for us to make it to the next step in the “stairs of change” – but eventually we will. Our hearts are sad – but I know we feel not what you are feeling – it is our grief, our sense of sadness, our sense of loss – but we will put those feelings aside, and we will support and we will respect. In many ways, you have made it easier for us.”
“What a beautiful way to tell your friends. You have been so forthcoming in your letter and so generous in your praise.”
“At any age it takes courage to move in a new direction. It is far easier to stay in a relationship in the name of financial expediency, the kids or “what will people think”, than to face the reality of the situation head on. As you said in your e mail, it takes courage to grow up to become who we really are.”
“I am proud of the two of you for being so honest and straight forward. Your strength and decisiveness is remarkable.”
“Marriage is a journey in life with lots of bumps and rejoicing along the way….for many, like you, we reach a fork in the road and need to make a choice in direction. Many make that choice in anger and resentment but it appears that you have made your choice with much respect and love for each other…and that’s where I’d like to meet you in friendship.”
“Wow – what a tremendous message despite the uncertainty and strong emotions the unknown brings!”
A truly courageous couple who EACH deserve 100% of everything. With some pretty stellar people around them as they begin their solo journeys.