Now that Valentine’s Day is over, it is time to turn to a more serious topic: Separation and Divorce.
As my practice includes divorce counselling, marital and family therapy, I have a great deal of experience with couples and families as they struggle to come to terms with their pain and restructure their lives. After many years working as a divorce coach, child specialist, and divorce mediator, I was convinced that something was missing in the way we, in our secular world, were helping people through divorce. With this in mind, i began my doctoral research, mining an ancient, archetypal ritual for its wisdom in healing the wounds of divorce and was astonished at what I learned from my research participants. As a result of my experience and research, I was just interviewed and quoted in an article, by Anne Bokma, for the United Church’s online magazine article, “With This Ring I Divorce,” an article looking at divorce ritual and ceremony.
Divorce is indeed tragedy, but despite the tragedy and pain experienced at the profound death of a marriage, there are times that we either have no longer have a choice, or both partners agree that the irreconcilable differences are just too great and the marriage must end.
Sadly, divorcing couples in the secular world have neither ritual nor safe containers in which to experience the pain surrounding the death of their marriages and accompanying dreams. Our society provides no sacred space in which we can say goodbye to our former spouses and move forward, leaving resentments behind, allowing us to emerge reborn as single, independent, and free individuals.
Often, the “divorced” person is left seething with resentment, and, tragically, it is the children who become the recipients of the pain that secular divorcing adults have had no way to discharge together.
My doctoral research and soon-to-be-published book (based on my research), Moving Forward: An Ancient Divorce Ritual For the Modern World, takes an in-depth and practical look at how we can, with dignity and respect for each other and our children, create our own healing, secular divorce rituals.