The Good Divorce. Is this some literary example of an oxymoron or a new way to think about a common dynamic in some relationships? It’s probably fair to say that couples don’t go into their marriage vows with some clause that says, “Till death do us part, but if we do realize that this relationship isn’t healthy for us, let’s at least decide to have a healthy divorce.” Perhaps this is one of those ideas thats easier said than done; however, I would challenge that if you aren’t saying it, considering it, or envisioning what a good divorce could look like, you’re probably less likely to experience one.
Divorce is filled with dynamics that couples will have to work through (effective communication, agreement on financial issues, etc.) which ironically may have led to them seeking the divorce in the first place. A common point of struggle for couples considering divorce is how it will affect their children. If the question is whether to stay married for the children or get divorced for the children, you may be asking the wrong question. Perhaps an alternative question is how can we have a healthy relationship for our children and with our children? This is what you want to model; this is what you want your children to experience. Asking this question may be a good place to start in answering the dilemma of how to have a good divorce.
Consider the following taken from http://www.emeryondivorce.com/childrens_bill_of_rights_in_divorce.php
The Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce
Every child whose parents divorce has:
1. The right to love and be loved by both of your parents without feeling guilt or disapproval.
2. The right to be protected from your parents’ anger with each other.
3. The right to be kept out of the middle of your parents’ conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.
4. The right not to have to choose one of your parents over the other.
5. The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of your parents’ emotional problems.
6. The right to know well in advance about important changes that will affect your life; for example, when one of your parents is going to move or get remarried.
7. The right to reasonable financial support during your childhood and through your college years.
8.The right to have feelings, to express your feelings, and to have both parents listen to how you feel.
9.The right to have a life that is a close as possible to what it would have been if your parents stayed together.
10.The right to be a kid.
Divorce is often a trying experience highlighting many differences with a partner you once may have been very aligned with. Working to find alignment, even in the slightest of ways, can be a starting point for working through conflicts that arise. Allowing your children to be a point of alignment and staying focused on their needs and rights can be a beacon toward a healthy way of being–a good divorce.