worried-girl-413690_640When you begin a serious discussion about divorce, it should ideally be thought of as the last option.

There are many reasons to take this position, but perhaps the most important is a matter of history; the history of the relationship that exists. Too many people make money, children, or property the focus of attention when moving on to a divorce. However, none of those things really matter when the two people involved are thinking about ending a relationship with a history going back many years.

Remember The Past

Fights, arguments, confrontations, or whatever you choose to label the ongoing disputes, are often the result of forgetting where you have both come from. The question is how to make a transition from a confrontational approach to the pursuit of a negotiated peace. While this sounds a lot like two countries at war, the difference is that the countries in most cases do not have a history of harmony, but of conflict. In a marriage, there has been a history of agreement, even before the marriage. The best way to continue the history is to pause to look back; but not for too long.

People Change

A knee jerk reaction to this suggestion is, “That was then and this is now.” This has more truth than you might see, but the current issue and goal is resolution. What is often overlooked is that people get married and commit to a permanent situation and a person, but forget that the other person, like themselves, will change over time. Each person can ask if they are the same person they were five or ten years ago, and will they be the same person five or ten years from now. One rule of life is that all living things grow and change. As long as each of you are alive, there will be change.

That change takes some very obvious forms. Physically, when a woman and a man both grow older and experience physical changes. Emotionally, perhaps when a parent passes away or when a child decides to leave the home to stand on their own. Mentally, through our personal growth as we learn new things and our perspective of life changes. All of us will go through changes and the fact is that some of what we learn and what happens to us will directly affect those around us, especially our marriage partner.

Be Realistic About Where Life Has Taken You

The first step in calling a truce is to acknowledge that your history and how life has changed you and brought you to where you are now. Be honest and ask yourselves whether you really believed that the other person would change as much as they did during your marriage. If the answer is no, then are they really a different person just because they have grown and changed, or are they the same person you came to love, but simply seeing the world differently? Take a look in the mirror and ask whether the same is true of yourself. Then, ask if the other person has the right to judge you the same way.

Work Out Your Issues Fairly

If you are looking for three, or seven, or twelve steps to follow you will be disappointed. Deciding to stop the fighting and move forward to discussing the situation is a matter of willingness, not a twelve step program. An agreement has to be made to approach whatever and however many problems there are with the intention of resolution, not of winning. Look around and ask if there are really ever any winners in a war. The reality should bring each of you to realize that the history you have is worth far more than the differences that you believe are irreconcilable. A divorce lawyer will tell you, this is a last resort, because in the end nobody wins. If you believe there are winners and losers, it may be worthwhile to spend some time taking a close and hard look at the lives of divorced people.

At the end of the day, to stop the fighting and start talking is a matter of choice. It has to be a decision that is mutually agreed upon. Simply agreeing on this fact is a good starting point. Remember that there are rarely, if ever, easy solutions when people have reached the point of seriously thinking about a divorce. Consider the likelihood that it took being married a number of years to reach this point, and resolving any issues may take just as much time.

However, if you do decide that separation is the right solution for you and your partner, you can be sure that we will be here to support you sensitively and professionally, to create the best possible outcome for all the parties.