Marjorie JamesOne of the hardest parts of divorce may well be the blame game, the “It is all your fault” mentality. The hard fact is that when most once loving marriages turn sour, it is not a one-way street. The probability is that both spouses have to share at least some of responsibility for the divorce.

In many tense situations, it is much easier to focus on the other person’s faults or indiscretions than to look at our own culpability. Divorcing couples are in a survival mode, and if one can focus on the affair or the financial wrongdoings or the anger of the other, then neither has to inspect his or her own actions or attitudes.

Let me make something very clear. In no way do I mean that an abused spouse “asked for it” or is responsible for the anger of his or her spouse. Abuse is an irrational response caused by the uncontrolled anger of the abuser and is a criminal act. In the face of abuse, the best response is to leave quickly!

However, divorcing couples need to realize that “My being right does not make you wrong. We could both be right.” Divorce can be a time of learning how to communicate in a positive manner, learning how to stand up for oneself without being harsh or condescending,¬†or learning how to convey emotions, beliefs, and ideas without attacking the personhood of the other.

This is a difficult task in the midst of the high emotions associated with the dissolution of a marriage. What a Collaborative team can do is help each partner calmly and rationally deal with the process so that emotions are channeled into productive solutions. This, to me, is one of the greatest paths to the ultimate healing that both people need.

It is not easy, but this process will lead to many benefits in the future. If children are part of the dissolution, then the two people will be seeing each other on a regular basis. How much more positive these encounters can be with a calm, resolved solution. In-laws are also involved in the divorce, and their need for closure will be met so much more successfully if there is rationality and, yes, peace between the divorced parties.

When couples avail themselves of the services of the family counselors, financial experts, mental health specialists, and attorneys who are committed to a peaceful outcome through Collaboration, the process can become a growing experience. People affected by divorce will have the opportunity to improve their lives and thrive. This is what any experience, no matter how earth-shattering, should be.


Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.