Marjorie JamesStories are the secret reservoir of values. Change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves, and you change the individuals and nations. Ben Okri

No matter what age we are, stories are an important part of our lives. Other than reality shows, sports, and news, most of what we watch on television are stories. Actually some of that is also a story, but that is a whole different blog which probably never be written! Ask someone about his or her favorite TV show, and you will be enthusiastically inundated with information about the characters, plot, and setting.

We also like to tell our own stories, those parts of our life that have had an important impact on who we are and where we are now. I recently visited a preschool classroom and listened as the little ones told stories about their favorite pets. Such excitement!

Telling stories about what led up to a divorce are not so happy or exciting to tell. However, within each divorce is a collection of stories. Betrayal, humiliation, frustration, anger, and many other emotions need to be expressed. Healing will not come until the stories are told and addressed. However, out of a divorce situation can come positive, exciting stories as well. It is important to remind ourselves that not all stories are negative, but during a divorce that seems to be what comes to the forefront.

Part of divorce is each person finding his or her true, individual story. It is possible that the story being lived during the marriage is not the real story for at least one of the participants. Listen to what one wife said: “I incorporated the views of my husband about me into my self-concept. My story included expectations of others based on our financial and occupational situation. I want to change my story.”

The good news is that life stories can be changed. In fact, by design divorce changes the life of each individual and any children involved. For many, this is an opportunity to rewrite the future in a positive way for the children and both parents. Collaborative law teams, which can include professionals such as life coaches, mental health specialists, financial experts, and attorneys, are trained to listen to a story and use that narrative to assist in story changing as they help facilitate the divorce. It is a good part of why they do collaborative!

It may sound weird that divorce can be positive for the people involved, but a change from a somewhat dysfunctional husband or wife into a fully-functioning, happy adult is a good thing and a great beginning to a new story.

Copyright 2014. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.

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