How you approach your divorce can be the difference between a traumatic experience and a transformative one. The Zen of an uncontested divorce is achieved by accepting and not contesting the end of your relationship as husband and wife. You came together by love in marriage and ending your marriage with love will help you both remain on good terms with your spouse, especially, if you have children as co-parents.
The collaborative divorce and mediation models offer a supportive and nurturing space for couples to end their marriage with love. The negative energy that you would have otherwise spent contesting your divorce can be instead harnessed in more positive manner envisioning a better life for yourself and each other.
Here are some Buddhist inspired steps to help you let go and walk down the path of an uncontested divorce.
- Show compassion for your spouse and yourself. Divorce represents the end of a marriage which is a union joined by physical, emotional, financial and spiritual ties. Some ties are more complex than others and the untangling of these ties is not an easy task. You are both likely feeling anger, hurt, and loss. However, getting stuck in these emotions will likely keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving forward to a resolution. Keeping your heart open will allow each of you to envision a life after divorce. Relationships end for a myriad of reasons and it takes two people for a relationship to continue. You both entered into your marriage with the best of intentions; honoring those same intentions and qualities during your divorce will help you relate to your spouse in a less hostile and more empathetic manner. Connecting through this compassion will create a new pathway for each of you to move on with your lives.
- Accept that your marriage is ending. Divorce cannot be defined or rationalized by any one thing or event. How did your love for each other bring you to a place of acrimony, misery and pain? Blaming each other for the end of your marriage will prevent you from acknowledging and accepting responsibility for your own actions. It is OK to be unhappy in a relationship and to end the relationship without assessing blame on each other. No one should suffer and remain in a relationship that is unfulfilling. Owning your inherent right to live your life without suffering is cathartic tonic for all loss, sadness and anger you may be feeling inside.
- Free Yourself from the Attachment of Your Divorce. Live your own truth; unencumbered by what your marriage or divorce was or was not or what it could have or should have been. Learning to release yourself from the outcomes or experiences you expected will allow you to focus on what you need now to live in the present. By opening your future to possibilities rather than expectations an enormous burden will be lifted and you will feel a greater sense of peace and serenity with yourself and the world around you.
- Remain in the Present Moment. Remaining present with your thoughts and intentions will help you identify with greater clarity what is most important to you. Listening to what is most important to your spouse and understanding what is important to him or her is essential in the negotiation of a settlement. You do not need to agree only an understanding is needed so you can each reach a settlement that balances your highest interests. Judgment, hurtful words and accusations will distract you. Being present in the moment to hear and actually understand what you want for yourself and each other forces you each to confront a reality you spend your entire marriage avoiding. This can only happen by revealing each of your authentic selves and what is needed by each of you to live a more fulfilling life by separating from each other.
- Impermanence: It is important to remember that your settlement negotiations will end at some point and your divorce will be finalized. A new chapter of your life will be beginning. Your life will change however life is constantly changing for everyone else too. Going through a divorce is challenging and painful however knowing that this experience will end at some point should provide you with some degree of comfort. By not contesting your divorce your road is already paved for a smoother journey. You began this journey with your spouse on your wedding day for better or for worse and your divorce is no exception. The more peace, love and understanding you can show each other and yourselves on this part of your journey together the easier and less painful the ending as your life as a married couple will be. Your marriage may be ending but a new chapter is beginning for you alone to write.
To end in the words of Nick Lowe’s “What’s So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding” there is nothing funny about peace love and understanding and in fact it is the essential foundation of a zen uncontested divorce.
“As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny ‘bout peace love and understanding?”