Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Advice for the Divorced

50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.

According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:

  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

So wow, third time is NOT a charm is it??  I saw those statistics above and had a very cynical thought.....I know teaching my sons to be great husbands is important but maybe teaching them to be an ex-husband is important too. Cynical I know but perhaps (and very sadly) just as important. If it helps you handle this thought, I do think there's a way to teach them to be a great ex-husband that will also prepare them to be the best husband they can be. 

  • Be respectful. Of course, this one applies to everything in life. There are people that I deal with daily that I don't like but they still deserve respect. Sometimes it's hard but search for that little part of your ex that you were attracted to in the beginning. There has to be something you can find positive. 
  • Communicate. Man, if we had the ability to communicate perhaps we wouldn't be where we are. Oh well, communication is still key. And do it respectfully. There really is a way to say, "I don't care for that, let's try this instead." Avoid being passive aggressive. It's really better to say "I don't like this" and then offer ideas for solutions instead of resorting to insults and fighting with no real true desire to fix it. 
  • Listen. Don't pretend you know what the other person's motives are because you don't. Truth is, there may be no motive. Don't pretend to know what the other person wants. Open your mind and listen. Try to work out a way to keep a tiny bit of your relationship intact. 
  • Focus on what's important. Of course, in our case this is the kids. Think about what's in their best interest. If you're about to answer negatively or with a "no" (could be to calling the other parent, allowing time that isn't "yours" etc) ask yourself who you're hurting. Sometimes no is the right answer but if it's because you want to "get" your ex, then count to ten and think it through. 
  • Don't let hate, anger, and bitterness dwell. This one just seems to be common sense. I don't know why anyone would choose to live that way. It's bad physically, mentally and spiritually. Eventually all that pent-up yuck will affect your health in a very real way. It'll affect your other relationships. It will affect your performance at work. It will affect your life! Let it go. Forgive. Move on. 
  • Pray. Now you may not be a praying kind but I am. I pray for me, I pray for the kids, I pray for my ex-husband, his new wife, and her daughter. I pray for happiness and well-being for all of us. I pray for healing, strength, and wisdom. 
  • Remember that it takes a village. Back to the kids...it really does take a village to raise kids and I try to look at their new stepmom as one more person looking out for their best interests. For example, my ex recently married. I remember having a moment of panic when she first entered the picture that perhaps she'd replace me. This was quickly and swiftly put as far from my mind as I could. When the kids talk about her, I'm supportive and listen. When she comes to their events, I smile and say hello. When my youngest wants to take her a card or wants me to help him make her a piece of jewelry, I do it. Why? Because kids pick up on our feelings far more than we want them to. She's in their life, she's not going anywhere right now and why should I make my kids uncomfortable. To me, it makes more sense for the kids to see us being supportive of the other household. My kids will spend roughly half their time with her....it would make sense to me to build a relationship of respect. I may not be best friends, we won't have coffee any time soon, and I doubt we'll have hour long conversations "just because" but again, a relationship of respect is necessary.
Well, I'm sure there are a ton more suggestions I could give you. And I can tell you sometimes I fail. But these are the rules I try to stick to. 

Of course, I hope my kids never go through divorce. I hope they've learned from my mistakes. 

I'd love to hear your tips too! Share them if you'd like. Disagree if you'd like. Add to my list:) 

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