Shortly after my first post on divorce, I received a comment from a reader that I thought was important to address. The post was titled “Divorce Is A Horrible Thing”, and the comment read:
It’s a horrible thing, but life goes on. Wake up, take a breath, get dressed, live your day, change the things you can, count your blessings, go to sleep, repeat.
That about sums it up, and this is great advice from someone who I believe must know what he’s talking about. My goal in that first post wasn’t to create an air of insurmountable doom and gloom but rather to give a clear message, like I do in my initial consultations, that divorce sucks. It’s the hardest thing that most people will ever go through and it’s important that you understand that before you pull the trigger.
But I also understand that not every marriage can be saved. And when you’ve tried your last try, and it’s truly the end, it’s just as important for you to know that you will make it through this. Life does go on, and you will be okay. Here are some tips for getting through especially the beginning stages of divorce…trust me, it does get easier with time.
SPEND TIME IN PRAYER AND MEDITATION
The power of God, and the power of prayer are inconceivably beautiful and amazing. In my darkest times, when I have felt completely alone and lost and hopeless, I have been brought to my knees, and I have found peace. When you’re at the point where you feel like there is nothing left and God must have abandoned you, is exactly the point where He shows you His presence and lifts you up. I challenge you now…right this second, to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and really pray to God for peace, and if it doesn’t come, then stop reading now and write me off as a nut job.
HIRE AN ATTORNEY WHO YOU TRUST HAS YOUR BEST INTEREST IN MIND
If you’re reading this, then you ignored my challenge completely, or you accepted it and found some peace through prayer…either way I’m counting suggestion #1 as a win.
Divorce is hard enough without having to wonder if the person you hire to help you through it is really looking out for you. You deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, and to be knowledgably and carefully guided through each step with dignity. You deserve someone who will fight for you and your rights diligently, but without creating unnecessary conflict. Issues with child support, spousal support, child custody, and community property can be daunting and complicated when you’ve never had to think about them before.
Interview as many attorneys as you have to until you find someone who you connect with, who you trust, and who can explain the complexities of family law in a way that you can understand. You’re not just hiring an attorney, you’re starting a relationship that will last a year or longer and decision – that relationship – is the last thing you should be questioning each time a new issue arises.
SPEND TIME WITH OTHERS
You shouldn’t have to go through a divorce alone. As an attorney, I can offer my clients guidance, compassion, respect, and dignity, and assurances that they will make it through okay. But I can’t be there 24/7. It’s important that you spend time with family and friends, those who care about you the most, and people who may have gone through their own divorce. You may need people to provide advice, but sometimes you may need people just to listen. Schedule time frequently with people who can provide a positive influence to your life as you struggle through this and let them help you bear your cross.
SPEND TIME ALONE
Sometimes you need to scream or cry or punch the mattress repeatedly to let off steam. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel hurt. And it’s okay to let it out. Spending time alone to deal with these emotions can be healthy as long as you’re truly dealing with these emotions and not becoming consumed with negativity. Reading a book or watching TV can help to calm you when you just don’t feel up to being around other people. For me, when I’m feeling edgy and I just need to be alone, I watch old reruns of Friends and while I’m trying to figure out why I still find them funny, I’m not focusing on whatever is bothering me. Spending time alone can be cathartic as long as it’s done sparingly.
If I linked this post to every article in existence about the health benefits and psychological benefits of exercise, the internet as a whole would slow down. Getting your heart rate up and releasing endorphins on a regular basis can only bring positive results. Whether it’s by running, lifting weights, swimming, playing basketball or baseball, or even just going for a walk, exercise allows you to take a break from life and gives you a change of scenery in a healthy atmosphere. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it may be a good idea to consult your doctor before exerting yourself too much, but they’ll be able to find something to help you get started.
DON’T JUMP INTO ANOTHER RELATIONSHIP TOO QUICKLY
For someone who has been married for many years, the fear of being alone can be overwhelming. It’s natural to want to displace that fear by filling the void which created it with a new person. If you’ve just started going through a divorce, there’s a level of healing that has to take place before you can be ready for a relationship. It’s not fair to you or to the person you start seeing, to use them as a rebound. You’ll have plenty of time for new relationships once you’ve finished coping with the loss of your last one. And if the right person comes into your life before you’re truly ready, they will be there when the time is right.
PRAY SOME MORE
I believe in positive redundancy. If something works in a positive way one time, I do it over and over and over again. And sometimes when things are bad, I’ll consider anything that isn’t working in a negative way to be working in a positive way. You’ve got nothing to lose by praying, but your whole life to gain.
And remember the advice from the reader at the beginning of this post: …Life goes on. Wake up, take a breath, get dressed, live your day, change the things you can, count your blessings, go to sleep, repeat.
Written By: Sean Corcoran – Lake Charles, Louisiana Family Law Attorney