The breakdown of a loving relationship and the breaking up of a couple or a family is a time of great stress, grief and change.
Divorce in many ways is the "death" of a special relationship, that affects not just the two parties involved, but also the families of each partner and their friendship networks.
There are many possible losses ...
* of the hopes and dreams for the future
* of confidence in one's capacity to make choices and commitments
* of integrity in failing to uphold one's promises
* of place, routines, and other relationships
* of stability in the predictable, even if that had tensions and pain.
There are many possible fears ...
* of the unknown
* of the effects on children and other vulnerable parties.
* of "starting again"
* of coping with other people's reactions and difficulties in the change in relationships
* of income, housing and other supports
Like the pain that comes when someone dies who has been ill and in pain for a long time, there can also be positive aspects to the "death" of a relationship.
Possible positives may be
* relief in knowing that certain pain and suffering will be removed
* new energy is freed to be available to move forward
However whilst the special relationship has "died", with divorce the parties involved are very much alive and need to re-frame or re-define their relationship. For some it may be no contact at all.
For others, especially where children are involved, it is likely that there will be a continuing relationship required for the rest of their lives via the fact of their relationships with their children.
A Divorce Ceremony then, like a civil Funeral, focuses on
- the past - to draw from it the lessons learnt and the positive memories to be maintained.
- acknowleding the end of the marriage as well as the need for acknowledging their new status and what this means for immediate and extended family and friends, and
- future possibilities for living loving and creative lives with the support of family and friends with this changed status of the couple.
Stepping Out Single Ceremonies
"No fault divorce" was not introduced on the basis that both parties were equally to "blame" for the breakdown on their marriage.
Rather the 1970 changes were brought in to acknowledge the reality that many couples lived lives of extreme hardship because to separate was a long process, required proof of adultery or mental incapacity or extreme cruelty, and was hugely expensive because the divorce process required parties to use lawyers, whose fees often left little resources for the family support once the divorce was finalised.
The requirement to "prove fault" increased family tensions, that were less likely to lead to a reconcillation if one were at all possible, and decreased the chances of mutually agreeable arrangements for child support and visitation etc.
So Divorce ceremonies and Stepping Out Single ceremonies are some of the ceremonies that are yet to be developed and held with the same level of social acceptance and support as marriage ceremonies.
Contact the TCN if you would like more information about these Divorce & New Beginnings ceremonies