Saturday, April 28, 2007

The 5 Divorces

Divorce is never easy. Certainly it might come as a relief if the marriage has totally deteriorated, but even relief does not make it easy. There is always pain and loss and hurt.

Divorce is not a simple thing either. It is complex. With legal standing, emotional challenges, financial decisions, psychological changes, spiritual realities, and social complexities all affected, divorce is one of life's biggest disruptions, challenges, and transitions.

So, for every aspect of life, there is a divorce.

1. Legal Divorce: This is what most people think divorce is. It happens with courts, attorneys, and judges. Or, maybe it happen in mediation. Any way it goes, it is the legal aspect of marriage dissolving.

2. Emotional Divorce: Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that the when the legal part of divorce ends, many more divorces may have to be attended to. Emotional divorce is important. Hanging on, running emotions through the children, making lots of phones calls (just to talk) or constantly finding ways to exact revenge, obsessing mentally, or stalking are ways to avoid making the divorce complete. The relationship must end. If there are kids in the mix, then the relationship must be all business.

3. Psychological Divorce: Life cannot stop when the legal divorce is over. The pain, the loss, the betrayal, the whatever must be attended to and healing must occur. Remaining in a hurt state is not acceptable after a divorce. Yes, being hurt by it is natural, but some people refuse to heal and are determined to prove that their ex-spouse ruined their by living ruined for the rest of their life. What a waste. The psychological divorce must take place.

4. Financial Divorce: Dividing the house, assets, savings, 401(k) and all earthly possessions is part of divorce. Taking care of this stuff should not linger into weeks and months. It will only cause pain.

As far as child support and alimony - do whatever it is the judge told you to do. No more and no less. There really ought to be few exceptions to this rule. It is simply too hard to give more than the the divorce decree says and then feel like you are owed something, OR to give too little until the other forces you back into court.

5. Spiritual Divorce: This might sound like a weird thing, almost sacrilegious. Truth is, if ther eis spiritual union there must be spiritual divorce. This does not mean someone has to change religions or even churches (although someone changes church is probably a good idea). It means that you no longer share spiritual intimacies. Yes, pray for each other's good, but even then be careful that such prayers do not connect you too much. God is big enough to take care of your ex-spouse without too much of your psiritual investment into that person.

Be especially careful of spiritual connection when the ex-spose has remarried. It can be viewed as an intrusion and it could lead to the downfall of the remarriage - not what God is looking for in remarriage.

So, there are your 5 divorces. Would love to hear you feedback.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You can cry

For many people, remarriage is one of the most healing and redemptive transitions they will ever make in their life. The pain of the past or a sense of failure is healed by a loving spouse. The ache of loss of a relationship or loss of a hoped relationship is soothed by someone who cares. Yes, remarriage cna be so good.

And yet, there are those times, for seemingly no reason, the sadness returns, the ache reappears, the emptiness opens up once more.

"Why?" you ask yourself. All around is the evidence of redemption - spouse, children, home etc. And yet, there is that something from the past that will not let you alone today.

Nothing in your day says, "Cry!" So you don't feel like there is cause for it - no permission to release the tears. You bag it up, pack it in and trudge forward. You are determined not to let the past ever affect the present or future again.

But the past won't leave you alone and feel guilty for feeling sad. "What would my spouse say?"

Your sadness becomes a secret, your guilt a toxin.

Please, give yourself a break and cry it out. It's not that you're looking back toward past and longing for it just because you still have an emotional connection to it. Nor is it betrayal. Let it all out.

You are a human adn we don't just live life in the present. You are everything you've experienced. We don't pass from one stage of life to the next. In stead, we accumulate life stages as we go. That past is part of who you are and if it wants to grieve a little, you better let yourself do it.

Your spirit, your body and your mind are trying to tell you something.

Cry. Heal. Hope

Monday, April 09, 2007

Power and Motive

If there are two things that individuals bring into relationships that make a huge difference they are power and motive.

Relational power is how much one person can use their force or finesse to effect change.

Relational motive is how selfish/selfless a person is.

A powerful person who is selfish is also dangerous, but a powerful person with good motives is generative and makes good happen. A selfless person without any power might have good intentions, but really can't do anything with those intentions.

Now, take these combinations within a person and figure the interactions between two people. One person's power and motive interacting with the other's power and motive.

The greater the power differential between two people, the more necessary it is for the more powerful person to be selfless. Without intentional effort, the more powerful person will harm the less powerful person.

Relationships between parents and teens are necessarily very different in power. It is incumbent on the more powerful person (the parent) to become more selfless. Don't be tempted to be fair in relationships that differen in power. There is no fair. Striving to be fair is a fool's game.

Increase the motive toward goodness. Goodness (selflessness) is better than fairness - always.

Power should always be (and will always be) the tool for motive. Be good and let your power serve goodness.