When we start to think of about breaking up, we tend to think we have fallen out of love. As we begin to think about transitioning out of a relationship it is very common to draw a line in the sand — that you either love someone or you don’t.
We inherit this either-or thinking from the filter of how we felt when we first fell in love, from our friends, family, and our culture that tell us “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage” — which leads us right into the fairy tale of “Happily Ever After.”
Breaking through these images of the fairytales is the fact that half of all couples who utter the words “till death do us part” will ultimately want to undo that pledge. We often hear of tragic tales that end with lawyers turning heroes into villains and couples pledging to a judge that they will “never be happy together again.”
In the midst of the fairy tales and tales of tragedy, what you may not have heard of is another kind of love story. These are the stories of the couples who chose to begin again, that somehow find a way to honor their vows to each other — even while they remove the legal titles of “husband” and “wife.” After helping thousands of these Begin Again couples through their divorce, I now know they all have one thing in common — love.
These Begin Again couples love harder and struggle less than most married couples I meet. Their friends and family will often be confused why these couples get divorced because they seem to get along so well now.
Begin Again couples have unplugged from the fairytale because they realize that every day they have the opportunity to choose their own adventure and whether they like it or not it, they become active editors of their love stories because they know it is ultimately up to them to define Happily Ever After.
Begin Againers know they get the love they think they deserve, so they challenge their thoughts, their spouses, and the professionals around them so they can rewrite the templates of marriage and divorce to editing out the parts that try to erase love.
Here are a few things I have learned from the Begin Againers as I have watched them love harder and struggle less:
- Going through a divorce is a shock to the body and soul, but they have the courage to move through it with grace.
- Their relationship story has two truthful and relevant perspectives.
- They believe that parenting can be successful in two homes.
- They know their children are resilient. They give respect, honesty, time, and the space needed to recover from this transition and they know they will recover to have a gracious life.
- They feel rejection and love every day. But, they chose laughter, vulnerability and compassion to soothe the feelings of rejection. And they share the love with our children, family, friends and community.
- Divorce does not change their responsibilities and commitments as parents.
- They get Wevorced, not divorced. This means the divorce settlement they create will become the foundation of their new hopeful lives that follow. The settlement will be fair in the short and long term. It will financially and emotionally support both of them and the children.
- They know forgiveness heals, and so does time.
About the Author: Michelle Crosby is the founder and CEO of Wevorce. She is the child of a painful divorce, a divorcee, and a former attorney specializing in dispute resolution. Years after being asked, “If you were stranded on a desert island, which parent would you want to live with?” during her parents’ divorce battle, Crosby built her own career as an attorney with the intent to change the impact divorce has on families.