You’ve grown up, and the constraints are clear. You would not dress a child in the same pants and shirt year after year. So it is with relationships: if they remain the same shape and size, after a time, they just don’t fit.
Some books, magazines and movies suggest that the marriage ceremony is the end of the story. “Happily ever after” is as far as they go. However, divorce statistics show a different story.
A large percentage of marriages “fail.” We put “fail” in quotes, because failure is such a subjective label. Divorce might be the mark of success of the marriage: you’ve grown better human beings in each other, and now it’s time to move on, just as you would move from third grade to fourth grade. Or divorce might be a measure of catastrophe, fiasco and disappointment. When we look back on our previous two marriages each, we don’t think they failed. They taught us both a great deal, and brought us to the new life where we could meet each other. The reasons people separate are legion, and while many divorces might have been avoided, sometimes divorce is the appropriate next step. It may be that the couple lacked tools of communication, or didn’t know how to have a Heart Talk. Or perhaps it was appropriate and healthy to change the form of the relationship. Both partners learned and both moved on.
At present, in 40 percent of marriages in the United States, one or both partners were previously married. They learned from their prior experiences, and are trying it again. Or each can look forward to taking a separate path in life. Either way, everyone ought to understand divorce.
The relationships we create in life are central to the unfolding of a mature individual. It is valuable to find a healthier way to release the forms that no longer serve, rather than ending up in litigious battles that spread toxic energy, damaging the couple and everyone around them, as well as killing trust in the idea of partnership and in Love itself.
A wedding marks a turn into a new chapter, but it’s not the end. Preparation for the wedding begins to change you. The ceremony itself works its magic. You continue to transform after the wedding, as you experience the energetic ripples of what you accomplished there. Down the road a few years, new issues begin to arise. The landscape has changed. The two individuals look at each other in wonder: “How different we have become!” One or both ask inwardly, “Where is the partner I married?” After that, either they agree to ride life’s waves together in a new way, or something sends them in separate directions.
Note that the root of the word “divorce” is di-vortex: two vortices or whirlwinds. These two whirling energies are, during marriage, a univortex, a single vortex made of two, intermixed, merged into ONE. However, you don’t have a univortex all the time. You have it part of the time. Since ancient days, the balance between two individuals or two realms has been symbolized by the below figure, which can be seen as a cross-section of two vortices.
One side is me; the other side is you: One to One. When things are going well, we meet in the overlapped area: Two. We only overlap completely in certain moments of Communion, the ONE. Sometimes we separate into two individuals, the One stage; One relating to One is our experience of Two. Separating completely into two Ones occasionally is very healthy.
The most natural relationship moves rhythmically from One to Two to ONE, from individuals to partnership to communion and then back again to individuals, from divortex to univortex to divortex. At certain times the rhythm slows or comes to a stop. Is it a problem or an opportunity?
Perhaps you’re stuck in stale places. You ask yourself, “How did I not notice these problems years ago, when I first married this person?” They seemed so small then, or even nonexistent, because you were not grown in that area. Now you’ve grown up, and the constraints are clear. You would not dress a child in the same pants and shirt year after year. So it is with relationships: if they remain the same shape and size, after a time, they just don’t fit.
From the soul’s point of view, the relationship that is ending has been an opportunity to grow. The stories may include terrible things that were done to you, and terrible things you did in revenge. The soul cares little for the scorecard implicit in the stories; the soul cares for how you kept your integrity through it all, for what you learned and for how you deepened in Love and the capacity to forgive.
We have found that, no matter how much your ex-partner seems to have become an ogre, and no matter how much you feel hurt by him or her, there is a spark of thanks deep in your soul for what you learned from this temporary companion in life. There is a spark of compassion as you understand the source of difficult behavior in the other. Deep down there is a spark of Love. Let that spark grow as you part ways. No matter what stresses arise from legalities, accusations and other challenges, repeat your forgiveness and your thanks. Over and over until the two vortices have fully separated, and you each go on your way.
This article originally appeared on Maria Shriver.com
Adapted from The Conscious Wedding Handbook: How to Create Authentic Ceremonies That Express Your Love (Sounds True, September 2015) by Lila Sophia Tresemer and David Tresemer, PhD.
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