Spiritual Divorce

Spiritual Divorce
This article introduces an alternative solution for handling marriage problems that arise from mid life crisis : Spiritual Divorce

Many different options exist to guide relationships through the troubles of Mid Life Crisis and some answers aren’t obvious at all. One option I personally use for some marriages at the point of breaking is to oversee a Spiritual Divorce for a couple.

What is a Spiritual Divorce?

On a high level, it’s a process to assist with a graceful separation between two people. How to teach two people to retain a friendship while taking time to grow.

Spiritual Divorce actually means two different things. The first definition is to approach a divorce with spiritual grace. To grow from the process rather than to fight and diminish in the breaking of divorce.

I actually also use Spiritual Divorce in a second manner: A literal spiritual divorce. A divorce in all aspects except legally.

I marry people as a Taoist priest and as a Taoist counselor I extend the Taoist spiritual teachings to include spiritually divorcing a couple. This process gives a couple a deeper time out, but not a full bloody drawn out legal divorce people fear. Separation doesn’t go far enough, since spiritually people will still felt connected and that leads to conflict. I have added in the spiritual divorce, an option for my clients to take the separation process to an effective and graceful life experience.

I have used this technique with many people to help them move past marriage problems from Mid Life Crisis. I have also re-married couples successfully after they have taken time out with a spiritual divorce. So this process does work, but it also represents one of the hardest transition times a person will ever experience in their life: Divorce.

This option isn’t for everyone, I only use this once out of four times with couples. It’s for those who need a deep and clearly defined process of resolution to start freshly.

I must stress this:

My Taoist Spiritual Divorce process is not based upon a legal divorce and is not a legal divorce. Rather this is literally a “spiritual” divorce, where the partners take from one month to two years off from each other to grow. This option isn’t the same as a full separation either since marriage often has obligations that needs time to sort out. A spiritual divorce is an intricate spiritual process that can give two people a chance to help each other on separate paths rather than fight and kick each other down into a deeper hole of problems.

This is an important distinction. Legal divorce often creates lasting wounds and additional problems that lead to long cycles of recurring problems. A spiritual divorce works around the conflict that often arises from the legal process.

When I spiritually divorce a couple, it’s because the couple requires time to sort out their options and to continue to grow. This option will not work when abuse is present in a relationship. This process will not work if either partner is financially untrustworthy. In either of these two situations you need to move on with a full legal divorce.

Finally: this process requires a guide to help those involved release judgement. As a guide I actually teach from issues that arise during the separation process. Releasing judgement is an absolute requirement in order to remove conflict from defining the process. It requires outside assistance to help remove old patterns from destroying any chance for a better future. Without a teacher, issues quickly become irreconcilable problems, while with a guide problems blossom into lessons used to grow into better and stronger positions in life.

A Successful Marriage Embraces Change

As people change over time, people very very rarely let their marriage change to fit them over time. As a result marriages are often quite brittle and can shatter after two people have changed over time.

People fight over trying to keep their original concept of what their marriage was at the start, rather than shifting the concepts of their marriage to now fit their new life.

People love to follow patterns, it’s amazingly difficult to break out of our older patterns. As a result most people will fight and hurt each other, instead of changing the pattern of the original marriage!

Spiritually it makes sense to be graceful, to allow oneself and your partner to take time to change. To take time off from the marriage and then re-adjust the marriage later to fit each person. This is the process I teach and help each couple craft to fit their life. Without the outside guide… people always rush straight back into the old patterns that ensure a real divorce later.

Is this easy? No, it will be one of the hardest things you ever do in life, and this is exactly why a guide is required to help keep everyone on track, avoid the common traps and to keep you honest with your own changes. People are creatures of habit. Our habits are what destroy the marriage in the end.

A spiritual divorce is a chance to transform and change. But understand because a spiritual divorce allows for change, it truly means releasing the old marriage first to create the opportunity for a new marriage.

Just refusing to accept the old marriage is over, will prevent you in creating your new marriage.

If you decide to follow this process, your chances to successfully re-creating a new marriage are only 50%. But a 50% chance is the best odds you will get when the marriage you have is already over. The secret to this process is actually keeping the odds at 50%. The reason why: is that you are changing and your partner are changing dramatically over the next few years.

Take the time to learn new behaviors and attitudes to evolve your situation into a new Marriage all together.

To make the odds better than 50%, means to be working to the wrong target ideals, based to what is at hand now rather than to what will be later. You actually have to work to the unknown future and introduce enough changes so you and your partner can discover a love for the new people you are becoming thru Mid Life Transformation.

To quote one client:

One day my wife did the hardest thing she has probably ever had to do. She told me that after 18 years of being together she felt that things just didn’t feel right anymore between us. Looking for help and resources relating to a midlife crisis on the web, mostly I found bitter and angry discussions or advice. Nothing resonated with how my wife and I saw the nature of our situation until we came across Casey’s website, Personal Tao. The idea that a transformation and not a crisis was at hand immediately spoke to us as individuals. The essays on his site were the first “sane” things my wife had read at the beginning of this process. She and I contacted Casey independently and felt encouraged that there was something good that could come from all this. Through the guided exercise of patience, being kind to one another and working with a spirit of non-judgement, Casey has helped the two of us maintain a level of honest communication that would have been hard to muster during this difficult time in our lives. Speaking for my self, six months into this period of transformation has been painful yet wonderful. If Casey wasn’t here for guidance and teaching I think this period would be mostly painful. Our two children are certainly benefitting from the graceful way in which my wife and I are handling the big changes in our relationship. I know that through Casey’s encouragement and instruction the two of us will be able to maintain the deepest of friendships that will last a lifetime.

This process works, but it represents being willing to truly change and release the old marriage in order to create a fresh new life. It will be the hardest thing you ever do: but isn’t living a life based on your own essence along with a deeper friendship with your partner worth the work it takes to make happen?

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Email: PersonalTao@gmail.com
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Additional Midlife Crisis Materials

Please post below your experience or questions regarding your Spiritual Divorce.

I will remove any comments which are rantings, are morality/judgement statements, link to outside pages or aren’t respectful.

17 Comments. Leave new

When your partner is involved in an affair, does this ever work? It is such a painful betrayal to view non-judgementally

@Annie: Yes spiritual divorce does work, even if one person is in an affair. But it won’t work for everyone. I only offer this option to roughly half of the people who come to me in this situation.

However, you need to use the full process I have developed for guiding the spiritual divorce. The chances of it working for someone trying this on their own without guided help is pretty slim.

Intuitive: Interesting, helpful reading

My husband and I have been together 22 yrs. Since he was 15, and I was 17. We had our first child when he was only 16, and got married.
My husband was devoted to me, and totally in love.
I had a hard time in the marriage at first. I didn’t know who I was or how to love anyone. Our first few years were rough. I was angry and sometimes violent. I raged.
After the first 4-5 years, things got much better. We have always felt we were soul mates, true love, even when things were hard. We went on to have 2 more children. Life went on, up and down…routine. But our sex life was always great and healthy, and we always felt so much love…there was just a lot of mental illness on my part that got in the way.
I got diagnosed only 3 yrs ago with General Anxiety Disorder since childhood, and depression. I was put on meds, and the change in me was like night and day. I never felt more clear headed and logical in my life. I truly fell in love with my husband all over again, and our relationship was better than ever. I felt transformed.
My husband was happy for me, and enjoyed my changes. But unbeknownst to me, it was too late. He had already been depressed with our relationship and was contemplating divorce. He began to feel suicidal, and thinking he wasted his life. All the things he gave up to be a dad he was now wanting back.
He lost his virginity to me at 15, and has been utterly faithful for 22 yrs and now says he wants to know what it’s like to sleep with other women. He says he loves having sex with me, but if he only ate cherry cheesecake for 22 yrs, he’d want to know what other flavors taste like. I understand on a human level, but it still hurts to hear that I’m not enough.
He filed for divorce last month and it will be final in 30 days. I am devastated. We still live in the same house, still make love, still love each other, are kind and friendly with each other, still do things together, and call each other and check in daily. We still say I love you everyday.
He says he’s so confused because he feels he has to have a divorce to heal from the past, but he doesn’t want to divorce me. He says even in divorce, he wants me with him, everyday. He says he knows its crazy to ask this of me, but because I adore him, I will do anything he wants/needs. We have cried so much and held each other. He is in so much pain from his childhood, his grandfather who raised him died in May, and that seemed to be the catalyst for the midlife crisis. He hates himself and doesn’t have self esteem anymore. He is gorgeous, and thinks he’s ugly etc. I try to help him, comfort him, accept him and love him. The thought of him with another woman makes me want to vomit and rip all my skin off my body….I seriously hate the thought..BUT, I also know that possibly he needs experiences as a “single” man, to help him evolve and grow. People say, he will see the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but my fear is, after 22 yrs with me, any other woman will be more exciting and better than me in bed, in looks, in personality, and he will find that the grass IS greener on the other side, and I’ve lost him forever. I still know that I have to let him go and find his way, and his way might not be back to me and I have to be happy for him if he’s found happiness because I do love him, he is my best friend, and I only want his health and happiness. What is your opinion of our chances to heal our relationship and end up back together (something I’m 100% committed to).

@DC: Allow him to be human, allow him to explore life. Take this as an opportunity to live also.

It will hurt yes, dont ignore the pain, dont use the pain or fear to run back to what you had. Use it to create something better, use it to understand life deeper. Become more with it.

It isn’t the answer you want to hear , you want to hear, he will come back.

He may come back. The more you grow, the better you expand and show how much you can be, the more likely he will discover a newer love, a deeper love for you.

Each person has the free will to explore life, respect that and then do your best to be graceful. Does it hurt, yes. Does giving birth hurt. Yes. The pain is there to help guide the process. Use it with fear and you will discover how much you can hurt yourself and others and never recover. Use it wisely and you will be surprised at what can be possible.

The answer all depends on how you each move ahead in a million small steps. NO one can out predict that. Instead: use grace, use awareness, use kindness and no matter where you end up, work to evolve into a better place. You won’t see in a positive way now, because you are in pain. Yet with patience you can see how your children grow after birth. Likewise, with patience, you can work to improve how you can grow now.

Because it isn’t easy, because it’s a million steps: that is why people hire me as a guide to help them through those million steps, for the help also is a step by step process. No one size fits all advice can guide a person perfectly through this process, rather it is an intricate dance to learn and improve upon. Each day, week, month a new lesson to work upon. In two years time you if you do so with grace will have an answer.

Just as working to have a child is a 9 month process (with a life time of connections afterwards) this process has a natural timing to it also. Be patient.

I need you guide in respect of spiritual separation with my ex wife.
We divorced recently after she requested for it.
We had a good solid relationship for 11 years however it came to a point where she could not hold strong anymore. We ha our moments of endless arguemebts about this and that and this frustrated and stresed me so bad to a point where it affected my work and my entire life progress. I gave up fighting and giving eventualy and I decided to move out after I got exposed to great disrespect and treatment. The rest is history and all I need right sow is complete peace and solace at all levels. I still love her dearly and because of our 3 kids I will always do, however I donot want to hinder my chances of getting mrried again by being stucked in the past. I do not want to reconcile at this point but rather heal from the hurt completely.

Kind regards,


@Alfred: I sent a response directly to you since spiritually speaking you are at the point where direct help needs to be matched to your situation precisely rather than in general comments.

I have been married to my husband for 11 years but our relationship goes way back to 16 years. We had a solid relationship (up and downs like any marriage) but always supporting each other. We had gone trough hard times like when he broke his back and he could not walk for so long, in 2009 his business partner commited fraud, we lost everything and we had to start from zero. during that period of time we lived in different places (relatives,neighbors and my best friend’s home) I had to get a job until my husband could find a new way to support his family. Finally when his new business is doing great he has changed completely. He told me no longer loves me, in fact he never was in love with me. He re-writed the story of our marriage and what used to be our strength, being so different, now is a big problem. He feels we do not have anything in comun, he thinks I was forced to do all those activities in the past. We have 2 kids and I think he is the best father in the world but now he seems so different. He uses anti-wrinkle cream, cares so much for his hair, he waxes his body and has somebody who calls his only friend, they keep contact through text messages, they talk on the phone and some times meet for lunch. She is 15 years younger and he refuses to introduce her to me. He says they are just friends.
He told me he is so attracted to me, that I am a wonderful person, that he cares so much about me and he would do anything for me but he needs his space hoping he could find out if he misses me to back again but sometimes he can tell me the most awful things. I am so confused…
He needs his space and I am willing to give it to him but I think he really needs help to go through all his crisis.
A friend of mine recommended me this page and I would like to know if you could help us to go through spiritual divorce hoping we can recover what we lost.
Best regards,


Since you are asking for help I sent a response directly to you. A spiritual divorce is a powerful process. It opens up opportunities to change everything. However, keep in mind often times the opportunities that arise in a spiritual divorce can be very different than what we try to force our path towards.

The spiritual divorce process I created works amazingly well because it opens up all the options, even the options that in fear we shut down. It gives you a chance to address life from strength. To help you determine what is needed to get your life back together rather than just saying, i will do everything to hold what fell apart together again.

To only hold what fell apart is to constantly re-break oneself.

The spiritual divorce will buy you both time to address your life and revisit the marriage later when you are ready to look at everything with a newer perspective.

Can you have a spiritual divorce from your lover? I’ve been involved with a married man for 18 months. I don’t feel any shame or guilt, and in fact the experience has both made us grow in very positive ways. Whats so wrong with giving and receiving love by two people who love each other? However, the weight of judgment by close friends and family is starting to make me realise that this very good thing needs to end. I feel a spiritual divorce could help us ease out of this with security, I can’t imagine life without him.

@Alexandra: Yes it’s possible to use a variation of the spiritual divorce process I developed to help you.

The spiritual divorce process is a relationship re-balancing process. It mixes together various techniques to help give two people more space so they can work through their friendship more honestly without the complications that marriage throws into a person’s expectations.

In your case since you are not married directly to your lover, the process has to shift around to acknowledge the attraction you both feel but also create the space needed for each of you to come to terms with the various larger social commitments / expectations in play. In other words for you this process will be harder since (1) the larger social expectations can’t be addressed publicly and (2) not all parties can release judgements cleanly due to the unconscious participants involved who in their connections to each of you twists the whole situation around.

So it means a deeper emotional teaching phase to help you each find a proper balance in how you live against your lifestyle which doesn’t require each other to lean against for support.

Casey. The idea of a spiritual divorce seems to resonate with my husband… I live in South Africa and I don’t know if there is anyone who can help us through a spiritual divorce?

@Robyn: I work with people craft spiritual divorces all over the world. I sent you an email directly with the details.

I edited out the personal details of your comment for your protection. You have to focus on what is ahead and slowly release the past that that led up to this. A spiritual divorce includes releasing the contradictions between the past and future tearing you apart now.

Do you know if this corresponds with Kabbalistic teachings? There is a great deal there about soul joining and disengagement that can either happen during marriage or the opposite, fail to happen when a marriage was ended. I find this a fascinating and important topic, since it is hard to see so many people struggle with it on their own.

@Michael: I know from experience my spiritual divorce process is compatible with modern Taoist, Christian and Jewish practices. But when you begin digging into older variations then I couldn’t tell you.

How does a spiritual divorce work when young children are involved? My husband is what I believe to be going through a mid life crisis. He admitted to having an affair for the past 5 months. He is 90% sure he wants a divorce and says he needs a separation to clear his head. He is not open to counseling. I have kept my grace and am approaching him with respect and concern for what he is going through. The trouble is we have a house that is under significant remodel and 2 year old triplets. He feels obligated to stay in the house to help with the kids and the house remodel work but it is a daily struggle for him.

@Mary: I help handcraft each spiritual divorce to flow relative to the couple. The first definition of Spirit is that it represents the motion of a person’s life. Since the motion and history for each couple is so different, even what seems to be a minor detail can shift everything hugely. Children do need to be considered and balanced within this process also, but again it changes quite a bit for every situation.

Our modern culture tries to fit everything into one box, one set of instructions. This is a great approach when dealing with building engineered products, but this is often the wrong approach for creating a lasting relationship or separating with grace.

Yes you can simmer down a few general rules, such as release abusive behaviors. However, the situation you face is so dynamic and emotionally charged that it usually requires a personalized approach with an outside expert to really guide it into a graceful process.

A spiritual approach will balance the children into the process and will help minimize the disruption to their lives. However, even the most graceful separation will have rough times to grow against for everyone.

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