Spiritual divorce is an alternative solution for handling marriage problems.
Different options exist to guide relationships through their troubles and some answers aren’t obvious at all. One option I have created for my clients is Spiritual Divorce. This process has an amazing success rate for repairing friendships when they have reached a point of breaking.
What is a Spiritual Divorce?
On a high level, it’s about assisting 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 legal divorce with spiritual grace. To grow from the process rather than to fight and diminish in the breaking of divorce.
I actually use the term Spiritual Divorce in a different manner: Don’t start with a legal divorce rather start with a more gentle spiritual divorce.
The Problem with Legal Divorce
Other than dealing with death, divorce is the most stressful moment a person can face in life. After all how do you untangle two people who have spent years interweaving their lives together?
Legal divorce is for two people that cannot come to terms with their combine lives and require an outside baseline to physically separate them. The problem is legal divorce is very arbitrary, doesn’t take into consideration emotional aspects of life and in reality further rips people apart. It isn’t graceful.
The Spiritual Divorce Solution
It’s possible to find a graceful answer more times than people realize. While you cannot stop a person from fighting if they truly want to fight, you can change how individuals approach the process to minimize the need to fight.
Spiritual Divorce represents one alternative path.
A legal divorce only considers physical ramifications of a relationship. A legal divorce lacks heart and often causes deeper damage between two people.
Spirit represents how we move through life.
A spiritual divorce means to untangle two people’s life motions from each other so they have a chance to re-balance their personal lives. After addressing personal issues you can then revisit the baseline of a friendship. Many times it’s possible to help create a whole new relationship after addressing personal challenges.
Spiritual Divorce represents a gradual separation of how two people live with each other, but it isn’t a legal divorce. The goal is to help two people re-balance how they live without the more damaging legal wrangling occurring first.
I have developed this second process of spiritual divorce over the last 15 years. It works. Rather than trying to cut all ties off at once, you separate from each other in stages. This allows a couple time to emotionally process their differences, instead of going straight into a fight.
It’s important to adapt this approach to fit each couple. The process has to allow for growth during separation. As a result people need to pick and choose carefully how to create personal space in a safe manner.
A spiritual divorce doesn’t mean everything will be perfect. Hard truths and many bad feelings will need to get exposed for the healing process. The difference is in a legal divorce all the hard feelings and conflict happens all at once, which is too fast and too intense for most people handle gracefully. So a spiritual divorce approaches this one step at a time regarding the personal differences. We also introduce moments of time out that allow both people to rest and recover from the more challenging moments.
To grow in life a person needs to be willing to make mistakes and to then learn from those mistakes. In a legal divorce a person pushes out all the problems to be the other’s person fault for legal reasons. In a spiritual divorce you take time to understand what went wrong and take time to fix any personal issues.
When couples use a spiritual divorce,it means, over a period of one to two years, the couple resolves most of their problems before any legal separation. This means ironically a spiritual divorce will save some marriages, because the growth will allow two people to have a fresh relationship. If after working through a spiritual divorce the two people still want to separate then the legal divorce goes more smoothly as most of the interpersonal challenges have been resolved already. This also means each person will be in a more emotionally mature place to separate out the last legal step.
For the exact details of what a Spiritual Divorce would look like for you, you would need to contact us at a Personal Tao to arrange a session. I literally craft a spiritual divorce to fit each couple precisely to their emotional, family, work and personal conditions.
Creating a spiritual divorce is an art not a science. Law and society will use judgment to measure everything in a relationship. Many marriages are failing from these judgments in play between a couple. So the first step in a spiritual divorce is to literally remove judgment from the picture. The second step is to then review and teach against your challenges. This allows a spiritual divorce to be a growth based teaching process rather than never ending counseling sessions.
Finally, it’s a very real time process, where I act as a spiritual mediator to balance out each step.
Is Spiritual Divorce Only Separation?
A spiritual divorce is much more than a separation. It’s an active time to work on learning, healing and balancing each person in the relationship. Just as you don’t drive a car while working to repair the engine, two people shouldn’t be pushing hard on their marriage when they are fixing themselves. It’s important to have time for space, where you each can work on personal growth, in any relationship.
I marry people and such have a deep understanding and appreciation for marriage. But too many misconceptions exist about marriage, including the idea you always need to be with your partner. At times partners need to go on their own spiritual / life journey. As a life coach I extend many different teachings to match a person’s needs in the spiritual divorce process. This process gives a couple a deeper time out, but not a full bloody drawn out legal divorce people fear. Simple physical separation doesn’t go far enough, since spiritually a couple is still connected and that leads to conflict. Also many times due to financial codependency physical separation isn’t always an option. I have added in the spiritual divorce, various options for my clients to create appropriate levels of separation.
I have used this technique with many people to help them move past relationship problems. I have also re-married couples successfully after they have taken time out with a spiritual divorce. This process works, but it also represents one of the hardest transition times a person will ever experience in their life: the fear of divorce.
This option isn’t for everyone, people often are inflexible when it comes down to how they work with their relationships. Ironically it’s often inflexibility, arising out of judgment, that destroys many relationships. This process is for those who need a deep and open process of resolution to get to that fresh start.
I must stress two points:
One: My Spiritual Divorce process is not based upon a legal divorce and isn’t 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 need 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. Keep in mind legal divorce is all about judgement and this is a big reason why legal divorce is so brutal.
Spiritual Divorce requires outside assistance to help remove old patterns and judgments 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.
Two: This isn’t marriage counseling.
Marriage counseling doesn’t always work and isn’t for every situation. When I am working with you in a spiritual divorce, I am not working on your marriage, rather I am focusing on each person and working to save a friendship.
Ironically my spiritual divorce process has led to people finding better relationships but that is a secondary effect. My first concern is to help each person grow in life.
A Successful Marriage Embraces Change
- As people change over time, people 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 are creatures of habit, it’s amazingly difficult to break out of our older patterns. Even fighting! Once you have establish a pattern of fighting or indifference, it’s very difficult to break free of that destructive behavior. 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 use grace as a tool, 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.
The problem is people often change back into what they were. Without the outside guide… people always rush straight back into the old patterns that ensure a real divorce later.
A spiritual divorce buys a person time to change.
The Challenge of Deep Change
Like clockwork Every 7 to 9 years we become a new person. In part this is the famous 7 year itch. Our stories change and how we see and hold ourselves changes more deeply and profoundly than people realize.
For example look at yourself when you were 7 and compare it to when you were 16. Look at how different you were at those two life points. The 7 year old focuses on family and fitting in to their family. The 16 year old you is focusing on being with your friends and beginning to figure out how to fit into society.
Many marriages fall into trouble between the 7 to 8 years gaps due to this change.
What happens when you married 14 years ago, and now you have changed twice over and your partner has changed twice over? That is a huge amount of time and differences to make up in just a month of two of reconciliation. It’s no surprise so many marriages go straight to legal divorce because the differences have gotten so large over time.
To take a time out, to give yourself time to figure out who you are, to give your partner time to see themselves. Creating some space with time, to reconcile differences, is very important for the health of a longer term marriage. A spiritual divorce buys two people time. A legal divorce buys no time, a legal divorce means everything is over and you both move on. A spiritual divorce means taking some time apart to grow, figure things out, to get back together in simple ways, to rediscover life. Then if you both like each other, forge a new marriage. Since you didn’t go thru the legal battles, since you didn’t end everything legally, a Spiritual Divorce allows two people to seamless flow back together with no loss when done gracefully.
Spiritually it makes sense to be graceful by allowing for change in your life. Change often requires taking time off from a marriage to then re-adjust a marriage later to fit each person. This is the process I teach and help people grow in life. Without the outside guide… people will always rush straight back into the old patterns that ensures a real divorce later.
Is this easy? No, it will be one of the hardest things you ever do in life. 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 accumulated bad habits are what destroy all too many marriages 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 needs to be reinvented / released, will prevent you in creating your new marriage.
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 benefiting 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 and gives two partners a chance to create better lives. It will be a challenge but isn’t living a life based on your own essence along with a deeper friendship with your partner worth the work and time it takes to make happen?