Twenty-first century institutions are in a time of transition. Workplaces can be anywhere there’s a computer and an internet connection; education can take place at home, online, or in buildings; families are created by people who love each other, regardless of gender or roles. As our culture adapts to the diverse ways and means of working, learning and, loving, we are experiencing new ways of perceiving marriage and divorce.
Facebook has become the place to share glad news, bad news and sad news, and (let’s face it) boring ‘news.’ But every once in a while a post goes viral. That happened when Shannon Neumann posted that she and her husband, Chris, had filed for divorce, accompanied by a photo of the smiling couple on the courthouse steps. A jarring image (they’re standing close together and appear joyful) until you read the text.
“Are we smiling because the partner we chose for forever turned out not to be the forever partner we needed? Of course not. We’re smiling because . . . we have respectfully, thoughtfully and honourably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children.”
Shannon doesn’t minimize the effort it took, and that at times, each of them had felt distaste, distrust and even hate for the other, but she was commemorating their accomplishment: a successful divorce. Perhaps her story resonated with tens of thousands of people because they are seeking a better, healthier, more hopeful way to transition out of relationships that no are no longer working.
Perhaps, instead of lamenting divorce, we can acknowledge that, as sad as it may be, divorce is also an opportunity for personal growth. Certainly it must have taken a good deal of selflessness, integrity and difficult discussions for the Neumanns to part in a manner that protects and provides for the children they created. And it also seems that, instead of a bitter, adversarial divorce, it allowed them a respectful, thoughtful one. At Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, we guide our clients through our 7-Step Divorce Mediation Program that offers them the best path for transitioning to the best outcome for their family.
©2015 Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation