Being Thankful In Divorce: Find Yourself this Holiday
It is holiday time again and I want to share some positive things that can happen in divorce or separation. I have run into clients who six months or a year after divorce, in some cases even following a long term marriage, could not be doing better. They tell me their children are thriving and that they are better friends with their former spouse now. I know this is true because there is no more nitpicking about Husband and Wife issues and that they are now focused only on issues regarding their children. I can’t help but believe this is more often the case for couples who choose a peaceful approach to their divorce. Either way, people love their kids no matter what happens in their marital life. It is important to be thankful that your former partner shows up for soccer games to cheer your child on. You can find a million things wrong but if you start focusing on the positive things the parent does it can really change your life. I have come to learn that you can never change a former partner and the only person you can change is you; your attitude.
There can be tremendous growth that comes from divorce. For the first time in a lot of years you start getting to know yourself again. What are your likes and dislikes? I know it is easy to put yourself on the backburner when you have a spouse and kids to take care of. You find out that you can make it on your own regardless of the obstacles. I hear so many people say that they are so much happier now that they have their own space. Of course there are financial worries but divorce puts you in charge of rowing your own boat. There are wonderful resources out there to help you learn to budget. I recently attended a video class called Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey and it was a wonderful opportunity to look at money and budgeting in a more positive light. I encourage my clients to seek financial counseling as well as mental health counseling. Often times people start to take better care of themselves and begin an exercise program. Divorce makes you realize that you must take care of yourself and that it is essential that you are in good shape both financially and physically.
I’m thrilled when I run into former clients who have changed jobs and now are following their passion. I often hear the phrase, “there is so much more peace in my life”. Isn’t that what all of us can use? Divorce can be extremely painful but it is a journey and there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you choose not to be stuck in the past. Former clients report that they have a closer relationship with their children after going through divorce. I am thankful that Deschutes County has great resources such as the parenting class and the mediation service to help people through the process. We have some of the best Judges in the state who truly care about families. We have committed attorneys who work countless hours on cases and sometimes don’t get paid. We do it because we believe in helping people.
With holiday time here, make sure you have a clear plan of where the kids will be spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and Christmas break. If you do not have the children for Thanksgiving or Christmas, plan a special event for yourself. Realize that the holidays may be different this year but maybe even better. Instead of the big Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve dinner, get Chinese takeout and go to a movie with a cherished friend. Do something creative to celebrate you. Remember to try and think of your divorce as an opportunity to get to know and take care of yourself again. Whether you’re facing your first holiday as a divorcee or just considering legal separation for the first time, attempt to be thankful for your children, former spouse and the opportunity this life change presents you this holiday season, the opportunity to find yourself anew!