Who said going through the Divorce Life-Cycle was difficult? I mean all we have had to do is deal with Irritation. We have been left to Contemplate our lives as they presently stand and judge them against an unknown but tantalizing future. We have been thrown to the laws of Irrigation where we work to bring back our desert like relationship to one lush with vegetation and promise…only to be swung back to the depths of Condemnation because we unwittingly set up our spouses for failure because we expected them to make reparations for ALL of their past transgressions.
Which means…we have reached the…well…not the end, but a time when we desperately want an end. Reconciliation. To restore relations with another party…yet the trick is on all of us. Sure, we come to a place in the Divorce Life-Cycle where we dust off the hurt, the mistrust, and the unabridged history of our marriage and we peer back to a time when all that mattered was being with your spouse because you felt fueled by their presence.
A time that was not fraught with discord or required a full-time translator or even bogus trips to “you-name-it-store” on a Saturday to just get you closer to Monday and away from your spouse. The Reconciliation stage is one that can make you weep in desperation because you always wanted to love your spouse. You never imagined a time that could feel so physically awful. You balance back-and-forth with your love, your decision, and your communications with those that care from the sidelines. For once in your life you might even feel like a Hollywood couple whose tale of marriage becomes talk show fodder for all to have……and it begs the question…
Are you prepared to give your marriage one last shot?
If you are to give your relationship another go, how far are you going to swing the marriage pendulum before it becomes impossible to recognize you or your spouse? This should become your marital compass. Your weight loss plan that aims to keep your day-to-day as Normal as possible because altering everything about your relationship only sets you up for failure later on. How many of us have either done it ourselves or watched others yo-yo diet because a new fad was in play. If you truly want to understand the cost-benefit of Reconciliation with your spouse you are going to have to look right-side-up and understand that Reconciliation can only begin when you apply it to….YOURSELF!
“Reconcile with Yourself and you can Reconcile Your Past, Present, and Future.” -Dr. Rod
If you have been fooling yourself this whole time thinking that it will all work out and he/she will come around then you should be diagnosed and treated for Wishful Thinking…because you have gone outside of the marriage, during the Condemnation stage, and shared all of your dirty laundry or at least your version with friends and family…you may have pushed your marriage and spouse to the outer limits where not even the coolest i-phone app can bring you back.
Reconciliation should be focused on you…by you…for you…and then for the good of the marriage. It should not mimic a Spring cleaning check list of items pushed to the side like a teenager who hates broccoli. A checklist that has more items linked to your sex life in an effort to revisit the courting stage will fade faster than your spray tan and yet most couples trying to work “it” out think that taking their clothes off will reshape and rejuvenate the gravitational pull of one another.
Not so. Not even close. For the man in that space you will discover an animalistic being who thinks that being “good” in the marital bed will have you craving him like old times. And, women who partake in this form of Reconciliation can be found hoping to be something in the bedroom that they have never been nor want to be…to give him what they think he wants and needs. The result…two unhappy people who engaged intimately with mixed results, awkward snuggling, and sometimes regret for an act not bore from love, but from hopeless desperation.
If your marriage has any hope for birthing anew it has to come from each of you. It has to be personal and somewhat confidential…and that is Normal. No one person is wrong in the fall of a marriage (minus domestic violence offenders) and no one marriage can sustain or grow without individual work for future collaboration.
Are you willing to look at the different iterations of yourself throughout the marriage…reconciling your part in the good times and in the dismantling of something now wrought with disdain? If you can then you increase your odds of predicting the future. You will have to look back at the different and evolving versions of yourself, your challenges and successes, and those times when you might not have been too proud of your behavior. You will come to understand the difference between needs and wants. You will begin to see how you have or have not matured as a person, a spouse, and as a parent. And, you will be better prepared to have conversations with your spouse and those you dumped your dirty laundry on without sounding like a broken and annoying record.
You may find that you are ready to re-commit or you might discover that divorce is truly the only loving course of action for you both. It will not be easy and it will not come without painful conversations and realizations. If you are choosing divorce you have to prepare yourself for a spouse that you have never experienced before because emotional pain can alter ones personality in the moment and cause commentary ripe with accusation and left-field thinking.
Reconcile your actions and feelings…take into consideration those of your spouse with forgiving undertones and if…if you come out on the other side with practical and loving reasons for marital Reconciliation then go for it. This means that you have been honest with your role. You have been honest about your reactions and demands…and you have been honest with those around you because if you are going to make it work you both are going to need your friends and family now more then ever. Remember that during the Condemnation stage you ripped your spouse to the public in hopes that they would support only you and share their support down the chain like a multi-level marketing scam where reaching out helps your friends and helps YOU even more.
You will get naysayers who will relish in reminding you of what you said in haste all the while wrapping their self-serving opinion into their diatribe. Find support from those in your life who understand life isn’t always black-and-white. Be productive in your attempts to re-solidify a marriage from the ashes of blame and sadness. Reach out to professionals who understand the dilemma before you and couples who, like you and your wife, are Normal and understand that some fault-lines may be cause for concern, but not relocation.
I would be lying if I said that marital Reconciliation works for all couples. For some it does and for those couples…I applaud you and wish you continued success in your ever-evolving courtship. For others, like myself, Reconciliation led me in a new direction…one filled with acceptance and forgiveness for myself and my ex-wife. Reconciling my part helped me land in a new world that is both fulfilling and challenging…two ingredients that remind me of what I have and what I need to do to maintain success in the future. Don’t be scared to look in the mirror…you might like yourself more than you think.
Check in tomorrow as we wrap up our look at the Divorce Life-Cycle and discuss the role of Emancipation in our relationship with…ourselves.
Wishing you the best!