It's everywhere...or so it seems.  I've watched friends go through it.  I've watched family go through it and no matter how many times I see it, I'm always surprised.  I always lose my breath.  It always makes me sad.  Calm yourselves...this is not my way of announcing that Mr. Snark and I are heading to Splitsville....nuh-uh!!!  That's not an option.  It's just not.  Traumatic brain injury would have to be incurred for either of us to even entertain the notion....and then, there's the overgrown, unruly bush bramble out behind the house that will cover the body!  In some recent conversations with friends and just observing things (you know me....people watching addict...even my own family isn't safe)within my family, I have some thoughts.
  • The ins and outs of your disagreements with your ex are better left off of the various and sundry avenues of social media.  You need to vent...I totally understand that and want you to find a safe place to do so...but Facebook, Twitter and MySpace aren't the answer.
  • Realize that it won't be just the two of you going through this.  Your friends and family will go right along with you....wanting to help...wanting to offer comfort but not knowing what to do.  Sometimes, the family and the friends will feel torn...because of their attachments to you and the ex.  Family and friends need to realize that sometimes the best help, the best advice is to be silent, be still and listen.  Don't say anything that could cause any more trouble; don't do anything that could make things any more difficult and just listen....don't judge, don't analyze, don't project...just listen.
  • If children are involved, you need to accept the fact that you will always have a connection with the ex.  You don't have to like it...but you DO have to accept it.  Unless the ex chooses to completely cut ties with the children, he/she will always be part of your life.  So...be the grown up.  Don't trash talk or dog your ex in front of the children.  The divorce causes enough confusion.  The kids will have their own emotions to sort through...they don't need the responsibility of sorting through yours.
  • PAY YOUR CHILD SUPPORT AND DO SO IN A TIMELY FASHION!!!  Don't make the ex call and beg for it...don't make him/her turn you into Friend of the Court and have your wages garnished.  You did what it physically took to create these children.  It shouldn't take a legal document to honor your responsibilities and obligations to them.  Things happen and unexpected expenses arise, however, this does NOT include a new ego boosting 2-seater vehicle, a tropical vacation with your new chippy/boy toy or plastic surgery of ANY kind!
  • Abide by the court order for visitation...especially right after the divorce.  Your hurt and heart break is still so fresh.  The judge's orders makes the decisions that neither of you can...because you do not have the advantage of impartiality.  As time passes, it may be possible to be a little more flexible, but remember that the flexibility needs to be in two directions.  Don't be the one who is always asking for modifications without returning the same kindness.
  • If children are involved, DO NOT COMPENSATE WITH STUFF!!!  All the Ipads, Iphones and over priced fleece jackets in the world will not give your children what they really want...your love, security and well being.  They still need boundaries and they still need you to be the parent...NOT the friend.  My feelings on the "friendrents" are well known and well discussed.  If you need to review, let me know.
  • Your children have no choice in who their parents are.  They cannot control certain genetic traits or personality quirks that may be the spitting images of your ex.  Forever more, don't throw that in their faces...."You are JUST like her/him!"  It won't change anything...except for your child's attitude toward you.
I know, I know.  There are some good reasons for divorce.  But that doesn't make divorce a good thing.  Abuse, abandonment, infidelity....those are all good reasons....but they don't erase any of the fall out from a divorce.  It was never designed as part of God's plan for us and that's why it is so hard...so painful.  It's just another result of man's sinful nature.  I know people who have done everything short of walking barefoot over hot coals to save their marriages....and they still fell apart.  I also know people who cut their losses at the first bump in the road.  I've seen it happen to people who've spent 30+ years together and I've seen it happen to folks before the first year is finished.  I wish it had never been invented....I wish it didn't exist.  I wish that folks would honor their spouses and the marriage vows they took.  I suppose it's like my granny used to say...wish in one hand and spit in the other...which gets full first?