In a recent conversation with dear friend and neighbor Gena Scurry, we were discussing the amazing success of her relationship with her ex-husband. In their very conscious and intentional agreements about how to co-parent since the divorce with her husband. Gayle and I were struck by the kind, loving and respectful manner they cooperate for the benefit of their children and their own sanity since their divorce. Often tragic, hostile, fear based, and painful emotions rule the aftermath of a divorce. No matter what the circumstances, children are essentially innocent bystanders of the divorce and resulting emotions and usually suffer as a result of the anger, depression, behavior problems, school difficulties, and confusion post divorce. Children suffer. Gena put together her thoughts on what rules are required to make co-parenting work and help ease the tragedy of divorce. With her permission, I am publishing her thoughts. Thank you Gena……….these are so needed.
What do I wish my mom and dad had done differently (regarding their divorce). I wish they would have HONORED each other in spite of their differences.
1) Honor each other. Honor = Responsibility, Compassion, Respect with or without understanding.
I wish they could of seen we are a product of them both.
I wish they could have LEARNED to COMMUNICATE RESPONSIBLY and demonstrated that / modeled that for us.
2) Communicate Responsibly and do so openly in front of Children
I wish my dad, didn’t feel so hurt and bitter towards my mom.
I wish my mom wouldn’t had wondered into another unworkable relationship.
I wish she wouldn’t have looked for comfort in another so quickly after/ before/ during the divorce.
I wish she would have given herself space to discover and love herself on her own. Then after that allowed someone to come into our lives, if it was appropriate.
I wish she would have completely HEALED.
I wish my dad hadn’t taken so long to heal.
I wish he had discovered what a stand up citizen he is without another person to complete him (or continually looking for someone else to fill that void).
I wish during my parent’s marriage my dad didn’t hide from his feelings through drinking.
3) Emote responsibly and do so openly in front of children
I wish my mom had learned to not be passive aggressive and shove her anger.
I wish my dad had generated more money and taken more of the load.
I wish my mom would have been around more and that we spent more one on one time without others (her friends or step-dad).
4) Work continually and respectfully help each other work on appropriate balance between self, work and kids.
I wished they loved and honored each other, even though the marriage failed.
I wish each would have taken responsibility for their part.
I wish it would have all been done standing in HONOR, intention to HEAL, LOVE- allowing and understanding the other is in pain.
COURAGE – to be and create the unknown. FORGIVE. FORGET. BE of SERVICE.
Continue to work as FULL PARTNERS.
I wish they would have stood for each other’s success.
I wish the time we spent together was special and when we were all together or apart there was a sense of PEACE, SAFETY, LOVE.
I wish each one of my parents were aware and acknowledged each others strengths and weakness and spoke / share them directly with us.
I wish they were TRUSTING, OPEN, AUTHENTIC and VULNERABLE.
I wish blame was set aside and instead they spoke the language of I feel and I need. How do you feel and what do you need.
I wish they would have continued to grow individually and as my parents who have been entrusted to have me feel secure.
I wish they could of laughed together and enjoyed each others company even though they had decided to create separate lives.
I wish they were for each other.
I wish they would have had the wear with-all (sp?) to keep an OPEN ear and SHARE with each other.
I wish they would have allowed the other to speak into each others blind spots, support and allowed for the others support.
I wish they would have CULTIVATED TRUST.
5) Cultivate trust and openness.
(As a side note – most of all looking back on my parents divorce, it has always been clear to me, they didn’t have the tools to communicate their disagreements or a manner to deal with their anger in a responsible productive way on an on-going basis. So they quit.)
Most of all I wish they would have acknowledged they didn’t know how to communicate effectively their love, their disagreements, their anger, their sorrows. I wish they had gone to work on being effective at that. And after that if they were still not fit to be married that they had created separate lives, yet honoring each other, loving each other knowing they did everything.