Several years ago I wrote a 16-page booklet about healthy divorce. In The Art of Co-Parenting I outlined the six platinum principles of shared parenting during divorce and covered topics like civility, grief, boundaries, and staying out of court. It was the culmination of months of research and personal experience.
Writing the booklet was my attempt to wrap my arms around the unimaginable place I found myself (a 40-something mother-of-two navigating divorce). I desperately wanted to somehow grasp the ungraspable, and felt compelled to share my findings with others.The booklet is not about my family or me in that there are no personal details in it, but it is very much my story in that I am practicing these principles near daily with the father of my children (five years running now). Not perfectly, mind you, but largely and most of the time. And it seems to be working.
Many people have found the booklet “highly digestible” as one friend put it. And a few have told me that while it sounds like the ideal and very workable on paper, their situation is far too unique for this roadmap to be useful to them. While both statements are obviously true for the people who spoke them, I believe that overly focusing on what makes our story unique vs. focusing on the collective experience is a missed opportunity.
To be clear, I am not an advocate of divorce and can’t think of a single person I’ve met in this unenviable club who is. However, I am an advocate of intentional divorce. That is, if you are going to do this thing – or this thing is being done to you – then you simply must commit to some basic rules of engagement. If for no other reason than the children, and, let’s face it, that’s reason enough.
It is my belief that we as a society – whether single, divorced, married, or remarried – are called to transform the culture of divorce. My vision is healthy divorce as the norm, not the exception.
The booklet is a quick read and chock-full of useful quotes from divorce experts, though I think Rumi said it best 800 years ago:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”