Saving the marriage. This is what I always wanted to happen. It’s a therapist’s ultimate goal, but I am still having a hard time especially if the couple just attempts to try my service but what they wanted is to seek advice from their lawyers. Or have me as a witness in their court proceeding or just would want to get an evaluation from me; an evaluation that would confirm that there is no noteworthy thing about the marriage and the only solution is to dissolve it for good. While not all couples think that way, there are some who still find reasons to stay together. They come to sessions regularly and religiously and would exert that much effort just to save their marriage. They would sit down with me, listen, hear each other out and do whatever activity I ask them to do. But in cases where there’s no room for progress, divorce takes place. This instance is indeed sad but I some would say that it is better off that way than have them hurt each other all the time.
Most people will think that divorce is a failure of a marriage. In my part, I also think I failed them because I was not able to fulfill my task. As a therapist, I take delight seeing couples walk out of my clinic happy, contented and resolved with their issues. As the years go by, I saw another opportunity with this situation to help the couple end the marriage the lightest way possible.
When the couple finally decided to divorce, I will be guiding them through the three phases I developed which will help them to complete their marriage finally.
Forever is a term that comes from fairy tales and romantic movies. Most married people expect to grow old together, and remain married until death. This still isn’t forever. — Andra Brosh, PhD
The Crisis Phase
This is the stage when the couple makes up their mind on the divorce. I’ll make them commit to another appointment after a few weeks and let each of them have an alone time to think, talk to their families and friends to see if they can handle the situation so that they can end the marriage with peace of mind.
Once they came back to me, I make sure that we do it one step at a time avoiding any unwanted decisions that may ruin the process. I make sure that each of them had taken a lot of time to think and consider all their options before I start asking my questions during my next session with each of them.
The Insight Phase
This is the realization stage where the couple will go back to the reason why, in the first place, they decided to get married. All their plans like retirement, dream house, raising a child, up to the point where it made them realize that they want to end it. This is the stage wherein they will reminisce the past. The happy moments when the couple was still dreaming of their future and their life together. Everyone goes through this phase, and this includes even the worst divorce cases there is.
In a society that puts so much value on age and appearance, older divorced women often face fewer romantic options, whereas men may be more likely to form relationships with younger women, making new relationships more accessible. — Mary Murphy, EdD, LICSW
Releasing all these plans and overcoming the loss means that the whole process can be completed with fewer issues, and the completion process of the marriage is taking place.
The Vision Phase
This is the last phase of the process where the couple, with my assistance, can review their marriage, draw up an agreement then, move forward. Let go of their ugly past, forgive each other and accepting each other again. Not just as a spouse but as part of each other’s lives. They can now decide to be a co-parent and friends while some couple chooses to completely part ways with each other.
In usual cases, divorce takes place in a court of law where the couple doesn’t have time to talk which creates awkwardness when they get to meet again. This retains the anger and will keep them remember the worst situations in their marriage. Which is why going through the phases I created some means to help the marriage survive without any problem.
At this phase, my job is to review the divorcing couple’s process to see if there’s anything that needs to be discussed. Even if everything went well after the divorce, some couple or one of them continue the consultation to help them start their journey as a single, single parent and eventually finding a new partner. Life does not have to end when divorce finally takes place in your life. Each couple has to move on with their lives. But for those who are thriving to keep their marriage alive, then I am here to be of help. What’s important is that even though we helped a couple of processes completing their wedding, we also helped each one of them to start a new page in their life. Divorce can be pretty tough, but if the couple only opens up their hearts and mind, divorce may come to a halt.
Forgiveness is an ongoing experience. It doesn’t happen once and then be done. — Shendl Tuchman, PsyD