Sunday, December 25, 2011

Whose Divorce is it ANYWAY?

This blog has been niggling at the edge of my mind since the beginning of the month.  On Dec 7th we had the hearing for my estranged husband’s 2nd bifurcation motion.  He was a no show (again) so it was an expensive non-event.  The motion was denied without prejudice.

The next day I received a copy of my attorney’s letter to my spouse’s attorney.  Standard follow up to the previous day’s proceedings, however, the last line left me feeling unsettled in my soul.  The last sentence read “….so we may try to move the case forward.”

Pretty innocuous, right?  However, the reference to the ‘case’ reminded me of how the humanity of the spouses is eliminated from the process.  It’s just a ‘case’ where both attorneys seeking to win (even completely trounce) the opposition.  Gladiators at battle in the conference and court room.  And when it is over – they move on to the next case with scarcely a look back at the collateral damage –the collateral damage being the lives of the spouses living in the aftermath.  It also made me very aware that my spouse and I are simply reduced to litigants with short-term relevance to our attorneys.  Their own lives unchanged by the signing of our decree.  Even more odd, the attorneys are positioned by their role in the divorce to ‘judge’ your marriage and the other spouse – someone they do not know and in many cases have never met other than under these circumstances.  Supporting the dehumanization of the spouses.

I am also struck by the idea that the court or attorneys are tasked to “Move it along”….if 
the spouses are stuck and not moving forward and it is neither a legal or tactical problem….what’s the point of the attorneys moving it along?  They do not in most cases have the needed skillset to help the stuck spouses move of their own accord.  I give credit to the mediators we started out with – they recognized that neither of us were emotionally ready or committed to completing the divorce – so after 2 sessions THEY dropped us as clients.  Their team included a lawyer and an MFT.  The goal was to facilitate an amicable and fair dissolution of our marriage.  Divorce does not settle a fight – it facilitates permanent avoidance and launches another fight.

Now I have been very clear with my attorney that his role is advisor, and that he is no way authorized to pursue or encourage an adversarial relationship with my estranged spouse or my spouse’s attorney.  I am sure I frustrate him a bit, but I am committed to no one but my estranged spouse and I making the decisions about the dissolution of our marriage.  Because at the end of the day – the only people living with the life-long effect of the divorce are the spouses and their children. 

If you know me you know that I am perfectly capable of speaking up and standing up for myself.  I engaged an attorney because I am not a subject matter expert on family law.  But not for one minute did I or do I plan to abdicate my responsibility for working through this in the manner that is healthiest and financially sane for me.  I will not get caught up by all the chatter or false fight energy that seems to spring up and out once the word divorce is uttered.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Still The Wrong Question....

I spoke to someone today who said "you have to accept that he wants a divorce."  I paused to straighten my face because after 6 years of hearing that (and mostly not from him by now) accompanied by absolutely nothing realistic happening toward a divorce - all I can do is laugh and shake my head.  And what does this person think I have done or could do to prevent it?  If he WANTED one - he would have gotten one.  

My dad used to say 'People in hell WANT ice water' - ridiculous - they want it but are without the wherewithal to get it because of the circumstances they chose for themselves. 
And at the end of the day - it's never been about me or our marriage.  It wasn't then and it isn't now.

It becomes clearer and clearer to me at least that there is much external at work to make this happen.  Very unfortunate and pretty ungodly. With all the waiting that external parties have invested in - it seems someone should have asked -"what do you want from or with me?"  And after all this time that question has been answered - whether it was asked or not - the response is clearly 'nothing more than what we have now.'

The question should not be about the divorce of a married couple. Instead of asking why the couple is not divorced and continue to support dissension, discord and estrangement - the question should have ALWAYS been about the desired, hoped for, planned expected future that the onlookers and external parties were 'hoping' and waiting on.  Clarity, commitment or real vision for the future will propel you forward no matter what else is transpiring.  Without that sort of motivation you can very easily slip into simply maintaining the status quo.  

So the question is "What do you want your future to look like?"  That was the approach I took and it has allowed me to move forward so that when all things are resolved I AM already where I want to be or at least on the road to it.

An interesting question from Pastor Byron MacDonald:  "Are you standing in the way of someone's encounter with God?"

This made me think of a few people who say they were just being supportive.  I wonder if they recognize the desire for their own priorities in their offered support.  Was there ever a time to step back and really looking at the consequences they were encouraging with their support?  Maybe the happiness they were encouraging was not what God had planned for the person to get from the circumstances they were in.  And if the support offered sanctioned and encouraged morally offensive behavior - then the answer is clear the only support was for their own agenda.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's time to take the sex appeal out of adultery.

It's time to take the sex appeal out of adultery.  Referring to adultery as a ‘love triangle’ allows it to be excused/romanticized as the unfortunate fate of star-crossed lovers.  The reality is that love seldom if ever has anything to do with it.  
They say a picture is worth 1000 words, so rather than continue trying to find words that are not tinged with my feelings about my experience with the subject, here's the picture: 

Monday, October 3, 2011


The other day, someone commented to me that they respected the faithfulness I had to my husband in this season of estrangement and conflict.  And I thought with a chuckle, "That's what you think I'm being faithful to?" It's actually much simpler than that - I simply being faithful and respectful to MY own values, he has far less to do with my choices.  It has to do with how I see myself as a person more than what I expect from my husband in the future.

It must be a hard concept for some - the idea that until you are faithful to yourself you can be faithful to no one else.  That also implies that you have the maturity to know what you value and have enough self-control to practice the standard of conduct that is consistent with your values. 

I respect my values and the beliefs that they are founded upon.  Therefore, acting in accordance with them, although some times challenging, is the goal.   It is about living an authentic and truthful life.  If you have values that you are not comfortable espousing or living something is out of whack - your beliefs or behavior.  The work of life involves bringing those things into harmonious alignment.

Monday, July 11, 2011

And the Wife Said….”Seek God, Seek Counseling, Find a hobby that you enjoy.”

I haven't written for this blog in quite some time, I have been fairly busy.  Life has been unfolding in miraculous and fabulous ways.  I have had so many blessings in this season I cannot count them.  So while it may seem that the ongoing drama of marital strife should have colored my days with nothing but sadness and pain, God gave to me an opportunity to grow closer to him and more free time to be of service to others.
It sounds crazy to say that it has been very near 6 years since this madness started.  Yet in August 2011, it will be 6 years since I moved out of the home that I shared with my husband.  And still we are not divorced nor are we successfully separated and moving toward divorce or reconciliation.
For my part, I determined long ago that my priority was honoring my own values and protecting my financial interests.  I have sought legal remedy with great expense and little success.  At some point I concluded, that dragging a man through a divorce was no more likely than dragging one to the altar.  So I turned my energy and interest to living the best life that I could make for myself and allowing God to have his way in my marriage and my husband's life.
And I guess that's where I pick up this blog.  I recall my response to my husband when he informed me that he was unhappy.  Of course, I asked the standard question ‘What is making you unhappy?”  I had a sincere desire to know.  Because clearly, if there were things in my behavior that were making our home contentious and unproductive I was willing to confront them directly and make appropriate corrections since my objective was a happy and peaceful home.  It turns out it was not my cooking, my housekeeping, my attitude and availability for sex, personal hygiene, my financial habits nor work ethic.  His response was more general malaise.  It's very difficult to solve a nonspecific problem so my response was simple I said "Seek God, Seek counseling, find a hobby that you enjoy."   
In 6 years, that's 2160 days, we have not been able to find a way of successfully resolving these circumstances.  But my most interesting observation of late is to note that over the years my husband rationale for ending our marriage has gone from “I'm just not happy” to:
  •  I ended our marriage because I couldn't stand to be married to you Debra because you're horrible (translation à it’s your fault I could not honor MY vows)
  • I can't divorce you because Debra your horrible and crazy (translation  there is something wrong with you because you will not agree to let ME screw you over financially – lol)
  • I'm going to ignore you and pretend the situation doesn't exist because Debra you're horrible (translation –- I am still having a good time with my mistress and she doesn’t care that I am still married, so I don’t have to clean up my mess)
I almost have to chuckle at the revisionist rationalization of it all.  And my response today is the same as it was 6 years ago “Seek God, Seek counseling, find a hobby that you enjoy.”
Now of course in the 6 years my estranged spouse has had his cheerleaders and fans that from their own self-interests have supported and encouraged his behavior.  These range from the mistress (holding on to be next) to friends simply entertained by the drama of it all.  These consorts knowingly or unintentionally have indulged and supported him in leaving his marital circumstances unresolved.  
The mistress seems oblivious or unwilling to recognize that what keeps him from completing his divorce is her consistent availability.  Yep she’s been around 6 years or longer – talk about determination and dedication to a cause (but that’s another blog).  If my estranged spouse had to establish his romantic market value (RMV) as a truly single man to have female companionship it is likely that he would have completed our divorce.  Instead of helping a man to stand and take care of real business, the mistress' invitation to “Come lay up in my love hangover” helps him avoid resolution.  She’s her own worst enemy.  It reminds me of the kind of mom who let you go outside to play while your room is still dirty while she ignores your mess and responsibility for cleaning it up.  It also reminds me of the difference between WOMEN and mere females.
And my response today is the same as it was 6 years ago ‘Seek God, Seek counseling, find a hobby that you enjoy”.  And of course, clean up your mess.