We’ve heard these words a lot recently. When I hear them from a spouse who is surprised about the other asking for a divorce it often means he or she was not paying attention — or did not realize how serious the other’s complaints were. To paraphrase a quote I heard about the election: the elites took Trump literally and not seriously, while his supporters took him seriously but not literally.
The elites (a description I don’t exactly endorse) didn’t want to see what they didn’t want to see. I think it’s the same for the spouse who doesn’t want the divorce. They might not think the marriage is that bad, or the other spouse’s complaints are that serious, or that a divorce will ever really happen. Unless we can allow ourselves to take the time to consider and respect and understand the other side we will miss cues, feel unprepared, 😱 surprised and powerless.
When couples choose to divorce in the Collaborative Process differences are addressed, not ignored. They are addressed not by lawyers trying to best each other with their negotiation skills, but by lawyers truly interested in helping the clients understand each other, stand in the shoes of the other, see it from the other’s point of view. When spouses can do that, when they can understand where their husband or wife is coming from. Anger is eliminated and the door to a resolution that benefits the entire family opens wide. This helps soon-to-be-exes move on in a healthier way and be able to co-parent peacefully.