The way a marriage ends is as important as the way it begins. Especially if you have children.
Because I wanted my son to have the best possible experience of his nuclear family changing to a constellation, and because I refused to become bitter and resentful, I declared my divorce my spiritual practice. And though this often felt like walking through fire, and though it required some of the most agonizing personal work I have ever done, I made my divorce worth it. Meaning: I was able to source profound healing, hope and wholeness from my most broken places.
You can, too.
We write vows when we start a marriage. Why not when we end one?
Writing divorce vows was one of the most powerful choices I ever made. They served as my own personal Declaration of Independence. But more importantly, they have been my Declaration of Integrity. I return to the North Star of my stated intentions every time I get stuck, hurt, angry or hopeless. My vows remind me who I am and where I’m headed, even when I can’t imagine how I’ll ever get there.
Here are a few of the vows I wrote to my co-parent, my son and myself:
Vows to my co-parent:
I promise to release you from the disappointments of our marriage.
WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD NEW TRUST, RESPECT AND HAPPINESS AS CO-PARENTS.
I promise to speak of you in only the highest regard to our child and our community.
THE STORIES WE TELL HAVE POWER TO CREATE DEEP HEALING.
I promise to work with you collaboratively for the greater good of our child and our family.
WE ARE IN THIS FAMILY TOGETHER, FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.
Vows to my child:
I promise to listen to you, welcome you, and celebrate you always.
THERE IS NOTHING IN THE WORLD MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN YOU ARE.
I promise to tell you the truth about my life and my choices.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT LED US HERE.
I promise to honor and respect your father—and embrace your relationship with him.
YOUR LOVE OF AND RESPECT FOR YOUR FATHER ARE SACRED TO ME.
Vows to myself:
I promise to seek empowerment and freedom as I move through my divorce.
THE STORIES I TELL HAVE THE POWER TO SHAPE MY ATTITUDES, EMOTIONS AND FUTURE.
I promise to take responsibility for my own happiness, health and prosperity.
MY HAPPINESS IS INDEPENDENT OF WHAT MY CO-PARENT SAYS OR DOES.
I promise to be grateful every day—especially when I meet grief or pain.
GRATITUDE IS THE MOST POWERFUL WAY TO TRANSFORM HURT TO HEALING.
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May you make your own declarations of personal integrity, love and compassion for everyone in your family, so you can heal well together.
What vows do you live by? How has this changed you and your family?