Discipline Is Remembering What You Want
I believe that most people have an end goal of wanting an amicable divorce. Not just to keep the divorce cost down, but also to maintain a healthy relationship for the benefit of their children. What can occur is one, or both sides, of the party starting to get focused on the differences that they encounter and they begin to lose focus of their primary goal. Sadly, this is when all hell breaks loose and it becomes a downhill emotional battle.
This is unfortunate, and need not end this way. So what do you do if you find yourself losing focus on your primary goal? You need to make the commitment that come rain or shine you will maintain the discipline to focus on the longer view of the divorce.
Our daughter was 4 when we started the divorce process. I knew that we were both capable of going into meltdown during the process, and having it be a very messy process. I decided to make the commitment that I wanted an amicable relationship for the sake of our daughter, in the long-term.
I didn't want my daughter, down the road, to not enjoy HER wedding day because she was concerned that her parents were going to start World War III during the reception. At one time or another I'm sure we've all been to a party where you could feel the icy chill between two Ex's that were seated on opposite sides of the room. That was the relationship I didn't want.
During the divorce process we made the decision to continue living under the same roof. Although both of us always managed to find things to occupy our time away from each other in the house, there was always an emotional chill that was hanging in the air. It was not a pleasant time; but we did it.
I made the commitment that I was going to remain positive while we were all under one roof. That didn't mean I had the forced smile on my face, but it meant that I treated him the way I wanted to be treated. I discovered that decision went far when we started getting into the nitty-gritty of divorce negotiations.
As you move through the divorce proceedings keep the discipline of remembering what you want. This does not mean that you're a doormat when it comes to negotiations; you need to be firm but you don't need to be difficult.
Above all else, treat him with the same respect as you would treat someone at the office. This is especially difficult if he feels he had a big 'win' on some aspects and has that smug look when you get home. Keep your focus on what you want and restrain yourself from starting up an argument just to wipe the smug smile off his face.
When it came to the financial aspects of our separation, and our daughter's custody, I found it helpful to always consult with my lawyer before having the conversation with him. For me, going into a conversation knowing where I stood legally was no different than preparation I did at the office for a meeting. I knew what aspects I needed to negotiate on and what I had to just accept; that kept me focused. I never agreed with anything directly with my Ex; but would get to a point, and state, where I would discuss it with my lawyer and then they would communicate it.
I do want to emphasize that keeping my focus on the long term goal was difficult. I found many times that I had to bite my tongue vs. lashing out. But through the experience, I grew. I came to view the divorce not as something that was happening to me; but something that was happening FOR me.
Living under the same roof during the proceedings taught me tolerance. Discipline taught me self-restraint.
I think the most valuable lesson is that we were able to demonstrate to our daughter that we lived our lives by the Golden Rule.
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