Acceptance and Divorce

Published May 2, 2019

What on earth does acceptance have to do with divorce? A lot. Acceptance is big when it comes to divorce.  Why?  Because acceptance is often hard to do in any challenging situation.  Divorce certainly fits the bill for a challenging situation, and it is very hard to accept that an experience will be emotionally, physically or mentally difficult.  Yet, once we do accept the difficulty or challenge, completing the task at hand becomes more bearable and (dare I say) easier. 

Acceptance yields success

Take for example the average person who decides to run a marathon.  The experience of training for and completing a marathon is hard across the board – emotionally, physically and mentally.  Yet, the person will have better success if he or she accepts the challenge for what it is and trains with the mindset that the process will be hard but achievable with patience, perseverance and compassion.  Conversely, if the person sets out with a “piece of cake” attitude, each unforeseen or negative event that occurs during training or the marathon itself can become a huge stumbling block to getting across the finish line.

Divorce and marathons are similar

Going through a divorce is like running a marathon.  The process is hard across the board – emotionally, physically and mentally.  People who accept that the divorce process will be difficult and shift their mindset to working through it with patience, perseverance and compassion will tolerate the experience better.  Also, their responses to unexpected events, delays and disappointments that happen along the way may be less hostile, reactive and inflammatory. 

Acceptance is an ongoing act

Another key point to understand about acceptance in a divorce is that it is an ongoing act.  In other words, you might be faced with needing to reach acceptance multiple times throughout the divorce process.  If you are not asking for the divorce, you may need to accept that your spouse is.  At some point, you may also have to accept that your spouse is moving out of your home and/or beginning a relationship with someone who isn’t you.  If you are the one who wants out of the marriage, you may need to accept that getting the actual divorce may not be a quick process.  You may need to accept that your spouse may need some time to work through his or her emotions before he or she is ready to discuss dividing up assets, establishing arrangements for your kids or figuring out support obligations.  Regardless of whether you do or don’t want out of the marriage, you will need to accept that there are things completely out of your control in the process.

Shift your mindset soon

The sooner you shift your mindset to acceptance in the divorce process, the better off you will be because acceptance will bring you more peace and grounding.  In turn, your emotional feathers will not be as ruffled (yep, they will still be ruffled but less so) when your spouse rejects your settlement offer or fails to pick up the kids on time or you must decide whether to sell your home or part with your Vitamix blender.