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An Innovative Way To Stop Divorce

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Divorce

An Innovative Way To Stop Divorce

Now you can stop divorce by creating a “New ‘I Do!”

(This article was inspired by a recent interview with noted radio personality, Vipp Jaswal that may be heard here(link is external))

Are you happy and fulfilled in your marriage or are you pretending? Do you fantasize about life as an “independent?” Would friends and family be shocked if you announced that you and your spouse were divorcing?

Of the 60% of intact marriages (give or take a few percentages), many are not what we would consider good or healthy relationships. Yet, people stay because they made a commitment, or because they’re afraid to leave the kids with the other parent, or because they would face financial ruin if they split up.

I may be jaded because I am a therapist who listens to the problem couples have day in and day out, but I suspect that the number of truly happy marriages is likely the exception rather than the rule.

Given that we now live in a time of so much choice, older people aren’t staying so much any more. Gray divorces (those Americans over 50-years-old) have doubled since 1990.(link is external)

But what if, rather than change your marital status, you change the status within your marriage? What if rather than focusing on having the “love of your life,” who fulfills all of your needs, you focus on having a high functioning relationship that fulfills a good portion of the key areas in your life? What if you could preserve your legal union but expand your life from this home base?

Of course, not every marriage could handle these kinds of changes and, before elaborating on this idea, I feel it’s important to distinguish between a “bad” marriage and a “good enough” marriage.

In a “bad” marriage, one or both people feel unsafe in some way or things do not improve despite attempts to help the relationship (or, your partner blocks you from getting help in which case, the marriage is surely doomed).

A “good enough” marriage is one in which you and your spouse have a basic trust of one another as co-parents, for example, or you feel comfortable relying on each other financially, socially or simply as a roommate.

If your marriage is good enough, try talking to your mate about changing your agreements and goals for the marriage.

An example of this is transitioning from a love-based partnership to a purpose-based relationship. One Colorado couple, Cynthia and Dennis, went from having a “traditional” marriage to a Parenting Marriage because they decided that the romantic part of their relationship had expired but their kids were still young enough that they both wanted to be as present as possible. Since they co-parent well together, this arrangement has really worked well.

Some couples have chosen to live in separate homes, while others have agreed that they won’t have children and they’ll focus on creating wealth by being DINKS (double income, no kids). Still others will stay married in order to share experiences, travel, co-exist in the house, or take care of each other. Betsy and Warren Talbot exemplify the couple who at one point were focused on earning to their maximum potential. Currently, they are traveling the world and have started a blog/website called Married with Luggage(link is external). Last we heard from them, they were in Spain.

In researching my latest book, The New I Do Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (co-written with Vicki Larson), we uncovered 7 alternatives to the love-based model we’ve come to equate with conventional marriage.

They are: Starter Marriage, Companionship Marriage, Parenting Marriage, Living Alone Together, Safety Marriage, Covenant Marriage and Open Marriage(link is external).

With the exception of the first model (which is not a legal option because it’s against public policy to plan the demise of a marriage), all of these options are being practiced in one way or another with people throughout the Western world (even in the U.S!).

These alternatives have helped many people remain in their marriages by allowing couples to taper their nuptials to their own needs. If marriage in general is going to survive, it surely needs to change. If you feel your marriage needs some changes in order to survive, you may want to research one of these options.

Tweaking the way we relate within the institution of marriage is truly a way to have your wedding cake and eat it too.

[Susan Pease Padua]

As a child of divorced parents, Susan knows first-hand how disruptive an unhappy marriage and subsequent marital dissolution can be. When her mother and father split in 1981 (on their 28th wedding anniversary), marriage counseling was unheard of and emotional divorce support virtually nonexistent.

Her own experience, combined with years of working with couples in distress – both in striving to save their marriage or transition out of it – led Susan to become passionate about offering support to people at perhaps one of the most crucial junctures in their lives.

In 2000, Susan founded the Transition Institute of Marin and began providing information and counseling to this underserved population.

Books

Eight years later, Susan wrote, Contemplating Divorce, A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go
(New Harbinger Publishing, Inc. © 2008), a book that provides objective guidance to those struggling in a rocky marriage as well as invaluable information on how to navigate the divorce process. Contemplating Divorce became a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller its first week in publication.

In 2010, Susan completed a meditation book for those challenged by difficult emotions during and after divorce entitled, Stronger Day by Day, Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce.

Susan’s latest book, The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, is a collaboration with journalist Vicki Larson. You can learn more about this project by clicking on The New I Do page.

Susan has helped hundreds of people gain clarity in their relationships. Her private therapy practice consists of couples, individuals (local and distance therapy clients) and the many relationship or divorce support groups she runs.

Susan in the Media

As an often-featured writer for the Huffington Post Divorce page, Susan also writes a regular column for PsychologyToday.com and Examiner.com.

Susan has been a guest on the CBS Early Show as well as numerous radio shows across the U.S. and Canada and has also been featured in: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Psychology Today Magazine, Divorce Magazine, The View From the Bay and more.

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