Staying In The Family Home After Divorce

Last week a friend sadly told me that her brother’s marriage was breaking up. The failure of a love story is always cause for grieving, and there’s additional pain here because the couple has a small child.
The divorcing husband and wife, who belong to a church that forbids divorce, are also having to deal with some difficult spiritual issues. So I was startled when I learned that their minister had offered the husband some advice about retaining an attorney and protecting his interests in the divorce process.
We often encounter this kind of mixed message–divorce is wrong, and here’s how to do it as we journey through the confusing labyrinth we call life. Priests, ministers, rabbis, and other clergy soon discover that there’s an unbridgeable gap between the ideals they absorbed in their training and the real-life messes they hear about in counseling sessions.
And it’s not just clergy. All of us endlessly teeter between choices that should be easy but aren’t. What’s better: Glossing over something unpleasant with a nice phrase or two, or staying family divorce speaking an unpleasant truth? Obeying social norms or yielding to a painful inner reality? Should we live by This is what’s supposed to happen, or do we make Let’s get real our motto?
Welcome to the mysterious realm that psychologists call the shadow.
We humans like to think of ourselves as solid, consistent organisms who apply reason and logic to life’s challenges. We use an internalized set of values to resolve conflicts and make choices. We have goals and a vision of what we want to be.
The truth, though, is very different. Humans harbor many selves that give rise to multiple conflicting staying desires. family We divorce hide mysteries and secrets within our souls, and–endlessly complicating our lives–some are unknown even to ourselves. How many times have you looked back at a past event and understood for the first time what was really going on?
The shadow–a dark place where older parts of ourselves decay while others awaken and grow–is both dangerous and enriching. Think of yourself trying to walk through a decades-old garden in total darkness, stumbling as you go, and you’ll have a picture staying in the family home after divorce of the human shadow.
Much of what we call emptiness has its roots in our desire to avoid the dangers of this dark place where vegetation grows wild. Best to stay on the sunlit path! But the desire to avoid tripping over the vines and roots keeps us away from a rich source of energy and vitality.
We can get to know the shadow through our dreams and daydreams, the snatches of songs that pass through our heads, and the secrets that shame us into silence. Another good resource is the people and ideas we dislike, for often they are projections of our unknown shadow.
Embracing reality–including the truth about our own moments of darkness–is scary and ambiguous. But as you find the courage to step into the shadow world, you will find immense riches awaiting you. And you can always pick yourself up after a stumble in the darkness and make your way again.

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