Divorce From a Distant Pew By Dr. Michael Brooks
It was a perfect day for a wedding in the park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the smell of spring was in the air. As the guests were being escorted to their seats, quiet laughing, whispers, and giggling could be heard. These were beautiful sounds of joy where people gathered together to celebrate the union of two hearts. Some of the guests hadn’t seen each other in years and were reconnecting with hugs and smiles.
This went on for several minutes while chamber music played in the background. I watched as the groomsmen took their places in front of the wedding guests. The pastor followed shortly thereafter. Finally, the wedding march played and everyone stood in honor of the bride as she walked down the aisle with her father. You could hear the cameras clicking and sounds of delight as the beautiful bride joined the wedding party at the front. I wasn’t too far from the front when I noticed the mother-of-the-bride was seated next to the groom’s mother. Her father was on the other side of the aisle. It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on: the family of divorce. Her parents couldn’t put their differences aside for just a few hours, even at their daughter’s wedding. Unfortunately, this is way too common these days.
There are many complications to divorce, and going to special occasions and family events can bring great stress to one or both parties. Weddings seem to cause the greatest stress more often than not. Many times, certain family members will side with the one who was on the receiving end of the divorce. Tension in the air is a natural byproduct of divorce. It was sad to watch this scenario play out from a distance. It was immediately apparent that the bride’s parents were uncomfortable with each other. Weddings can be the most difficult for children of divorce. Graduation parties are next in line.
Most people going through a divorce don’t have the ability to look down the road and see family events as a problem until it’s too late. If it was a friendly divorce, which they rarely are, then family gatherings may be easy to participate in. If it was a bitter divorce, family gatherings might be very difficult to face. A friend of mine, whose divorce was a bitter fight, was told that he and his new wife were the only ones allowed to attend his daughter’s wedding. To add insult to injury, he was not allowed to make the toast to his daughter and her new husband. Clearly, this was a very awkward wedding ceremony and wedding dinner. The bride’s mother and her new husband were taking on her ex-husband while using the daughter’s wedding as a power trip. This is just one aspect of the ugliness of divorce that few consider when contemplating divorce.
So how do you deal with the fear of weddings and social occasions with your ex-spouse? There are many ways to deal with these family events, especially if it is a bitter divorce. One way is to write a letter to let your ex know that you want to put your differences aside and make sure that your child has the best wedding ever. Agree to have family members keep their opinions to themselves on that special day. There is no reason for conflict at a wedding. If you (or a family member) cannot control your emotions then don’t go! Why stir up a hornet’s nest with wedding guests and ruin the day for the bride and groom? This day belongs to them. Remember that! This is a day when you want to create beautiful memories for your children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. You certainly don’t want to be the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons!
Do you worry there may be some friction between you or your ex at your next family event? Do you think there will be problems with some of the wedding guests? Is your son or daughter concerned about some of the people invited to their wedding? If you answered yes to any of these questions and need someone to talk to that can help you address these and other concerns then call me! If you have a son or daughter getting married in the near future and need help in knowing how to deal with your ex-spouse or other wedding guests, give me a call! I can help you!
Divorce counseling is affordable, accessible, anonymous, and available by appointment from the privacy of your own home. Avoid travel time and never leave the comfort of your home to meet with me. I have many out-of-state clients who prefer to meet over the phone at 303.880.9878 or via Zoom. The convenience of this type of coaching is the most effective means of Counseling for those who live out of the Denver metro area or are out of the state of Colorado.