Is it possible to have a good divorce?
18th July 2011
This weekend I went to a wedding of a couple in their early fifites. Both had been married before and both had children from their previous marriages. This wedding seemed to be different from other second weddings I had been to. It was a full on, huge event that might have been more in keeping with a first wedding of a couple in their 20s. It went on from 5.30pm to 1am. There were drinks, dancing, dinner, more dancing, more food and finally the end. 200 of their friends all of us in our fifties brought together by the union of this couple. I was trying to think what it was that made this so different. There was no apology or embarrassment about the fact that this was the second marriage and no attempt at being apologetic for the extravanganza. It was a celebration, but the most extraordinary thing was that the new husband had his ex wife there. She was really lovely and spent the evening, smiling and dancing and seemed genuinely happy to wish him and his new wife well. Their children moved between the groom and their mother really easily and both of them made a speech. The new wife’s 10 year old daughter also made a speech, saying she was glad that her step dad was so nice and that he wasn’t like the ones in the movies and she finished by saying ‘I know I shouldn’t say this, but this time, please don’t ruin it!.’ The new wife’s first husband on hearing that she was going to marry again, said how happy he was for her and I think had she wanted to invite him, he would have been thrilled to attend. I write about this, because I think it is rare and a testament to this particular couple. They had both been through the huge wrench of divorce and come through it, but on that journey they had both taken the decision to not make a bad situation worse and had preserved the essence of a relationship with their ex partners despite the hurt and the pain. Out of the gloom and darkness they had maintained a dignity, which is the respect that the other was someone they once loved and who was still a parent to their children. It was that dignity and empathy for the other even though both the bride and groom had been hugely hurt by their ex’s that meant they could fully embrace their new lives together and keep something of their old ones. I thought it was remarkable.