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Marriage Counseling Through Divorce

 

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Marriage Counseling Through Divorce

 
Marriage Counseling is usually where people encounter the word ‘counseling’ for the very first time. Couples who start Marriage Counseling, trying to save the marriage, many times find out that the relationship is already realistically over. By the time couples agree to go to a Marriage Counselor, the couple may have already divorced each other emotionally.

What most couples don’t do though, is continue with counseling when the divorce actually goes through. Once the decision has been made couples tend to quit counseling and focus on legal issues with their lawyers. What they don’t realize is that not all divorce-related issues are legal.

Women going through the various stages of divorce, face traumatic changes in their life circumstances; compromised finances, disrupted childhoods for their children, loss of social support and loss of a life partner who was a major part of their lives. Losing “the safety of what was and what would have been” can impact a woman’s psychological and physical well-being in a variety of ways ranging from loss of sleep to appetite to self esteem and may lead to substance abuse.

Middle-aged or older women who have been married for 10 or more years face a significant drop in income and have limited job skills due to their focus on child rearing. Many of them suffer from loss of self-esteem especially when left for younger women. The words “I feel like a failure” keep ringing in their ears. They face an uphill battle trying to get back on their feet professionally as well as socially. Many divorced women face social stigmas and may find it extremely difficult to re-marry especially when viewed as “aging women with kids”. They experience great difficulties when the sun goes down and feel disconnected from the world. Many are in the same home they lived in with their ex-husbands and at night, when the kids are asleep the home becomes filled with ghosts of the past.

Counselors help divorced women by creating structure in their lives. Working with counselors these women develop new habits, routines and coping behaviors which may include attending classes to learn new job skills or building on a previous career, house remodeling or gardening, getting involved in community activities as well as arts, crafts and reading.

Co-parenting is a common post-divorce struggle that can sometimes be forgotten when preceded by complicated legal proceedings. The challenges involved in parenting out of two separate households are not dealt with by custody arrangements and women are usually left to sort these issues out with a reluctant ex-husband. Parenting styles, conflict resolution strategies, what is and isn’t allowed all spark off more conflict, anger and rage.

Counselors work with parents to improve communication thus protecting their children from parental conflict and not placing the children in the middle of the divorce. The counselor focuses on practical problem-solving and helps the parent to accept that despite their own hurt and anger, their children love and need the other parent. In most cases and for the good of the children, the parents need to be child-focused, take the high road and prioritize the needs of the child.

Children of divorce are fragile and suffer emotionally as they try to cope with the disruption of their environment, which in most cases was already quite unstable. These children may believe that the divorce was their fault. They lose their sense of identity as a member of a family as well as their sense of joy and playfulness. Children of divorce mature very quickly and in some cases become the psychological care-giver of the mother. They constantly try to keep both parents happy but are unable to do so.

Counselors working with divorced parents encourage them to engage their children in simple and joyful activities all the time reinforcing that the children are still loved and cherished. Involving children in family counseling where everyone gets a chance to say what’s working and what’s not in the newly shaped family can also be very supportive.

Divorce is a major traumatic event and one that affects the lives of people from various backgrounds. Many couples are facing these challenges and many times are the first cases of divorce in their families. The social and family issues that arise from divorces are unique and can be extremely complex. It is therefore very important that women going through divorce seek help early on in the process to ensure a smooth and healthy transition into their new lives.

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Our extensive collection of articles spans the efforts of over 20 years of work and covers a wide range of topics having to do with family and child care. Our articles are all developed and updated with the assistance and support of leaders in the fields of medicine, nutrition and parenting, among others.

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