Peace, fairness and divorce

“Peace involves inevitable righteousness, justice, wholesomeness, fullness of life, participation in decision making, goodness, laughter, joy, compassion, sharing and reconciliation. “ Desmond Tutu

ID-100129604In a recent post, I listed resources I felt I needed in order to move forward. I left out peace. When I read Desmond Tutu on peace in the quote above, I realised I was trying to race to joy, fulfillment and reconciliation without addressing justice. My last post outlined my struggle between justice (fairness) and mercy (forgiveness/compassion). Nowhere has that been more apparent than in the ending of my marriage.

I considered myself an equal partner in marriage right up to the moment my husband said he was leaving. In that instant he became judge, jury and executioner. I became the victim who was denied just reward, denied a fair trial, and who received punishment. My ‘punishment’ included an emotional crisis, a legal and financial mess (together with the burden of sorting it out), and an uncertain future.

When you become a victim, you can either stay there and become bitter, or you can work through things to get to a better place. This may mean moving forward, taking corrective action, or simply letting some things go.

Just reward (my marriage)

See the picture of the girl plucking grapes from the vine? That is the child within me, believing if I became well educated, if I worked hard, if I sowed the seeds of love and care with my partner; then I would reap rewards. For a long time, I felt I was denied my just reward. I was denied my time in the sunshine, with my partner of forty years caring for each other, with a comfortably secure retirement.

I have now let that go by looking kindly towards a different, yet exciting future for me.

Turning ‘punishment’ into ‘opportunity’ (my divorce)

ID-100200640I was thrust into the horrors of grief/trauma and the overwhelming burden of our financial disentanglement processes.  Whilst I felt otherwise for a long time, I believe handling this with grace and dignity has become a signature strength of mine which will serve me well in the future. I have become a stronger better person for what happened and how I handled this unexpected “opportunity” for personal growth.

Compassion (my life)

In keeping with the topic at hand (peace), I had to resolve within me my attitude towards my partner of forty years, the father of my children. Deep inside I am a caring person unable to intentionally hurt anyone. When I am wronged, although harder, I keep acting on that deep-seated value. That is, no matter what cruelty is shown to me, I cannot go against my own values by being cruel back. Therefore relatively early, I allowed myself to forgive my husband, and let go of any need for revenge. I continued showing him respect.

I believe I have acted by my own values of forgiveness and compassion.


Big failure.

Fair trial (the decision)

When your partner of forty years leaves you suddenly with no discussion, to begin with you believe that somehow you deserved it. You think there must have been something that you did or did not do to warrant that action.

Now I believe this: regardless of any issues that did or did not exist in our marriage, fairness would have allowed me equal participation in the decision, fairness would have allowed me some discussion, fairness would have allowed our marriage to resolve or dissolve on its own merits before he became entangled in another relationship.

I have let forgiveness, compassion and being “nice” overrun that need of fairness to me. In the over two years since separation, I have never expressed to him my feelings on our marriage’s end, or the manner in which it ended. By showing compassion to him, yet falling silent on my own feelings, I may have allowed him to think that I felt his actions were fair and reasonable.

Whilst I cannot undo what was done, I can begin to speak up for myself. I can find the courage to say “I too deserve fairness, consideration, compassion and respect.”



Thanks to Louise, x2, Jolyn and coastalmom for recent posts and comments on this topic. You have helped enormously.

36 thoughts on “Peace, fairness and divorce

  1. “I too deserve fairness, consideration, compassion and respect.” These words make my heart sing. Yes you do Elizabeth. Yes you most definitely do.

    Hugs — the beauty of your heart shines through every word of this post.

  2. Funny how I gravitated to the last lines of this post as Louise has. You are one strong and smart cookie and I am touched if anything that I have share at all has brought something positive to your life as I see you doing for others in the future! All we can do is take the sadness and use it to teach others! Yaaay for you Elizabeth!!!!

  3. I love how you’ve taken the high road. You couldn’t go against your own value of kindness. It may be that you are the only person in this situation that knows this, but it is true none the less. You continue to inspire me with your integritiy and character.


  4. I think it’s a huge step, to come to the realization that we have treated unjustly, that we haven’t earned disrespect and deserve consideration, and to request fair treatment and/or justice.

    What always knocks my socks off, is to realize that some people truly are indifferent to my reasonable request, and have no intention of treating me with fairness/justice because that would inconvenience them or cost them. They’re just not fair-minded people. That’s when I’m tempted to be bitter and must begin the long hard work of real forgiveness. It’s so much easier to forgive people who are sorry.

    • You are correct, that is easier to forgive someone who accepts they may have done wrong. It is a harder battle to state your case when that is not the case.
      Now that I have come to that realisation, the hard part will be what to do with it
      …. another chapter.

      • Stating our case is somewhat easy–getting them to listen/understand is outside of our “personal power.”

        I really like you, Elizabeth. I’ve never envisioned myself in Australia (it’s almost as far away as the moon!), but you, together with my friend who re-located to New Zealand, have put a magnetic pull on my thoughts, and are making me think about that remote (to me) part of the world as “not very far away at all.”

      • Yes, do come this way. I would LOVE to meet you.
        You are probably a little closer for me as my son lives in Vancouver and I intend to visit him every year. I am actually going over this Christmas but only for 10 days so it will be a little rushed. However, I intend a longer trip either late 2014 or mid 2015. By longer, I mean that I want to go for three months and get across to the other side.

  5. I love Desmond Tutu’s saying what PEACE involves! Thanks for sharing this.
    Yes, Elizabeth, you can speak up for yourself and you should. Wishing you a great Australian summer and lots of joy. Christmas cheers! Love, Uta. ox 🙂

  6. What experiences we give ourself… all to grow nearer to our true self… I feel your courage and your victory and know for sure that life gets easier and better because you have chosen life and to know yourself truly…. A wonderful heartfelt post…Barbara

  7. I enjoyed your explanations of all you have gone through and your cute, funny, quirky pictures. I agree, peace is so important. Inner peace and (outward) harmony with others around us, too.

  8. Amazing and Thank you for writing which is quite good and best wishes always, and greetings. Kindness blossoms in your heart

  9. Across to the other side–of the continent you mean? Vancouver is on the west/pacific coast and we’re over here on the Atlantic… Oh, it would be so wonderful if you could travel this far east….

    But regardless of when it happens, I have a feeling it will happen that we’ll meet (hopefully, this side of heaven!-that’s an American song, are you familiar with it–“if we never meet again this side of heaven”?)

    • Yes, I do feel it…that we will meet sometime.
      i have been following a blogger who has been writing for a few years and she is enjoying doing that right now (meeting other bloggers from all over the world.
      Now wouldn’t that be wonderful 🙂

      • It definitely would be wonderful!

        I’ve talked to a number of people who met their blogger friends in real life. They all say it goes remarkably well–because there’s so much common ground. It’s not as stuffy as meeting a bunch of strangers, wondering whether you’ll find anything to talk about….

  10. Pingback: PEACE | We dream of things that never were and say: "Why not?"

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