We recently discussed the importance of letting go of resentment and engaging in forgiveness with divorce. Here, we will explore more ways to engage in healthy relationships with our ex-partner. The key here is to engage, not just tolerate. If you find yourself in a place of just tolerating your ex (which I hear a lot from parents), this is a post just for you!
A few days ago, I was reading a quote about marriage that deeply resonated with me.
“Marriage is a promise of companionship and provision for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of two people (Meyer, 2006).”
I encourage you to pause for a moment. Consider that quote about marriage. And it caused me to pause because I believe the same is true for parenthood. Being a parents is also about companionship and providing for the needs of our kids. So even though the marriage is dissolved in divorce, our commitment to providing for our kids still remains.
To do that, I believe that even in divorce situations, we need to follow that same commitment to our ex-spouse. It may just look different than the marriage originally did.
The truth is: our kids need to see that we are modeling companionship and provision for their other parent (your ex). It certainly doesn’t mean we are the only provider of their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. We are not longer married, so that makes sense. However, trust me when I say, I have listened to child after child speak about how much they wished “mommy would still care about daddy” or vice versa. We can still show we care by helping with that provision.
As you engage with your ex-spouse, consider kindness over just tolerance. Even if it isn’t reciprocated all the time, your choice of kindness will be seen and known by your kids. I know it will not be easy, but as you continue to model positive attributes, it will undoubtedly pay off in your kids!