As you start your divorce, life can get chaotic. You could easily end up spending your days with activities that seem to require your immediate attention but which have nothing to do with your short or long term goals. Having a peaceful divorce is not a matter of being a good person, having a cooperative spouse or lots of money to split between two households. Couples who divorce peacefully do so because they set it as a goal. You can't change all the history that led to your divorce. However, you can change the direction you are headed right now, simply by charting a new course.
A mission statement for your divorce is your compass guiding you away from conflict and toward peace. There will be many tempting distractions during your divorce. Your mission statement will keep you on track. It points you in the direction of living in a way that you know will make you proud of yourself.
Living your mission doesn't mean you have to completely overhaul your personality. Don't get bogged down in thinking you could've saved your marriage had you done something like this earlier. You're doing it now, and that's what counts. The past is the past and it doesn't matter now how you got here. If how you got here is of real concern to you, consider addressing the issue with a professional counselor, your doctor, or a support group. This is about moving forward and making sure your thoughts and behavior are in line with what you deeply care about. This will make it much easier and much less scary to let go of things which pull you off track.
If your spouse is willing to work on a mission statement with you, do it together. If not, write it on your own and consider sharing it. Your divorce mission statement should focus on your core values for dissolving your marriage and living your life afterward.
Here is a sample of a simple goal oriented divorce mission statement:
At the end of my divorce it will be true that my child has two supportive parents, committed to co-parenting and our financial responsibility was divided fairly. I value what I learned about myself during my divorce and it made me a better person. I'll continue to do this by putting my son's best interests above my own, focusing on accepting situations rather than manipulating outcomes, and allowing myself time to grieve. As a result I will feel hopeful that I will find love again, confident that I can adjust my lifestyle to my new financial situation and courageous about facing challenges.
Do you see how writing out your mission statement will help you keep your actions in line with your goals? Once you've pinpointed what's most important to you, it will be easier to make sure that the most important things are accomplished. To use the Making Divorce Work interactive mission statement, click here.
You may want to re-write this mission statement periodically and reassess your goals throughout the process. That's not only okay, it's encouraged. Life is a work in progress. You will change a lot during this process, and embracing the change in a positive way will help insure that you emerge happy, healthy, and whole.
Your divorce mission statement will serve as a reminder of who you want to be at the end of your divorce. Keep it handy. You will need these reminders when things get tough. The hard work of staying in touch with your mission, and realigning your behaviors to fit with your mission, will be worth it. If you are still not convinced, click here for another article on the importance of mission statements.
Creating your divorce mission statement is a huge first step, so take the time to congratulate and reward yourself. You actually wrote down your core values and now you're headed toward them.