There are many reasons why relationships end. The person with whom you once shared ‘the happiest day of your life’, with whom you declared your love for each other in front of the people you hold dear, with whom you build a home and a life, that person might one day no longer be the person you want to spend your everyday life with. It has happened to many of us. It is a sad moment when, as a couple, you realize that no longer you want to go continue life together.
So, why on earth would you want to hold a ceremony around this sadness?
Sense of closure is an important reason to hold a divorce or separation ceremony.
Yes, there is some closure if you were married and the divorce gets granted and you have a piece of paper saying you are now officially divorced. That letter might not meet your emotional needs. Ending a long-term relationship comes with a grieving process.
Coming together as a couple for the last time, commemorating and honouring the time you spend together, and then leaving as a person free of the ties to the other brings closure.
Freeing of the ties brings up another very important point, vows.
A vow is quite a big thing, when speaking a vow you seal your sacred promise between yourself and the person is on the receiving end of that promise. If you say a vow in a religious ceremony, the vow exists between yourself, the other and the god of your understanding.
Sometimes people vow to take care of each other forever as opposed to ‘until death do us part’, which means you are carrying this sacred promise with your soul forever.
When you are going to walk away from that sacred promise and not take care of that person in sickness and health any longer, there is a need of rescinding the vow you made.
Part of a divorce ceremony is to release each other of the sacred promise that exists between you.
Ending a relationship often means you will still see each other after the relationship has ended.
Being in a long-term relationship means your life becomes intertwined with that of the other, on all levels. A separation ceremony can be a place where you create space for the transformation from being committed loving partners to being friends.
So far the reasons mentioned have only involved the couple. A couple of adults that can likely comprehend why they are splitting up and what the consequences are for their lives.
Many couples have children. For children, hearing that their parents will split up, can cause a lot of negative emotions, anxiety and even feelings of guilt.
Creating a ceremony which includes a ritual or sacred promise that involves your children, can help them to overcome these feelings. They can leave the sacred space created in the knowledge that both their parents still love them and are committed to them.
Marriage is a sacred bond in almost all cultures. To end a marriage in many religions means breaking up a holy matrimony. It can bring up big life questions around soul mates, the divine bringing people together and what it means when things do not work out even though you feel so strongly connected to someone. As an Interfaith Minister, I can help families to choose the appropriate setting and rituals to be part of the separation ceremony.
Also, as a family chaplain I can help facilitate the dialogue around separation and what this means to everyone involved.