I just read an article in my local paper today about how to work out a civilized post divorce relationship that works for everyone.
Here were their recommendations:
1. Recognize your role in the conflict. “Hard as it may be to give up the crutch, being honest with yourself is the first step in creating a lasting truce.”
2. Keep the kids out of it. “Effective parenting often involves putting yourself second,” says Rick Tivers, co-director of the Center for Divorce Recovery in Chicago.
3. Set boundaries. “Use the phone or even talk to their answering machine if personal communication erupts into arguments,” Ron Deal says. “Write out exactly what you intend to say, along with answers to their anticipated responses.”
4. Be consistent. “No amount of anger over agreements is worth contaminating your relationship with your ex or children,” Wolf says.
5. Be considerate. “Begin with a return to basic courtesies such as listening at least as much as you speak during interactions, soliciting your ex’s opinion on joint issues and trying to see things from their perspective.”
6. Plan for the future. “In the end, whether you and your former spouse become bitter enemies or good friends depends on where you want to end up.”
(From “Civil Divorce” by Amish Majumdar http://www.divorce360.com/)
My thought is that if you can really work through all of those things civilly, there is a high probability you could use some of the same principles and attitudes to reconcile your marriage, which to me is even better.
When my wife and I were in legal mediation, trying to mediate a legal separation – which I was willing to do only because it might avoid divorce – our mediator gave us a list of every issue about which we would either agree or the court would decide for us. My thought then was “Gee, these are most of the issues we have struggled with during our marriage such as finances, child rearing etc., so if we get all of these agreed upon, about the only thing left is what we do with our free time, and sex – which was off the table at that time – we might as well stay married.”
Thankfully with Christ’s help we did reconcile and learned new ways to work through those many issues.