A Former Client
Recently a former client contacted me. She conveyed the success she and her second husband had had in part due to the advice they had received. They handled the divorce effectively and helped the children. They just celebrated their 36th. year of marriage and are a family with six children and grandchildren. It can be done.
A marriage ending in divorce is a very difficult time. It is not just for the marital partners but the children as well.
Well over forty years ago my first marriage ended in divorce. We had two young daughters who felt deep distress. At the same time another couple was coping with a divorce involving two young sons. As it happened we were all friends.
Moving On through Pain
By truly great good fortune the other woman and I found we were interested in a relationship, The process ended in our marriage and we brought our four children together in the new marriage. If it sounds auspicious, it was not that simple. Understandably the children were not thrilled about divorces nor a remarriage.
The events propelled my new wife and I into a new career. I was a clinical psychologist and my wife went back to school and became a clinical social worker. We opened a practice serving stepfamilies.
The Bottom Line
Through our divorces we learned some truths. The conflict between the divorcing couples must be brought under control. The children definitely do not want a new family. They want the old one back.
There are realities which must be built. A new marriage must survive and the children must be directed to accept a new future. The bottom line is that it can be done.
We had to bring our clinical expertise to our picture and the picture of others. We recognized some things and served hundreds of families. Generally it is the woman who calls for help. Too often she is taken into individual therapy. And with children in crisis often one of them is also taken into individual therapy.
We saw a different way forward. When the woman called she was asked to bring her new husband with her. They needed information about how to build their new marriage and how to help the children navigate the crisis. The expectation was that the new marriage could thrive in time and the children could be guided to their new future.
The process tended to work quite well. We knew the adjustment period was generally five to eight years but ongoing therapy was not necessary. Guidance was. With our approach we worked with hundreds of families and the average duration of help was just eight sessions for the couple. They were given guidance and ways to handle their own crises and help the children adjust.
My wife and I are now approaching the celebration of our 44th. year together. Our children are thriving. It can be done.
A Book for Surviving Divorce and Remarriage
My wife and I wrote a book to help professionals and stepcouples respond to divorce and the children in crisis. Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership by Mala S. But, M.S.W. and Roger B. Burt, Ph.D. It outlines how they can work together to overcome a difficult period. We thought our approach needed to be out there because too often we saw people being put in individual therapy while management by the couple was the way forward. The book is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
by Mala S. Burt, M.S.W. and Roger B. Burt, Ph.D.
Available on Amazon
In this difficult era there are many issues pending. I just touched on divorce and remarriage and the common crises involved. Among other things n future posts I will begin to delve into our health system. Many years ago I was deeply involved in a reform movement. It ended badly but illustrates an ongoing crisis in our struggling health care system in need of reform.