Furthermore, I learned that whatever the issue(s) in our settlement is that we cannot agree upon, we have to respect the other party’s point of view which is probably based in fear of losing that which is dear to them or of particular value.
For example, both might want the house for very different but very real reasons: One might want the house because it is proudly regarded as a monument of achievement, or simply because it is the best financial option and another might want it because of its safe, familiar qualities, all of which are worthy of respect.
If we disagree on parenting matters, we ought to respect the other parent’s parenting style and refrain from being overly critical, just like we would have done if we were married. I know now that some might think the other parent to be too strict, while others might regard them as too lenient. Some might expect a child to do chores while others might regard them as too young. One parent might adhere to age restrictions on movies while another parent might disregard them but provide thorough parental guidance.
For worse gladly became for better again…
When we truly respect the person going through an experience, be it bankruptcy, illness or an affair, we are able to honor them for doing the best they can with what they know at that time, irrespective of the impact on ourselves. Of course, we might feel disappointed or heart-broken while having to bear the consequences and we have to deal with that appropriately, but we have to be mindful of the context of that person’s reality.
Similarly, we can honor the people our ex-spouses have become, by respecting their opinions however clumsily we might feel they put them forward and when we strongly disagree with them, honor them by allowing them the time and space to be how they choose to be.
It is much more sensible to agree on a parenting plan, with mutual respect for each other’s views on raising children and to be grateful for the varied rather than narrow-minded input our children will grow up with, than constantly fighting to keep children away from the perceived bad parent. The best way to teach children about honoring others is to show them how you do it yourself.
With respect where it is due, it becomes easier to honor and, with honor a new kind of love for a co-parent can grow. When we behave respectfully and conduct ourselves in an honorable manner, people are inclined to respect and honor us in return.
Congratulations on our twenty-first anniversary of marriage, divorce, and learning to keep my promises of love, respect, and honor. Although we are no longer in love and living under the same roof, I will strive to honor my commitment to my ex-spouse and the family we are raising together, to the best of my ability. It might very well be the most honorable thing I ever do!