Divorced parents walking with two young kids

Elements Of A “Healthy” Divorce

Do all divorces lead to strife and resentment between former partners? With children who are emotionally wounded and struggle with intimacy and relationships the remainder of their lives? I’ve counseled hundreds upon hudreds of struggling married couples whose relationships end much this way.

For over four years I’ve been counseling a couple online who ultimately divorced in January 2023. They had been married for a little more than fifteen years. After I had met with them for only a few months, it became pretty apparent the wife was not highly motivated to give her husband any more chances. I felt like she continue to do the work give it one last effort, yet not expecting much to be different.

Not the typical “broken” family

What has stood out to me to the point I felt drawn to write an article about it was how these two adults and their children have navigated the nearly eighteen months since the marriage ended. Let me share a few of what I’ve seen:

They have mutual respect for each other

A common contributor to the breakdown of a marriage is that the spouses lose respect for one another. This leads to issues such as retaliation, gossip, resentment, and trapping their kids in between their battles.

This couple speaks more highly and respectfully of each other than any couple I’ve every counseled over the past decade-and-a-half. They consider the needs of the other before their own (i.e. kids’ event schedules, vacations, taking and picking-up from school).

They and their kids continue to be involved in the same church

Prior to the divorce, this family was actively involved in their local church. During and since the divorce, all four are still very involved and connected. Summer camp. Lock-ins. Volunteering. Serving in the community. Student ministry. Bible studies. They honor one another’s space at the church. But they didn’t stop going simply because of the divorce.

They parent their 11- and 16-year-olds better than many married couples

Here’s an example of how they put great priority into parenting, albeit from two different homes.

  • Pick up the kids sometimes from the other’s house to take them to school.
  • Pick up the kids after school, then take them to the other’s parents (kids’ grandparents).
  • Travel out of town with one of the kids’ sports teams.
  • Allow the kids to move freely back and forth from the two homes.
  • Stay home with one of the kids when they’re home from school sick.
  • Basically, they just do whatever it takes to raise two wonderful kids in a healthy, yet divorced, family.

They continue to co-own two local businesses

To top off all of this, they co-own two successful local business. She leads in the areas of business relationships, budgeting, financial decisions, and contracts. He leads in the areas of personnel, operations, sales, and product. I’ve been so fortunate to witness how they are able to effectively co-parent after a divorce and from two different homes. In an unusual way, I see these two adults and two children who are abundantly blessed!


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