Divorce touches all of our lives, either directly or indirectly. In our very “modern” world, we enact many rituals: those marking birth, graduation, puberty, death, etc., but when we face the profound death of a marriage, we offer no ritual for the divorcing couple to grieve their loss together, no way to say good-bye with community and dignity. The transition from married to single status is a solitary one, and an individual facing such a death must deal with it on his or her own.

When the process gets too much to handle, we seek the consolation of friends or if necessary, seek professional legal and/or therapeutic services, mediation, or collaborative divorce as a way to maneuver the storm. Our secular society provides no rite of passage, nor sacred space in which we can say goodbye to our former spouses and move forward, leaving resentments behind, allowing us to emerge reborn as single, independent, and free individuals.

The “divorced” person is often left with resentment and, tragically, it is the children who too often become the recipients of the pain that secular divorcing adults have had no way to discharge.

My own doctoral research into ancient rituals of divorce points to the potential for all of us within the secular world to find guidance, healing and spiritual transformation by creating new, healing rituals of divorce.

While the ancient sages, nearly two thousand years ago recognized the need for an archetypal ritual rite of passage to freely release the marital partners to a new life, those in our secular, modern world are just now catching on to the primordial longing for such healing and transformative rituals. Based on my understandings as a modern family therapist and depth psychologist working with adults and children facing divorce, I do my best to weave the old with the new, the spiritual with the practical, and work with my clients in a compassionate, and transformative manner.

Still, following many years of work in the area of separation and divorce, I recognize that, despite the best intentions of the therapeutic and legal communities, many individuals remain unfinished in their emotional process. Too many individuals, despite having legal divorce in hand, remained betwixt and between worlds, feeling neither married nor single.

When deciding on a topic for my doctoral research, I found myself wondering what was missing in our work with families facing the profound loss of a marriage and restructuring of a their family. I found myself remembering the profound healing and transformation I experienced through my own participation in the ancient Jewish ritual of divorce, (the Get) and wondered if others had experienced the same degree of healing as I.

As a result, I researched, in depth, the ancient Jewish Ritual of Divorce, in order to mine it for its wisdom in healing the wounds of divorce.

My own research demonstrated how participation in an archetypal divorce ritual might provide the possibility for participants to be transformed in an instant, allowing them to move forward to a place that neither law, therapy nor collaborative law has been able to provide.

As a professional and panelist at many conferences, as well as a speaker within Canada and the United States, I will continue to share my research and passion to teaching those in the secular world how to create their own archetypal, healing rituals of divorce.

For clients seeking to create healing rituals of divorce for themselves and their family, and for those in the legal and mental health world seeking to change the culture of divorce, I welcome your thoughts and invite you to contact me and learn more.

Dr. Marilyn R. Beloff, PhD.

Dr. Marlyn Beloff is a  Canadian psychotherapist, marital therapist, divorce mediator, divorce coach and child specialist. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology, a PhD. In Psychology, (Depth Psychology) and has been in practice for over 20 years.To learn more click https://www.thedivorceangels.com/vendor/dr-marilyn-beloff/

One Response to “Changing the Culture of Divorce”

  1. Kendra Emmett

    Great article.The impact of divorce on my family was the hardest to communicate and observe. Divorce is very much like death. Actually, I think dealing with a death may be easier. Strange that we as a society do not observe some sort of letting go or forgiveness ceremony. It would benefit so many.


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