Divorce doesn't have to be ugly.
By Kozo Hattori
My wife and I are getting separated. I’ve thought long and hard on how to react to this turn of events. As much as I try to resist, one thing comes up over and over in my heart and mind—treat your ex-wife with love and respect.
In order to motivate myself for this daunting task, I came up with 5 reasons to treat my ex-wife like a goddess.
1. She was a goddess at one time.
When I first saw a picture of my wife on Yahoo Personals, I thought she was way out of my league, yet unlike many other women I reached out to, she responded to my email in a heartfelt authentic manner. We began a conversation via email that delved into issues of cultural identity, heartbreak, and future dreams.
By the time I met her in person, my heart was smitten. She turned out to be more beautiful and gracious in person than the glamour shots she sent me. She was a goddess in my eyes and my heart.
After marriage, children, financial and social hardship, we both morphed into monstrous versions of our former selves. She took on the characteristics of anger and resentment, while I donned the cold, bitter cloak of indifference. If I look real closely, however, I can still see the goddess my ex-wife once was beneath the scowls, crossed arms, and screaming demands.
I also take responsibility for my part in creating this angry version of the goddess I once worshiped.
2. She is the mother of my children.
My ex-wife spent 14 hours in labor with our first son. She pushed vigorously for two straight hours refusing to have a C-section. Although the birth of our second son was not as dramatic, she still carried him for seven and a half months while working full-time. If I don’t honor her as the mother of my sons, then I am taking for granted the miraculous presence of Jett and Fox in my life.
If I want my sons to have loving relationships with women, especially their mother, I need to role model how men treat women and mothers. Regardless of all the conflict, hurtful words, and trespasses I feel my wife has launched at me, she is still a mother. All mothers deserve respect, as do all humans.
Honoring my ex-wife as a mother casts a different light on our relationship. Yes, we are separated, but we are still connected by the thread of creation. We will always be parents together. As co-creators, we are, in a sense, divine.
3. She will always be a part of my life.
I still see my ex-wife every week when I drop off the children, but even if I moved to a different country, she would still be a part of my life. She is part of my history, my love life, my karma. I can’t erase all our past experiences, feelings, and connections.
For example, whenever I look at other women, I see them through the lens that is colored by my ex. Are they as tall as she is, as educated? Do they display the same lack of forgiveness?
As an integral part of my life, my ex-wife constructs my present reality. If I don’t embrace everything in my life, then I am not living what Brené Brown calls a whole-hearted life. If every time I think of, see, or interact with my ex, I feel a tinge of anger, resentment, or irritation, then I will never experience true joy, bliss, love, and connection.
4. She is the divine feminine.
As a woman, my ex-wife gives me privileged access to the divine feminine. Regardless of what our marital status states, she is still a part of my wholeness. She is a creator. She is a nurturing caregiver. She has strengths and powers that I will never completely comprehend or understand.
If I cannot honor this divine feminine in my ex-wife, than I can’t honestly hold space with any women.
5. Peace of mind.
When I judge others, I lose peace of mind. When I honor others, even in their humanness, I feel much better about life, relationships, and the present moment.
I’ve wasted far too much time gnashing my teeth and wringing my hands while ruminating all they ways my ex-wife has treated me unjustly. I’ve found peace of mind to be the most important factor in my happiness, health, relationships, and spiritual practice. The easiest way for me to get peace of mind is to treat others like I would like to be treated. I would love to be treated like the divine being that I am, so I will treat my ex-wife like the goddess that she is.
Surprisingly, just writing this article gives me hope for future relationships, love, and happiness. I know that practicing this mindset will be far more difficult than penning these words, but I also know what it is like to do the opposite, and that is motivation enough to change my ways.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.