Thursday, June 14, 2012

Would you have a divorcing ceremony?

We talked about newlywed life yesterday, so let's turn the tables today and look at life on the other end of the spectrum: Divorce. Imagine this: After 15 years of marriage, you and your partner are parting ways. Yes, you've had your squabbles, but that's not the way you want to leave things. So, you decide to mark the occasion with a ceremony of sorts. Maybe you both meet at the park where you met. Or maybe you meet for dinner at the restaurant where you had your first date. Whether the end-of-marriage ritual is low-key and simple or more elaborate, one thing is clear: Divorce ceremonies are powerfully cathartic, personal and healing.

A divorcing ceremony. It sounds strange, doesn't it? The New York Times recently featured an eye-opening piece on divorce ceremonies. Apparently, they are gaining popularity, and experts say these types of rituals are necessary.
"When people get married, they have a wedding ceremony, they’re making vows and promising to be with each other," said Barbara Biziou, a wedding officiant in Manhattan and the author of Joy of Ritual. "When that dissolves, you need another ceremony to release you from it."

The article also detailed various divorce ceremonies, from one woman's symbolic gesture of traveling to Paris and throwing her wedding band into the Seine to a couple in their '70s who, after 40 years of marriage parted ways by holding a simple ceremony in a labyrinth near the apartment they once shared. They each met in the center and shared memories of their life together.

What about you, friends? Would you ever have a divorce ceremony? Have you had one? Do you know anyone who has? Is it healthy? Does it help leave the marriage on good terms? What would your ceremony look like?

P.S. Jack White has even had a divorcing ceremony, though he called it a divorce party -- don't you love that? :)

P.P.S. A new MEMO TO MEN is coming your way shortly!

[Photos via Le Love]


  1. Personally I think it would be a very upsetting thing to do, break ups are hard enough without having a ceremony to celebrate it

  2. I actually had a divorce party myself, however it did not involve my ex. After my (rather brutal) divorce was finalized, I decided if the marriage started with cake, it should end with cake. I gathered together a group of friends, we bought a cake, drank champagne and toasted the end of my relationship. Divorces can be amiable, but they can also be a messy, heart breaking business. In my case, involving my ex-husband would have only made my process of moving forward more difficult. However, taking a moment with friends to put my past life to bed and look forward to the future was definitely worth it. And it was a great excuse to eat cake ;)

  3. Oh this makes me so sad! I think divorce is so tragic, and I can't imagine going through a ceremony for one.

  4. Having just gone through a divorced (finalized on Tuesday) I can tell you that this is just gross. Divorces are long processes that contain a lot of hard feelings. The last thing I would have wanted to do is hang out with my ex and have a PARTY. Sounds messed up...

  5. divorce makes me sad! i don't ever want to go through it. and why would anyone want a party for that? i mean i guess i can kind of see the meaning behind it, but i think that kinda sucks.

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  6. Jack White's party was a party, not really a ceremony. Ceremonies are huge in Japan (there's a video on my blog). I've been researching this a lot and I think, for the right kind of person, it's a great way to move on!

  7. PS -- for lots more on this topic.

  8. Kinda of seems like a "divorce ceremony" makes divorce "cool" and its not.. Really seems to cheapen marriage.

  9. oh my god, that story about the old couple! It makes my heart hurt.

    When I got divorced, I bought myself a piece of cake, and a bottle of champagne and I cut up my wedding dress and made it into a Halloween costume.

  10. It's too soon at the moment but as soon as I felt able, I'd do it. To mark a part of your life that was so formative, and when there are children involved (as there are), it feels better to do something to show that it was important, that they are still important. Far better than a slinking away as though it no longer mattered. It will always matter. And I'd rather celebrate the time I spent with my husband than spend my time griping about who did what when or who never emptied the dishwasher.

    And divorce ain't going to go away, we need to change how society reacts to it. No one on the outside of a marriage has any idea what's going on behind the supposedly 'united' front.

  11. A good friend is going through a very stressful and painful divorce after discovering her husband had been unfaithful for about a decade. We're definitely having a party at the end but the ex-husband will not be invited, obviously. She figures if she got a party for marrying a "great" guy then she should definitely party after managing to get rid of what turned out to be a really awful guy instead!

  12. Krysten and Hollie -- sending you e-hugs!! :(

  13. Stephanie -- I like the idea of having a ceremony, not for the other person, but more for you. It can be just as meaningful.

  14. And Eileen, thanks for the awesome link! xoxo


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