September 19, 2015

Closure After the Marriage Ends

Categories: DivorceMental Health


One of my favorite sayings is, ‘If you think you can do it, or if you think you can’t do it, in either case you are probably right.’ This idea was brought home when I did my research about getting closure after the marriage ends. My default setting believes this is not only a good idea, but also attainable. However, I am reminded that a good many people are of the opinion that there is no such thing as closure, and you are wasting your time looking for it. You are probably right – for you.

I prefer to align with those who believe that the challenges we face in life are there to teach us what we most need to learn about what it means to be human. I like the analogy to design theory, where there is no such thing as a mistake.

Now I have come to believe that the process can be as important as the outcome. When I was a freshman in college I did not know the name for the calf muscle, in a biology class test. Missing that answer, I have never forgotten that it is the gastrocnemius. I can’t tell you a single answer that I got right, but I’ve never forgotten the incorrect answere.

For me, there are many reasons why it makes sense to obtain closure when the marriage ends. Most likely when we came together we both experienced good times. We resonated, walked on air and connected. If our marriage ends on a sour note we may be forever deprived of the warm memories.

Compassion is central to love. Being able to show genuine compassion for the pain of a partner is healing for both parties. When couples are unable to clean up the baggage we end up carrying it with us for the rest of our life.

Collaborative divorce provides a safe place within which a couple can feel protected while working through the process to reach a resolution that works for each party. It makes good sense for couples to have the option of creating our own final ceremony at the very end.

One very important consideration might be for each party to release the other from the marriage vows you may have made. Isn’t it strange that we have an elaborate ritual of marriage that often contains promises of each to the other, and yet, at the end of the marriage no mention is ever made of this?

This final revision of the marriage vows can make a huge difference for those of us who place a value and importance on our word. It integrates the commitment we made at the beginning of our marriage with honoring our word at the end. When our responsibilities to the marriage have been completed, we are free to move forward in life. This is the meaning of integrity.

Bruce Peck

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at

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