Marriage is a journey that brings many seasons, much like the annual cycles of weather. There are times of passionate rains, emotional droughts, and transitions that shake a relationship to its core. With wisdom and care, many couples can survive the challenges. But there comes a point for some when the marriage withers past the point of revival. As a relationship coach, I guide clients through either pathway – revitalizing strained marriages when possible, and compassionately transitioning to divorce when needed.
The Harmattan Season in Marriage
Like the harsh African harmattan winds that sap moisture, marriages too can undergo difficult dry spells. The spark of excitement dims. Conversation lulls into the occasional grunt. Intimacy and laughter become rare treasures. In the busyness of careers and kids, the relationship fades into the background. If not rekindled, the distance widens into an impassable chasm.
Before the emotional harmattan winds fully take hold, reconciliation may still be possible through mutual effort. I counsel couples to make their partner a priority again. Set aside time for heartfelt communication without distractions. Relearn your beloved’s passions and pains. Tend regularly to the garden of your marriage, for neglect only brings barren ground. With commitment to nourishment, many relationships blossom again.
But when the harmattan persists relentlessly over years, when counseling and therapy yield no change, when one or both partners are past the point of return, I guide them gently through acceptance and letting go. The marriage’s season has ended; health now lies in moving forward separately.
The Painful but Necessary Transition of Divorce
The initial separation brings its own emotional whirlwinds – sadness, resentment, anger, fear. Dreams shrivel amidst the chaos. Honest communication often deteriorates. I validate these feelings while encouraging accountability and self-care. Establishing boundaries preserves dignity when winds whip most fiercely.
In time, shock and bitterness give way to solemn reflection. Now the soul can be nourished anew. Tears flow, washing some bitterness away. Once-dulled senses revive; hopes bud again for a life beyond divorce. I help clients embrace this time for self-rediscovery – clarifying needs, exploring new pursuits, reconnecting with friends. Their environment is changing, but inner potential still grows.
Finally, the dust settles into a new normal. Acceptance sets in, though some pain lingers. Laughter comes slowly but more easily. My clients realize they can survive and even thrive through loss. Now is the season for bold vision-setting and stepping forward into the unknown. Though the path here was jagged, their unique journey continues.
Why Divorce Can Be the Healthier Choice
Ending a marriage is often painful, but for some, it becomes the healthier choice. Reasons may include:
- Toxic relationship patterns continuing despite counseling
- Evolving apart from a partner and realizing mutual needs no longer align
- Realizing sexual orientation or gender identity is incompatible with the marriage
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Chronic deceit such as infidelity or hiding addictions
- One partner threatening the safety of the other
In these cases, I guide my clients to understand divorce not as personal failure, but as an act of courage that honors their responsibility to seek health and fulfillment. Though heartbreak still occurs, dissolving an unhealthy marriage with wisdom and compassion can be the best path forward.
The Key Is Moving Through Each Season
Marriages will inevitably experience seasons of emotional harmattan, nourishing rain, and parched earth. With care, many withstand the cycles, but some wither beyond recovery. Likewise, divorce brings its own phases of upheaval, renewal, and adjustment. But understanding these seasons helps alleviate fear of the unknown. Healing happens by traversing each stage fully and seeking meaning in the passage. As a coach, I walk with clients through the seasons, validating hardships, nurturing growth, and bringing hope.
Whether the outcome is reconciliation or divorce, peace is attainable by embracing each transition until the days grow brighter. The key is having the courage and support to complete the journey, wherever it leads.