You just got the call. Your daughter and her husband have decided to divorce. You knew there was trouble brewing for months but you weren’t sure it would get this far. Now it has. Your daughter’s vision of ‘happily ever after’ with the man she loved and still loves, has been shattered. What is your role? How do you help her? Here’s how.
Listen to her. This is not just your daughter; this is an adult female who is hurting. Find your compassion as you listen. Don’t listen with harsh judgmental ears against him or her. Listen to what she says and how she feels. You will have questions, but you can’t listen if you’re talking. Show care in questioning.
Do not do the old ‘I told you that this would happen”, or “you should’ve known”, or “you should’ve done this or that”. She’s not in the mood for a beat down. None of the Should Haves matter now.
Do not bad mouth your soon to be Ex-son-in-law. No matter what he may have done, even if it’s horrendous, she married him because she loved him and chances are that the love didn’t just disappear. Realize that your daughter knows full well what was ‘bad’ in her marriage. She also knows what was Good and she will hold on to those good memories of him until time and distance help her pain. Watch your tongue.
Let her make her own decisions. She will ask your advice on a lot of issues. Give advice but do not tell her what to do. You are not her. You and she are on two different paths in life. Assist her in seeing what results some decisions may have, but let her ‘goof up’ if need be. You ‘goofed up’ plenty of times. That’s why you are so wise.
Let her cry. Losing your husband to divorce requires grieving. He, and her dreams and plans were all lost, or at least changed. She needs to grieve a bit before she moves on. Don’t tell her to stop crying. Women cry. That’s why they are so balanced. Give her your shoulder, put your arms around her, BE SILENT, and let her cry.
On the up side, find the humor. There is a certain amount of humor in how miserable this man will be without your wonderful daughter in his life! If there is no humor in the situation, find it around you. Visit a relative or a department store; there is no end to the humor in those places. Make her smile!
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