I truly believe it is time for our societies to acknowledge that divorce has become part of the norm. In a city like Geneva, every other couple ends the relationship in front of a judge. A separation is a challenging experience, people need to feel supported rather than shamed. It is a defining moment, a time to reflect on the past and envision the future.
There are so many reasons why people ask for a ceremony, together or individually...
- Some want to part at peace with each other,
at peace with themselves, acknowledging the sadness and the loss, but valuing the years spent together and the good things that came from the relationship.
- Some want to reassure their children, to achieve a sense of stability by vowing to love them, to respect the other parent and to work as a team on their education. Divorce is a new contract.
- Some want to ask their loved ones for support in this transition and to make sure that they will feel welcome to talk openly about this evolution.
- Some want to conclude a mediation with a ceremony marking the end of this challenging process.
- Many want simply a sense of closure, a ceremony to help them leave the past behind - however troubled it was - and move forward, writing a new chapter of their life.
Divorce or separation is always a transition from one state to another. It is not a sign of failure, but an inevitable consequence of change and circumstances. Of course, it is often a time of uncertainty and of pain...
But I believe a symbolic ceremony - a "rite of passage" - can be helpful and sometimes even liberating.
My role as a celebrant is to help the ex-couple determine - together or individually - what exactly should be achieved through this ceremony and which ritual elements will best serve the purpose. I believe in keeping things simple and always opting for the most genuine solutions. That is the secret to creating a ceremony that feels right.
My work is inspired by the experiences of Wendy Haynes, a celebrant and trainer from New South Wales, Australia. Throughout the years, she has helped create various personalized ceremonies for separated or divorced couples.
You may see a few examples on her website.
A well crafted and considered ceremony
can make a difference to all those participating -
whether it is a meeting of just the couple and a witness
or a large gathering. (...) It can offer healing,
closure, clarity and vision. "
Wendy Haynes, celebrant and trainer
New South Wales, Australia
* Divorce ceremonies have been around for centuries...
The break-up of marriage is frowned upon in many religions, but most of them do tolerate divorce and some - like Judaism and Islam - have codified, centuries ago, a procedure and a ceremony. Christianity, in the early years, opposed divorce, which was relatively common in the Roman Empire. But nowadays, only the Catholic Church and some conservative Protestant Churches forbid married couples from "untying the knot". Recently, several Christian Churches have identified the need for a "rite of passage" to accompany this important transition. Some Methodist Churches, for instance, have developed a divorce ceremony. As for the Unitarian Universalist Church, its ministers are usually willing to create a fitting ritual. Last but not least, secular celebrants have also started organising divorce ceremonies these last years, mostly in English-speaking countries, like the United States and Australia.
* Would you like to know more?
Please feel free to contact me (see my details below). I am happy to answer any question. I usually propose a meeting in person or on Skype, in order to try and determine which kind of ceremony might be most suitable, how to organise it and how much it would cost. (It is of the utmost importance for me that nobody will give up a ceremony because of the price.)