In August, Chris Pratt and Anna Farris stunned many by announcing they were splitting up. Chris afterwards filed for divorce in December. What's heartwarming to see out of this sad story, though, is that both parents are trying to work out joint custody and work together to create a positive future for their son in spite of the fact that they're no longer going to live together.
"He's surrounded by so much love," Faris shared. "We constantly reinforce what a great kid he is."
I am the child of divorced parents. I won't share many details about that dreadful time to protect the privacy and dignity of my relatives - they're human, and fallible, too - but I have no doubt that they'd agree if I described those first years of separation as "toxic."
In their defense, it was a different sort of age. My parents hopefully will be the last generation that was pushed by society to stay together... "for the sake of the children." Divorce was still fairly taboo, looked down upon, and the resources and support to help people through divorce in a somewhat amicable fashion was nonexistent. So many relationships stayed together way past their shelf-lives, creating bitter environments that many of us grew up in – or until the strain was too great and caused a meltdown.
In that context, it's not hard to see why they used to describe a divorced home as a broken one.
I'm glad, these days, that people are getting over the idea of divorce being such a terrible thing. People change. Sometimes they grow apart. Sometimes they gain wisdom, and they realize that they were poorly matched in the first place.
It's OK to move on when you agree that you cannot work things out and remain healthy and happy together. Growth and change - and the capacity to process it with compassion, thought, and reason - is something we're not only able to do, it's something that more people are starting to embrace.
We need to encourage each other to remember that even though we adults may choose our futures and who we want to be involved with, our kids don’t have the ability to make that choice. If a relationship is truly irreconcilable, or if there’s danger, of course a clean cut is best. But wherever possible, we should learn from examples like Anna and Chris.
Romantic relationships don’t have to be severed completely – they can grow and change too. Even apart, you will always be partners, in a sense, especially when it comes to the well being of your children. It's may not always be an easy road, but what about life is?
Love for each other may fade, but compassion and respect can endure.