If you are marrying for the second time or getting married after having other long term relationships, it is important to find spiritual closure with the ones who came before. Spiritually releasing ties you might have to old loves is also an important part of your emotional health--it enhances your readiness for a new marriage, and can help make your new union stronger.
In the Jewish faith, a spiritual divorce is called a “Get” and is something granted by a rabbi. In ancient times the get was the divorce; today it serves to help couples feel spiritually free of their former partner as well as legally unbound. While it is little more than a piece of paper written in Hebrew and signed by the clergy (in the Talmud it’s referred to as a Sefer Keritut, scroll of cutting off) some couples seek it as a decree that separates two souls from the holy union they agreed to on their wedding day. An annulment, in the Catholic faith, is a similar concept, in that is spiritually frees a person of that faith to marry again in the Church. In some indigenous cultures, marriage is in spirit and thus divorce is as well. Among one shamanic tribe in Mexico, a chief will bless a couple’s decision to separate if a new home and husband has been found for the wife. If that requirement is met, then the couple is absolved of financial and spiritual obligation to one another.
In any language and any cultures, a spiritual divorce is as important as a legal divorce, and is as relevant even if you never married the person who played an important romantic role in your life. Before you can fully connect to your new beloved, and before he can fully give himself to you, you both must commit yourselves to a spiritual cleansing of the imprints of relationships past.
“Spiritual divorce calls us to reconnect to the highest aspect of our being,” says Debbie Ford, author of Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life. “It is here that we can reclaim our power, our joy and the limitless freedom to create a life of our dreams.” The life of your dreams, now, is the life you will be creating together and Ford says it is especially important for engaged couples to spiritually divorce their former mates.
If you are negatively or inappropriately connected to an ex –through a dysfunctional relationship, bad memories anger or upset related to child rearing – is important to find peace for yourself and to free your ex as well. By the same token, even a good relationship with a one time love requires a spiritual divorce, so that you can take all of yourself in to your new relationship.
Everyone you have ever loved leaves their imprint and it is best to disconnect from them spiritually before your wedding day. If you and your fiancé both work on this together it can bring powerful results. Here are some steps you can take over time to fully move on from an ex-love:
- Acknowledge what the relationship was about for you. For better or for worse, how did it change your life?
- Look at the best parts of the relationship(s) and how they contributed to where you are now.
- Look at the worst parts, all the lessons learned, and how these contributed to where you are now.
- Look at ways to bring completion to any relationships that remains an open book that can interfere with the new chapter you are writing with your new marriage (letting go of old wedding gifts, giving the sheets you once shared to charity, working to let go anger and discord, etc.).
- Remember happy memories with and let those forever stay in your heart and honor them as part of the growth that brought you to the great relationship you have now.
- Seek to ritually relinquish spiritual ties to and to lessen the connection to that person through symbolic gestures. Karen Weisman, who with Tami Coyne authored The Spiritual Chicks Question Everything, once held a divorce shower for a friend to help him let go of his ex and move on to new love. They gave him kitchen gifts, she says, and “We made him play silly games and his sister had us all sing the theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore show and we tossed a beret in the air at the end.”
Spiritual divorce rituals of can be done with the help of friends; or you can do them individually or as a couple. The process will move your relationship to the next level by acknowledging where you’ve both been and what you’ve been through. It can help show you that all your relationships were the building blocks that brought you to this moment in time and can help you relinquish unfinished relationship issues that could get in the way of your happiness and commitment.
Try this Simple Spiritual Divorce Ritual:
A very simple way to say goodbye to the ones you loved before is to go with your new love to the ocean and partake in a simple ceremony using sand, surf and the power of Mother Nature. All you need is a stick, a couple of plastic baggies, a prayer in your heart and the intension to have a spiritually clean slate for marriage.
- Using your stick, or covering your hand with a baggie so that you don’t get sand in your nails, write the name of the first person you need a spiritual divorce from. Write in a spot where the sand meets the shore; where is just about mud, and the next wave is likely to wash it away.
- Watch as the wave comes to claim the spot upon which you have written the name. Notice how nature so beautifully fills in the dents in the sand and smoothes the name over with water. And allow yourself to feel that person released from you spiritually, with love.
- Say this prayer: I surrender my attachment to (name), and I release her/him to the universe, with love and with blessings. I forgive (name) and ask that all be forgiven between us on the highest levels. I thank (name) for all he/she has given me. May (name) be blessed in all ways. (Name), you are free now and I am free now.
- Go on to the next person. Most of us have a few significant others to release. Repeat this process for the most significant and then do one final release for “all others.” You and your beloved can alternate, each doing a release after the other. Or you can do yours and then he can do his.
- When you feel you have spiritually released your former loves, stand again and gaze out at the ocean and allow yourself to feel the calming power of the Mother, healing you and your fiancé, and healing all those loved ones you said your spiritual good-byes to.
- End with a prayer. Mother, Father, Divine Spirit of All There Is, Thank you for you for you divine presence. Thanks you for your healing waters and for the sand that shows us all in life can be smoothed over and harmonized. Thank you for your blessings and for your light. May all those present and all mentioned move on with love and blessings in a way that harms none. And so it it!
© Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway 2011
Adapted from Wedding Goddess: A Guide to Turning Wedding Stress into Wedding Bliss, (Perigee/Penguin). You can order an autographed copy here.