Yes, you did read that correctly!
The purpose of a ceremony.
The purpose of any ceremony, whether it's a wedding, a naming, a funeral, or even a divorce, is to create a moment where we come together to support and guide individuals through significant life transitions. These ceremonies provide a sense of community, act as a form of cheerleading, and offer encouragement and recognition.
A divorce ceremony, while less formal than a wedding, serves a similar purpose. It's an opportunity, often with the presence of friends and family, to make a decision about the future of a relationship. In some cases, when the couple is amicable, they may even participate in the ceremony together. However, it can also be a solo event.
A celebrant can help navigate this process by discussing where the individuals have been in their relationship, but the focus should be on where they are heading. What commitments are they making for their future? How will their lives change, and how can their loved ones support them in this new phase?
For couples going through a divorce together, it's a chance to acknowledge shortcomings and mistakes, but it shouldn't stop there. It's equally important to highlight the positive aspects each person brought to the relationship and the family, and to encourage one another to move forward to better things. Expressing gratitude to each other, as well as to family and friends, for their support can also be a part of the ceremony.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ushering people through the process of divorce, but open and honest communication with a focus on helping rather than hurting can lead to a meaningful divorce ceremony. It demonstrates maturity and intelligence in recognizing that while a decision (such as marriage) may have been right at one point, circumstances change, and so can commitments.
Marriage, traditionally viewed as a lifelong union, should also acknowledge that people evolve and circumstances change. If someone finds themselves in an unhealthy or unhappy relationship despite efforts to repair it, divorce can be a courageous and necessary decision to make.