Separation ? Loss, pain, fear, expensive, loss of identity, freedom? Unable to breathe, loss of benefits, unanticipated, amicable resolution? About Children? Love, anguish, cherish, mischievous, all mine, schedules and more schedules! Disciplined, protect- them- for- the- rest- of -their -lives, comfort, chores, fear? Inexperienced, distant, loud, supporting, trusting? Your Home? My neighbourhood, expensive, safe, family roots, maintenance, portable, legacy? Dream, mortgage, welcoming, flooded, critters, home base, security! Why does the word divorce carry so much negativity when one rarely, if at all, experiences it? Do we jump to claim the experience from friends and family who are going through it first hand? Or, are we engaged in watching the media drill into the saucy bits to make the book sell, the advertisers buy space, and the polls soar higher? The word children conjures up emotions of caring, tenderness and inspiration. Did we forget about the difficult bedtimes? And the fights trying to control time in the virtual arena instead of chores to be done? Where parents see danger another sees engagement and learning taking place. And home. A five year child playing house told me that a ‘the house is on the outside and the home is in the inside’. From this simple offering, the structure, one among many others on the street, lacks connection while behind the shell is life, belonging, and sustenance. A home may be owned, leased, rented or ‘sofa-surfed’ by a passing acquaintance. Maybe the bank owns more than the owner. But that doesn’t take away from maintaining our home the way we want it to be. Expressing ourselves through choice of location, architectural features, furnishings and colours, we show a part of how we define ourselves. Maybe changing jobs or chasing educational degrees has led to a more nomadic lifestyle and a home may carry less significance in our lives. Following cultural openings, eating at the latest establishment and commuting to an office changes how we value being outside our home more than being confined inside it. Expressing goals with meaning, clarity and purpose Whatever value, be it positive or negative, that we attribute to each of these words our thoughts will wander to both sides of the spectrum. We find things which draw us away from wanting to be involved (such as having children or owning a home), to thinking about ideas which draw us in to participate. Experience and perspective, even the seeking the trusted advice of another, helps us understand more about ourselves alone and as part of a family and community. Some clients find terminating their marriage is the only path to realizing a healthier future for themselves or making a better choice then they made in youth. Others realize that a significant change must be made soon as their ability to do so may be limited by what life offers them as seniors. Young couples may yearn to experience having children to care for and complete their dream of family. That vision may include a long term partnership with no thought of it ever ending. Expressing what you desire entering into a relationship ought to be delivered with clarity and purpose. Provide meaning to the dreams. Understanding what each brings to the union. What is desired from the other and from the relationship. These frank discussions aid each in deciding whether their needs will be fulfilled. It helps each partner think about what role they will assume and what they can offer the other to reach their goals. Building trust What comes up when you think about the word trust? Connection, honesty, foundation, relatable, understanding, in common? Broken, together, spirit, reliance, confidence, hope, fearless, future, commitment? Shared goals and meanings attributed to different words: are you in the same space? Checking in with each other keeps the foundation of trust on track. When something feels awry, being comfortable to expression doubt and ask questions is important. That includes being able to rely on the skills and abilities of a partner to help work out solutions. When words lose their appeal When a couple finds it difficult to express feeling a loss of trust in the other, it isn‘t always a signal that the foundation is completely shattered. It does offer each spouse a series of new choices. An opportunity to rebuild, assess where they are in the relationship and perhaps forgive. A neutral facilitator or counsellor may be able to assist in regaining the balance and a resumption of commitment.