The Positive Side of Divorce: Becoming More Spiritual

In “Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life,” author Debbie Ford reveals how a devastating divorce can be turned into a profoundly life-changing experience. Ford offers a path from divorce using what she calls “the seven spiritual laws for healing”—acceptance, surrender, divine guidance, responsibility, choice, forgiveness and creation.

Debbie Ford

Q: What is a Spiritual Divorce?

A: It’s when you use your divorce as an opportunity to grow and evolve. As a gain rather than a loss.

Why do you refer to divorce as a spiritual wake-up call?

Any time that we have an event happen to us, something that alters the course of our life, we have an opportunity to wake up spiritually and reconnect with our divine purpose. When we are suffering or fearful, these are times when we are called upon to return to our source.

Why is the first step in the healing process acceptance?

The I Ching tells us, “When we accept things exactly as they are without any self-deception or illusion, a light can develop to which the path to success can be recognized.” Acceptance is fundamental in being able to see what the next step is in order to heal. As long as we are fighting against what is, we’re going backward or staying stuck where we are rather than allowing or creating.

What is the importance of surrender?

Surrender is synonymous with serenity. When we allow ourselves to go in the same direction as the river, we have the freedom to move into new uncharted territories. Again, resistance is the culprit that keeps us in pain, keeps us stuck and has us resist. Surrender is the complete opposite. It says “this is what life has dealt me, it must be taking me somewhere better.”

What is a "relationship inventory” and why is it necessary?

It’s when we look at not just what our partner has done but what we have done. We take an inventory, write down and look at the things we would change about our own behavior.

How do we find and embrace the true "wedding gifts" as a marriage ends?

These gifts are not china and silver or anything you could possibly return to a store. They are the meaningful, life-enhancing gifts that we take away from the marriage, no matter how bad it was. We write down and begin to look for all of the things that we’ve learned that we wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t met that person. For instance, if you have children, they are certainly a “wedding gift.” Or, if your partner had qualities you didn’t like, such as being irresponsible, and you became the responsible one, that is also a gift of the marriage. For me, the best gift I got from my ex-husband (aside from our son) is that he is a minimalist and I’m a collector. Now I am more moderate and I love it.

How does one go about rediscovering a life of passion, purpose and meaning?

In the middle of a divorce, while being heartbroken and angry, you have two choices: You have the choice to let your emotions take over and use your divorce as a loss while remaining a victim who is hurt and resigned. Or, you can commit to using your divorce as a catalyst for an extraordinary life. This is what Spiritual Divorce is about. It’s about looking for how you can be the greatest, most self-expressed, turned on and greatest self that you could ever imagine. If you make that commitment, you will search and find a reason for your divorce and the opportunity to use your divorce to contribute to others. You might decide to go back to school, or volunteer at a women’s shelter, or just get your act together in every area of your life. You can do it, so go for it!

Debbie Ford, a New York Times best-selling author and featured life coach on the new ABC TV show The Ex-Wives Club, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal transformation. For more information, visit

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