I attended a good friend’s wedding today. It was a joyful, exhuberant, often humorous celebration; part ritual, part myrth, all intentional community. And I learned a little more about family law.
This fellow had been a friend for well more than a decade, and in that decade plus, I have known him through his transitions. I knew him as one half of a different couple. I knew him as a divorcee. I knew him as a very confirmed batchelor. I knew him as a wary man with a love interest. I knew him smitten with his soul mate. And now I know him married again.
His new bride is a fantastic woman. Full of energy, spirit, mischief and widom. As my friend might say in humility, he has married above his pay grade.
As the attendees gathered before the ceremony commenced, a woman suddenly stood, expectently in front of me. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked. I did, though, but it took me a few moments more to place her.
She was the groom’s ex wife.
You know how it is when a couple separates, they divvy up the furniture. They often divvy up the friends as well. In my friend’s divorce, he got me.
My friend had mentioned his ex on occasion. I knew that they were doing a good job of co-parenting their son, now almost completely full grown. I knew that they remained amicable.
What I didn’t know is that, not was she coming to the wedding, not only was she very happy for my friend to get married, but that also she had thrown the bride a shower. And just a significantly, my friend and his bride had invited the ex to the wedding and the bride had accepted the offer for her “ex-in-law,” if such a term makes sense here, to host her bridal shower.
Is it all a bed of roses? No. Is it far better than most? Yes. Would post divorce life be better if everyone could live so graciously? Almost certainly, even if they didn’t carry it quite this far.
As a divorce lawyer, I know ex’s and spouses of ex’s who vacation together. I know that some still share holidays, break bread and feel cordially toward each other. I know of many efforts to remain in intentional community, borne by co-parenting, that are quite laudible. Family law contracts, but it also expands.
The bride was radiant, the groom was overwhelmed, and the world got a little closer and safer during those few hours, nestled in that very intentional community.
May we all take a lesson from their playbook.