Service of Un-marriage – Divorce Ceremony – Service of Dissolution
This service can be created for one or both parties breaking up. At this juncture go easy on yourself as unions don’t last forever. In this ceremony we will take the time to honour your relationship and then allow you to release your marriage vows.
The process of divorcing someone who you once cared for can be challenging and detrimental to the spirit. Please do give yourself some time to process this difficult part of your journey. These ceremonies are also referred to as ceremonies of hope. As you go forward planning this ceremony make sure you have the support of friends.
Candle, matches, something that reminds you of your marriage, and an old photo of the two of you together.
Lighting the candle – May the light we now kindle inspire us to use our powers to heal and not to harm, to help and not to hinder, to bless and not to curse.
We are gathered here today to mark the end of an intimate relationship. As we start I would like to invite you to take a moment to recall the good things about your partnership. The loving, creative, fulfilling times that you shared together. You came together in love and hope, and have a shared history as a couple for this period of time. At that time you held a ceremony to honour that union in trust and honesty. That partnership has now run its course and today we undo those sacred vows to release each of you to your future.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven;
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3.1-8)
You have journeyed together as far as it is possible to go. You have spent these years together, walking through life as a united force. May I gently remind you to look back with love at this shared time and to set down the difficult times with forgiveness for each other and yourselves. You are about to release each other from the bonds of marriage so that your paths can diverge and you can travel on your separate ways.
Today is an end of a union but a beginning of a new way to journey forward. You are each other’s “Ex” and as such have a new a different relationship.
Time could be taken here to rip a photo of the two of you in half, to symbolically bury or burn something that reminds you of your marriage like an old love letter. You could also plant a tree or seeds in a pot as a symbol of hope and growing in a new direction. You could have written down all of the things that you wish to release about your marriage, set the paper on fire to help release the negative emotions. You could write a poem to be shared or create a drawing of collage about this dissolution. If you choose to bury any of the above, then plant flowers on top and as you water the flowers think about what has died being changed in the earth into something new and positive.)
(Take a minute to speak words of gratefulness to each other for having been together to lessen the bitterness of separation. Perhaps you are grateful that you have children or you helped each other further their career. Perhaps you travelled together or build a home. You can give thanks for the love you once shared and give thanks that you can set the hard times down and move on.)
You chose freely to come together and now you are choosing to be apart. You are charged with the scared trust of the memories of your past together. That these memories will never be used to hurt the other, just as you wish them to not case pain to you. Let the opposite be true, that when you speak of each other it will be with respect for the time that you spent with each other. Walk this new path with kindness and forgiveness in your heart, difficult as this may be.
Take all that you have learned about how to build a relationship forward into your new life. Let the challenges help you not to make the same mistakes. Let all you have been through teach you to be wiser and more compassionate person for the next time you are ready to have a partner.
If there are Children:
This is a sad and difficult day for you. Your parents have decided to dissolve their union and this is distressing and unsettle for you and your world. Know that it is their right to end their marriage, despite how challenging and unfair this may feel to you. Know that you are not at fault. There was nothing you said or did to cause this. Always remember that you were conceived and brought into the world in love. Know that your parents always love you despite the fact that they have grown away from each other. Equally there is nothing you can say or do to fix your parent’s broken marriage.
It will be a big change to have parents who have divorced. It will be a new way of being for you and for them. I invite you to talk to your parents to help understand what happened. You may also like to talk to ____________ for support. They have agreed to provide an unbiased, compassionate ear so you can express how you feel about the divorce.
Extinguishing for the candle:
We extinguish this flame but not the light of truth, the warmth of community, or the flame of ongoing life. This we carry in our hearts as we go out into the world. Go in peace.
Following the ceremony you could hold a divorce part – jointly or separately.