Four Steps to Survive a Marriage Break-Up

Four Steps to Survive a Marriage Break-Up

In this video, Award-Winning and Accredited Family Law Specialist, Stephen Page discusses four things to survive a marriage split.


G’day, I’m Stephen Page from Page Proven, Family and Fertility Lawyers and I’m talking today about four steps to survive a breakup. This isn’t legal stuff, but this is stuff I’ve learned from over 30 years of legal practice, and these four simple steps will make it easier for you to get it out and survive.

Because that’s what we’re talking about, if you’re going through a marriage breakdown, a relationship split, it’s a case of survival. So the four key tips are these, first, have a support network. Do you have friends and family that you can talk to? They can be friends or they can be family. Sometimes family can be a bit difficult because family, of course, have known us since we were born and they can be hypercritical.

So it’s got to be someone who actually supports you and listens and gives you wise advice. It’s very hard going through a split if you don’t have someone you can bounce off. So that’s probably the most important first step, having that support network. The second, if you need it, and many of us who have gone through a separation need it, is to have a counsellor.

Someone independent, not a lawyer, so they’re a lot cheaper than lawyers, and they’re trained in the field who can give you independent advice about which way is up.Is this the best thing to do in dealing with your ex? Is this the best thing to do in dealing with your children? And just making sure you’re okay, and why it’s important to have a counsellor as opposed to just relying on your support network is you can burn them real quick.

How many times have we been to a barbecue or a party and someone’s gone through a split and they talk endlessly about how miserable their life is. Now, imagine you’re doing that with your support network day in, day out. No matter how good they are, sooner or later, you will hit the equation.

So rely on someone independent, rely on the counsellor and talk it over with them, you’ll find that you’ll have a new positivity about life, and that’s the third thing. It’s important to have a really positive attitude.

Now, this glass is not quite half full, but it’s important to describe it as, well, it’s, I would say a quarter full, as opposed to three quarters empty. Because it’s really easy to say how bad life is, how rough things are, it’s so much harder to describe things being positive.

Many years ago, a client of mine who was going through a very, very rough divorce, I thought I’d just give her a call, and the way that I looked at her life, I thought life was pretty bleak for her. She had been taken out by police from the farmhouse in which she lived, and this was for her safety, because they feared that her husband was going to kill her. They’d been in a church together, and because they’d separated, the members of the congregation shunned her, it didn’t matter that he’d been violent.

It was the fact that she was ending the marriage, and the members of her congregation had been very supportive of her to that moment, much of her life was wrapped up in the church and then suddenly, this was stripped from her. Finances were pretty tough, husband refused to pay her anything, so she was having to rely initially on social security, and she was in a poor part of town that had very bad public transport, and she didn’t have a car.

She got a job, it wasn’t the best kind of job. But I thought, wow, look how bad all this is for her, and here she was in the middle of family court litigation and things were just really, really rough. So the way I looked at it, her life was horrible, and what did she teach me?

Her life was wonderful. I got it completely wrong. Yes, she was going through a court case, well, that’ll be over. Yes, she got shunned by that congregation, low and behold she found a new Church, and low and behold she found new friends, and at the age of 60, she started water skiing.

She said, I’ve never had so much fun, I never knew I could water ski and here she was, every weekend or thereabouts, going out on water skis, and her job, well, it made some money, and it was keeping her mind active, and the best part of all, that kidney disease that she had, which was probably caused by stress, probably caused by being with her husband, and abuse, and violence at home, gone, and she said, My health is great.

I wake up every day, it’s a sunny day or maybe sometimes it’s not, but I look at it and I think, I’m so glad to be alive. I’ve got so much to look forward to.

So she wasn’t being unrealistic about where her life was going, but she was being quite realistic. She had difficulties with transport, with employment, and with her court case, but she made sure that she looked at life the right way, and the fourth step, I’d say is this one, exercise.

Do you have an exercise regime in place? If you don’t, get one. It doesn’t matter whether you swim, or you walk, or you do weights, or you go horse riding, or whatever type of exercise, cycling, that you do, but have a system in place. Because when you exercise, you release endorphins, they make you feel good, you get all this oxygen in you, you feel better physically better for doing exercise.

But on top of that, all that clutter in your brain goes. It’s all gone. So when you’re thinking before exercise, all these negative thoughts about, I’m going through a separation and life is really rough, do that exercise, life feels better. There are my four steps, and it’s consistent with what we say, our values from Page Provan, life enabled, life simplified.

Thank you.

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