Surviving The Religious Holidays During Divorce

Holidays can be especially challenging when you are dealing with divorce. When your spouse heads out with your children for the holiday weekend, or on that special day to celebrate a religious festival or holiday event, you can feel a deep sense of loss in your “family.” While everyone is looking forward to meals and religious celebrations, loneliness and vulnerability may make you long for your ex. And even if you don’t really miss your ex, you may long for the traditions that you maintained in your marriage during your religious holiday celebrations.


The meaning of survival is: “To endure or live through something.” Creating a Survival Plan can be extremely helpful in managing the challenges of celebrating a religious holiday as a single person or single parent, either during or post divorce. PRAY is an acronym that I found very helpful for clients struggling with religious holiday season celebrations during their divorce.


Put Your Faith First: During times of religious celebrations, we are often reminded by leaders in our religious institutions that “keeping the faith” is a year round effort, not something that can be done just during the celebration of holidays. When dealing with divorce, we are often forced to accept that many things are beyond our control. Using your religious celebration as an opportunity to reconnect with your faith can be extremely helpful in creating a blueprint for navigating a painful transition, such as a divorce. If your connection to your faith happens only during holidays it will be much more difficult to rely on it as your life becomes more challenging. Making time for daily reflection or to attend weekly services, schedule permitting, are two steps you can commit to taking during the religious holiday season that will set you on the path of strengthening your faith, and ultimately your resilience, during your divorce journey.


Review And Revise Your Rituals: As a newly single parent, one of the most difficult things to accept in divorce is that there will be times when you will be celebrating these holidays without your children, or conversely with your children but without a partner. If you have children, it is important to put the celebration in perspective of a 365-day calendar. It is also important to remember the flexibility that was shown during the marriage, especially if you happened to spend holiday time away from each other due to work or family commitments. Religious holidays can be a spiritual time, filled with celebrations, atonement, or commemorating significant events. It is also a time of the material, including fun parties, gifts, and new clothes. Taking the time to think about what you want to teach your children about the meaning of your religious holiday is also important. If your spouse was not supportive of your efforts to connect your children to your faith, you may want to use your parenting time to begin to build that exposure to your religious community. Ask yourself, what is the current balance between spiritual and material that my child is experiencing during this holiday? As your kids grow older, you can consider joining them to volunteer at a non-profit, or attend an educational program about your religious celebration.


Ask For What You Need: People cannot give you what you need unless you tell them what you want. If you have previously hosted most of the religious celebrations, and you are dealing with too much on your plate, consider allowing someone else to host so that the financial and physical burden is not falling entirely upon you. If it gives you an emotional boost to host the dinner or meal, ask guests to bring food and beverages. If you do not have a celebration to attend, reach out to friends and family and accept any invitations to holiday parties, events, and religious services that you feel you can handle. If you are alone, you can plan a trip, a day to explore your city, or a day of self-care at home. If you are really struggling with how to handle the religious holiday season, you can schedule a meeting with your spiritual counselor, rabbi, pastor, reverend, or advisor to help you connect to the holiday, and gather information on how you can participate in any religious services and social events.


Yield To The Moment: Money, work commitments, time, and many other things may be creating challenges as you enter a religious holiday season. It is important to remember that during the divorce process, the goal is to slowly build a new you and a new life. It will take time, but prayer and reflection, along with a commitment to mourn and release the old in order to celebrate the new, can create paths to healing and restoring your faith. Think about what it means to PRAY — to give thanks and praise to an object of worship. When you combine a renewed and restored foundation of faith with your petition of prayer, you can face the religious holidays with the right mindset — an attitude of true gratitude!



Wishing you a blessed Easter, Passover, and Rama Navami!



If you are contemplating divorce, or struggling with a high-conflict divorce procedure, let Tamara Harris, CEO of  Tamara Harris LLC, be your partner as you navigate through each stage of your journey. As an impartial, experienced professional, Tamara will work directly with you to give you the best tools and strategies to manage the specific challenges and uncertainties of divorce. Serving as your Divorce Coach and advocate, she will help you see clearly during this time where emotions can often impede and derail your divorce procedure. While each member of your high-conflict divorce team – lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other experts – will be advising you, Tamara will help you to synthesize this information, think strategically about the options you have with clarity and purpose, and get your divorce across the finish line. Visit tamaraharris.com for more information, or contact Tamara Harris to discuss becoming a client. All inquires will be held in confidence.

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