In August, a new NBC sitcom will premiere starring Marlon Wayans that will show a more loving side of divorce.
“Marlon,” which premieres Wednesday, Aug. 16 (9/8 CT), is a lighthearted comedy about a father doing his best to co-parent with his ex-wife. The star of the show says he was inspired by his personal life to portray divorce in a more positive light. Wayans maintains a friendly relationship with his ex, Angelica Zachary. Although the couple never married, they had two kids together before breaking up.
“I think the approach about a divorced family, but really the divorced family staying together, it’s more of a family show than it is a show about divorce,” Wayans said at a press event. “You know, it’s scrapping divorce and going, ‘Nah, divorce is what you make it. This is my family for life, and it’s all about love.’ And that’s what I love about this show.”
Far too often, divorce is framed as a tragedy and that often serves to cultivate confrontation. Perhaps that is only natural. After all, no one gets married with the intent of one day breaking up.
Typically, when a marriage dissolves, emotions are fraught. Child custody issues and the division of assets often becomes a point of contention. By the time the final decree is issued and the dust settles, it’s often tough to not harbor at least a little bitterness towards your ex.
However, as Wayans’ show portrays, the relationship with your ex doesn’t end when you have kids. You’re co-parents for the rest of your lives and it’s in your best interest to make the most of that relationship.
This is my family for life, and it’s all about love.
While the family court system has a tendency to pit one spouse against the other, plenty of people have shown that it is possible to divorce and remain on friendly terms.
There’s the couple that celebrated their breakup and continuing friendship with a “divorce selfie.” There’s the dad whose Facebook post about cooking his ex-wife breakfast went viral. It might not be typical, but there are couples maintaining healthy, beautiful relationships despite parting ways. When that happens, society should do more to support and celebrate them.
“Communities should accept divorce as a natural part of life,” said author Tara Eisenhard. “We really need to trust people that are going through this process. We need to understand that families need to make their own decisions about what’s best for them, so we need to empower these people. …
“If people didn’t feel that shame going through the process, they’d be able to be more collaborative. They’d be able to work together to feel better about that and ultimately everybody would be able to work through it to feel a little better.”
This isn’t to say that the decision to divorce should ever be taken lightly. No matter your attitude toward your ex, this is a choice with ramifications that will affect you for the rest of your life. You should never make the decision to split until you have carefully considered all your options and determined with certainty that divorce is the best way forward.
Once that decision is made, however, there is no need to fixate on negativity. Just because your marriage didn’t work out does not make you a failure. It is but one part of your story and the freedom that divorce affords is often the impetus for renewal and reinvention.
If you and your ex carry the appropriate attitude through the process, it is entirely possible to maintain a positive relationship even after the divorce papers are signed. That is what’s best for you, her, and most importantly, your kids.