French writer Frédéric Beigbeder once said that love lasts three years. For Shannon and Chris Neuman, it lasted for twelve, but this story is not about that.
It is, however, about Shannon and Chris' divorce, which is currently gaining momentum among the online community.
Earlier last week, Canada-based Shannon Neuman posted an image on her Facebook account that shows herself and her husband, Chris, taking a selfie outside the Calgary Courts Centre. The caption read: "Here's Chris Neuman and I yesterday after filing for divorce!"
Neuman used a #DivorceSelfie hashtag to make her post even more lighthearted and fun.
So what's all the fuss about, you may wonder?
For one, it's safe to say people are not used to seeing a divorcing couple with cheek-to-cheek smiles on their faces. In many minds, divorces are these grim experiences that rip the hearts of everyone involved.
But it also had a lot to do with the message Neuman posted along with her photo.
'Are we smiling because the partner we chose for forever turned out not to be the forever partner we needed? Of course not. We're smiling because we've done something extraordinary,' Neuman begins her post.
In her message, Neuman goes on to explain the reason behind their — what some people called controversial — approach to divorce.
After being married for eight years and having two beautiful children, Shannon and Chris began feeling like their union is no longer as strong as it used to be. The couple says they've tried to work it out, but eventually decided that parting ways is the best and healthiest decision for all.
"We came to realization that we weren't the best fit and that we could be much better parents and happier individuals separately," Shannon Neuman told A Plus.
Neumans mutually agreed to handle this step with dignity and respect towards each other and keep their kids (who were 3 and 7 years old at the time) in the loop by reasonably explaining the situation.
'We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honourably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children.'
Read the full transcript of Neuman's post on Facebook below:
"Here's Chris Neuman and I yesterday after filing for divorce! But we're smiling?! Yep, we're kooky like that. Are we smiling because the partner we chose for forever turned out not to be the forever partner we needed? Of course not.
We're smiling because we have done something extraordinary (we think anyway!)
We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honourably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children, the perfect reason that this always WAS meant to be, so they will never have to choose.
They'll never have to wonder which side of the auditorium to run to after their Christmas concert or spring play, because we'll be sitting together. They won't have to struggle with their own wedding planning because we'll be sitting on the same side of the aisle — THEIR side. We have struggled, but we have succeeded in the plan we came up with together, to come out on the other side as their two parents who live in two houses who give them two teams to love them up two times as much.
And now that you know it's possible - please consider our way if you find yourself on this road, or share our message if we can help remind them that it's possible to love your kids more than you hate/distrust/dislike your ex (which we have felt at times on the journey but for the record we do actually like each other).
Nice work #teamneuman #divorceselfie."
Since publishing on Aug. 27, the post has been shared by more than 32,000 people who are in support of the Neumans' choice and celebrate their message to the world.
Shannon Neuman outlines that by no means is her message is encouraging divorce. Contrary, her intention was to inspire couples to be more open and loving towards each other, as well as to remind them that family should always come first.
UPDATE: It seems like Neuman's post inspired other couples to share their own #DivorceSelfies and raise awareness on the fact that separating doesn't have to be ugly.