I’ve been blogging about love and romance lately because that’s what I write about in my day job, but this morning it occurred to me that I have also written about the fallout of a dead romance–divorce. Tragically, love dies far too often, and those hit by it are left floundering in an effort to put their lives back together again. It seems each person I’ve talked to lately, believer or nonbeliever, has gone through the horrible experience. Since I’ve endured the pain of being rejected by a spouse and fought the long fight of divorce, maybe I can give comfort and a little direction to someone reading this who has experienced divorce, or knows someone going through it.
First of all, I hope this doesn’t offend anyone who has lost a mate to death, but the victim of a divorce has experienced not only the death of a marriage, but rejection from the one person in the world who was supposed to know and love them more than anyone else. It’s like a double death. It cuts a person to the core and takes a chunk out of their confidence. My comfort for anyone at this stage is to resist the devil and he will flee, because he is the one whispering to you that you’re unworthy. You’re no less a person now than you were when your spouse married you. There are multiple reasons–hundreds to thousands of reasons–for someone to ask for a divorce, but my comfort has been that the person who divorced me was unable to work through his own personal difficulties, much less work through the difficulties of making a strong marriage. Maybe the two of you didn’t take time to get to know one another well before marriage. Whatever the reason, divorce is seldom about one person, but about two people being unable to make a relationship work.
If you’ve been rejected by a spouse, particularly when that spouse leaves you for someone else, you’re left wondering what’s unacceptable about you. What’s lacking? What did you do? If only you could go back and do it over, find out what they really wanted, and do that thing, then this wouldn’t have happened. Recognize this? It’s one of the much-touted five stages of grief. You’re bargaining to get your spouse back. You will likely endure all five stages at different times for many months, even years. You might be in a hurry to find someone else and plunge back into marriage. Don’t! This could easily lead to yet another divorce, and believe me, the second one is even more devastating than the first. The time after a divorce should be an opportunity for you to heal, find someone who can counsel with you, discover what could have been done differently. Take a divorce recovery class, grow strong within yourself so that, if you remarry, you’re better prepared to make sure the next relationship works.
If you’ve been rejected by a spouse, you might be losing your home, you will likely be losing your way of life, and you might be cut off financially–spousal support and child support can end up being empty promises, and you are forced to find an attorney to help you fight for them. Most vital, if you have children, you might fear losing them, as well. I recall wanting to crawl into a hole at this stage and never come out again. If you’re enduring this stage, you’re either gaining weight because eating is a comfort, or you’re losing weight because you’ve lost your appetite. You might be developing stomach problems from the stress, and you might even lose your temper more and more often-yet another stage of grief. You must remember you are not alone. This is normal. Learn to love and accept yourself, and work on growing. Discover your own likes and dislikes. Learn to do activities by yourself until you’re comfortable with yourself.
One small piece of advise I learned when I was helping teach divorce recovery was to pull myself together when I met with my attorney, and go prepared for the appointment. The hardest thing for me to resist was crying, but time with an attorney is expensive, and I needed to be ready with answers to any question I was asked, not waste time weeping. The attorney is not your therapist or confessor, but a legal entity who is there to ensure that you will not find yourself penniless and childless after the ordeal is over. Weep after the meeting, not during.
If you need someone to talk you through this time one-on-one, then find someone who specializes in counseling those going through divorce. Watch yourself, however. You’ve been freshly wounded, and the most natural thing for you to do is attempt to reconnect with someone, anyone. I would suggest finding a therapist not of the opposite sex, and often your friends can walk with you through this. The One who can best help you through this, of course, is always with you, always loves you, always accepts you. Turn to Him, pour out your heart and ask for direction. God is always there for His children.
There are so many more aspects I haven’t covered about the death of a romance. I could write a whole book on the subject, but multiple books have already been written, and I advise you to look for them and read them. Some of the best are written by those who have experienced the loss of divorce, themselves.
Until later, I wish you well, and I wish you healing. It will come. Never forget it always comes.