Dear Almost Divorced,
I’m sorry. If no one else says that to you let me be the first. In fact, pretend I am hugging you tight and saying “I’m sorry” over and over again. *tears* And yes, I would be crying along with you. In fact, I’m crying just thinking about you. Yes, you. I’m crying with you because I know the journey ahead. I’ve been there and I know all the grief crashing down on you. It’s dark and heavy and your heart literally hurts. A broken heart? Yes, it’s true. But keep in mind that you are not alone.
Unfortunately, you have found yourself in this spot because of the decisions of the one you love(d). Most likely you still love him/her. Someone who stepped out of the marriage covenant and decided to walk away. Or possibly you were the one to file for a divorce… not because you wanted to, but because to step out of the dance was the only way to stop encouraging unhealthy behavior. Extremely hard decision, I know. But remember, this is his/her “stuff”, not yours, although I’m sure it feels extremely personal… it’s not. You are not in this position because you somehow failed at being a wife or a husband. You are in this position because of something far out of your control. In fact, you probably tried to control it but it can’t be controlled. Again, it’s not about you. That’s not to say you didn’t do things you wish you hadn’t or said some things you wish you could take back. You’re human. You were surviving the best you knew how, even if some of it wasn’t the healthiest of choices.
Please know that God has not forgotten you. You are the apple of his eye. He adores you – married, single or divorced. I promise. And the enemy will try to make you think you’re stupid for believing in your marriage. It’s a LIE and tell him to SHUT IT. You’ll have to tell him that LOTS because he’ll use every single insecurity to try and destroy you. So memorize some powerful scripture and use it when those thoughts come. Write them on your bathroom mirror, on the reminders on your phone, in the car, on the frig or anywhere else you look every day. They will be your life-line.
You also need to know that your friends and family will most likely not know how to handle the fact that divorce is in your future. There may be awkward messages filled with cliches sent via email, FB, twitter or in person. But here’s the deal. They love you or they wouldn’t risk saying anything. Some things they say may make you mad. It’s OK. Again, they love you. Some things will not be helpful and may even hurt you. It’s OK to tell them what you need and to draw boundaries. Don’t know what a boundary is? Read a few books from Henry Cloud and John Townsend and they’ll point you in the direction of getting some.
You will soon discover who your friends truly are – whether they be family or not. The ones that let you say what you need to say as often as you need to say them are the ones you need. Don’t hold back talking to them. Getting all those thoughts and feelings out really will help you. You will say things that you never thought you’d say. It’s OK. You will think things you never thought you’d think. That’s OK, too. Join a Divorce Recovery or Divorce Care support group. You will not only learn valuable, helpful information, you will also meet some people who will know exactly how you feel. But for heaven’s sake, don’t date! Don’t throw yourself right into a new relationship to try and avoid the feelings of divorcing. You need to get emotionally healthy on your own before having someone in your life. If you don’t get anything else from this, get that.
Divorce is not fair. Nothing about it is fair. In fact, put that word out of your vocabulary for awhile. It will only haunt you. Financially, physically, mentally… none of it is fair.
If you have kids, bless your heart. Having kids in the mix makes everything all the more difficult. Whatever you do, do not put them in the middle of any of it. They will already feel in the middle so do your best to put your game face on when they are around. Laugh with them. Play with them. Try to keep as many things the same as possible for them. Never say anything bad about the other parent in front of them. Never. Be a grown-up and be mature. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll EVER do. Trust me. Your kids will probably blame you. But whatever you do, do not tell them the WHY of what happened. They are too young to understand. If they happen to know due to circumstances beyond your control, then do your best not to discuss details with them. This is not about you. This is not about your ex spouse. This is about the health of your children.
Forgive as quickly as you possibly can. You will go through all the grieving emotions… just like a death. Actually, it is a death but worse. (Well, that’s just my opinion.) Worse, because you will see the other person so there’s never really any closure. But forgiveness will keep you from becoming bitter. You don’t want to be the one 15 years from now STILL talking negatively about your ex-spouse. That is not healthy for you. That is not healthy for those you love. Ask God to help you get to a place of forgiveness. I promise he’ll help you because he’s the one that commands us to forgive. So do the hard work it takes. It will be painful but oh so worth it. *hugs*
Do not publicly bash your soon-to-be ex. No matter what he/she did, it only makes you look crazy and sad. Hang on to your dignity and refrain from saying negative things in public. You will have friends you can be honest with, but FaceBook and Twitter are not counselors and saying negative things publicly will not make you feel better.
Divorce is not a one-time thing. You don’t get divorced and suddenly the sun shines, the flowers bloom and someone plays a harp while you dance through a meadow with a big, happy smile on your face. Divorce hurts more than once. It hurts every.single.day. Unfortunately, it will continue to hurt because you loved with all your heart and gave it all you had. You risked it all. There’s nothing wrong with that. Good for you for taking that risk so don’t close off your heart thinking you can somehow protect yourself.
But the good news is this… God can redeem ANYTHING. He can give you a renewed sense of your place on the earth. He is doing things “in the background” that you cannot see but I promise it is for your ultimate good. For his ultimate glory. Hang on to knowing he adores you. He has a plan for you.
You will get stronger with each day. The first year will all be a blur so make sure you ask your friends for help. That first year is just too hard to go it alone. Keep a journal of every time you see God providing for you. Take it out and read it on your bad days. You’ll need the reminder. And remember to be kind to yourself. Do something nice for yourself every week. This will help you survive.
Hang in there, sweet friend. Divorce is the end of a marriage but NOT the end of your life. You are AMAZING and God will do abundantly MORE than you ask. You will become stronger than you ever thought possible and do things you never realized you could do. Find new hobbies, meet new people, connect with a church, and serve others. Believe it or not, serving others is actually the way out of all the darkness you probably feel right now.
Love from one who’s walking in front of you,
PS Goodness that was LONG. If something here helped you then make sure to thank God for that. He woke me up at 3am to write this JUST FOR YOU. He loves you THAT MUCH.