Despite being deeply in love and grateful for a wonderful husband and marriage, I’m going to talk about divorce. About being single in my 40s. About loneliness and dating as a divorcee… things I would rather forget, but they are possibly worth sharing.
I remember marveling in my early 20s at how and why people would divorce after 20 years. If you can make it that long… why quit? I also dreamed of my 25th wedding anniversary. That milestone is so romantic and noteworthy.
I divorced about a month shy of my twentieth wedding anniversary. Though I had many great memories in those years, from a marriage perspective, all twenty years were hard. For a long time, I couldn’t even say the word divorce, much less contemplate doing it. Finally, in the privacy of his office, my minister gave me the permission I needed: “Louise, divorce is in the Bible for you.” I don’t want to glorify divorce, so I’ll share details sparingly. My hope is that my personal experiences through some commonalities might help someone else. Whether you are going through divorce, newly single, or know someone who is, I’m offering some perspective for navigating really rough waters.
Worth noting, I never heard from any pulpit (publicly) that leaving marriage is the right choice in some incidences — until a few weeks ago. It made me cry, even though I’ve been remarried almost 4 years. I wish my children could have heard that. I wish those blessed with loving spouses who see divorce as a character flaw and want to give divorcees and their children a politely wide berth could have heard it. I wish those contemplating divorce because they “have grown apart” or “just don’t feel in love anymore” could have heard it. God gives specific grounds. Nothing else is legitimate.
No one has a right to a happy marriage or to leaving one that is not “happy.” He can redeem all things! God does say in the case of infidelity and abandonment, divorce is allowed. I believe abusive behaviors – both physical and verbal abuse – demonstrate clear abandonment of the Biblical covenant. I wish more ministers would boldly speak from the Word of God on this. If more people sought Biblical wisdom, even with the allowances present, I believe less Christians would divorce for unbiblical reasons.
I believe in the sanctity of the marriage covenant. I believed (in my first marriage) that if I loved God and my husband, God would fix my marriage. But it takes three. God continues to shower me with His Grace. Still, divorce hurts children and spouses, even when it is the better choice. The repercussions don’t just end, because the covenant was never meant to. But, there is hope and healing. Our God is a God of redemption!
My divorce was a long and awful process. I have asked for and received God’s forgiveness for my sins involved. It’s all part of my story. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my first marriage. I wouldn’t have my children. I wouldn’t be married to Rob, who is the most amazing person I know. Divorce was ultimately the result of sin — both those of myself and my ex husband.
But God allowed it all and used it for my good! I desperately wanted happily ever after. But through the processes of divorce, being single, remarriage, and blending families, I continue to learn. I have been taught a much deeper dependence, faith, surrender, and trust than I ever understood. I was probably too stubborn, self righteous, naive and self sufficient to grow more like Christ without heartache. I have much more confidence and hope for the future (whatever it holds), because I can look back at God’s incredible tenderness, presence, provision, love, and faithfulness through the tough times I’ve survived and the gifts and blessings He gave along the way.
Not long after my divorce was final, I wrote 5 articles — thoughts to share with those who might be walking the path I just completed. Or even with those who only experience divorce from the outside. It is my hope and prayer that God will use all I have been through to help someone else. To this end, I will share my humble experiences, all categorized under divorce. But I don’t let them define me anymore! 😉 They are just a chapter in a story, all moving toward a more fabulous wedding feast than I could ever imagine!