Divorce, in some ways, is my least favorite topic to write about. Sometimes I wish I could block it all out of my mind. It’s the worst experience God has allowed and redeemed in my life so far. It’s also the season where so much of my spiritual and emotional growth has occurred. I believe God wants me to share all He has taught me through the darkness. If it took what I’ve been through to bring me to where I am — it was all worth it.
My posts around divorce have generated some of the largest responses. Your comments are personally very encouraging to me and an affirmation that maybe God is somehow in this blog. So here’s another “divorce” post where I’ll share from my personal experiences — to His Glory. Everyone’s unique, but many things He taught me through divorce are applicable to anyone.
I’m writing to empathize with others who have been through divorce. To those who want to be a good friend to someone in a bad marriage. Also, to be real and honest about the BIG picture with those who are still married, but think the grass might be greener in other pastures. And even to the single people who are in love and contemplating marriage — be very thoughtful and prayerful before getting caught up in the celebration. The wedding quickly ends, but the marriage is intended to last forever.
In 2003 the inevitable dissolution of my 1st marriage became apparent; some tough years followed. By 2009 when I met Rob, my story had become one of Life, Joy and Love. My love story has a happy ending, in that I am now married to the most wonderful man in the world. We have the kind of relationship I never dreamed could exist, in a totally good way. That’s why I asked my daughter to read Ephesians 3:20 at our wedding. I am often overwhelmed with gratitude for all God has done in me and for me, despite my sins that led to divorce. He walked with me through it all, which gives me a much greater faith moving forward. The words in red above are links to previous posts related to divorce and some things I’ve learned.
Rob and I are building a business and a home together — it’s not always easy. A successful second marriage (or single life for that matter) is not the final chapter of the “Divorce Book.” Even with our happiness, the consequences and pain of divorce continue to creep into our lives, as we muddle through each new stage of life.
Five things I’ve learned about life after divorce. #1 is primarily for those who are divorced, but we’re all touched by divorce in some way. If I had understood these things earlier, the outcome wouldn’t have changed for me. But I would have been better prepared to navigate my own divorce and a better friend to others in theirs.
1. Divorce is NOT who you are. It took a while for me to be able to even say the “D” word out loud; I didn’t see myself as the kind of person who got divorced. Then for a while I totally defined myself as a divorced person — in shame. I was a second rate citizen, a misfit in my own mind. If you can relate, stop the lies now. Repent of the sin that led to divorce. Let God heal you, and live your life a new way!
Following are a few TRUE things God has to say about me (and you) in His Word. God says I am loved. I am favored. I am His child. I am chosen. I belong. I delight Him… We all need to seek truth, what God says about us, and believe that — not the shame filled lies and condemnation.
2. Though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, your life will be good again. I don’t know what your future holds, but I do know, if you seek Him and trust God ruthlessly, He will redeem it all in a way that is perfect for you. Hang on to hope. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you.'” (Jeremiah 29:11) And reread Ephesians 3:20 — it’s true for you too!
3. Divorce will most likely never “go away,” especially if you have children. This is a BIGGIE. Even after 18 (and certainly before) — children deserve parents who love each other. Many details were out of my control, but divorce made me a participant in stealing “family” as it was intended from my kids. I grieve that for them every single day. Children don’t divorce their other parent, even if they can understand the dissolution is all for the best. As co-parents your ex are still somewhat thrown “together.” A few things you may not have considered if you’re contemplating divorce and have children:
- Your children could have “significant others” playing a parent role in their lives – half of whom are totally out of your control.
- Holidays can be wonderful, but there’s an element that is forever tough and broken. Sometimes you might be alone.
- “Blended” family is a misnomer — even in the best of circumstances. A blender combines elements creating something altogether new. In reality, it’s more of a crock pot life. SLOW to evolve, with each individual ingredient maintaining its identity — there’s a lot of heat and steam as things things cook. Each ingredient plays a role, and possibly something wonderful emerges! Sometimes the crock pot just nukes things.
- The other parent will do things you don’t agree with (like they probably did in marriage) and you will probably have LESS chance of discussion and influence.
- Even now with older children — I look ahead and wonder how “family” events will go (where sometimes family is a bunch of people who wish they didn’t remember each other). I know I will need to put my desires and feelings on a back burner to support our children — who didn’t ask for any of this. All part of my daily broken heart.
- When everything familiar is ripped from beneath them, kids have to grow up too fast. No matter how much you try to protect them, divorce prematurely launches children into an adult world. Because they are not developmentally ready for the turbulent waters, children often experience a range of changes: anger, disrespect, loss of relationship, confusion, perfectionism, personality changes, depression, anxiety, fear… Parental emotions and fatigue are heightened. It’s a bad combination, and the adults have to step up to the plate. That said, guilt is a horrible parent — and hard to shake from your parenting tools during and after a divorce. Fight hard for your children’s family to remain intact. And no matter what happens, trust God and believe He will use it all for the good of everyone. (Romans 8:28)
4. God gave Biblical reasons for divorce to protect you, not to limit you. I know this is controversial territory. If you are a believer contemplating divorce, read your Bible and trust Him. Seek Godly counsel. Be sure you and God are together in your decisions. Gotquestions.org can help you get started; “First of all, no matter what view one takes on the issue of divorce, it is important to remember Malachi 2:16: “I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.” According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment… God realizes, though, that since marriages involve two sinful human beings, divorces are going to occur. In the Old Testament, He laid down some laws in order to protect the rights of divorcees, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8).” The flip side: Divorce can be our loving God’s provision of protection for you and your children. Sometimes the preachers fail to say this from the pulpit – for fear they will mislead those who shouldn’t divorce. Whether divorced with or without Biblical grounds, sin was involved. God forgives and redeems those who seek Him — those who love and obey Him.
5. Divorce is a financial downturn- no matter what you’re dividing. While nothing matches the emotional costs of divorce, the monetary repercussions are worth mentioning. Of course there are the obvious: often enormous legal fees, twice the living expenses (once you separate), double purchases to take care of children and the splitting of assets controlled entirely by a legal system that is more of a crap shoot than a justice system. Then there’s the inevitable changes that follow — good ones and bad ones that mean a rebuilding of the infrastructure of life. Instability is expensive. Moving and rebuilding your life costs money that otherwise might have gone to much more rewarding things.
In summary, I hope it’s obvious that despite having been through a divorce, I strongly believe in the covenant of marriage, and God’s teaching around it. I think God hates divorce because it hurts people deeply. In the case of my first marriage, I was also struggling to grow significantly in my faith while remaining in the environment that relationship provided.
A good marriage is one of God’s most amazing gifts to us. My marriage to Rob has taught me so much about God and His love. However, if I hadn’t met Rob, I had arrived at a place where I was okay being single — for one reason. Jesus. Jesus loves me. He is my first love, and He is all I ever needed. God is Bigger than divorce, He is BIGGER than my sins. He loves me and He is GOOD all the time.