To start things off, my heart in this is to show people that marriage isn’t something to be thrown away. There are real people that get hurt. Kids get hurt. Family gets hurt. Friends get hurt. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I really want to see marriage as less of a fad, and more mainstream.
WHAT IS MARRIAGE?
Marriage is a unity between two people, a promise before God. A covenant that joins two lives together and two become one. It’s something that this world, including Christians, needs to take more seriously. When you say “I do”, God says “I do too!”. But all too often, we get in the way and don’t let God do his part.
HOW BAD CAN IT BE?
An old friend once told me that the break up with his girlfriend was just as bad as a divorce. Now, I don’t want to minimize anyone’s feelings for a bad break up; feelings are real and should always be accounted for. But marriage just isn’t something you can throw away just to find something new. Through a break up, there is damage that can create baggage that you carry with you, but a divorce is something far deeper than a break up. It is literally ripping “one” apart to make two individuals. The emotional pain is there, but the physical pain is definitely real.
Divorce often robs us of the opportunity to mourn the romantic relationship itself because there is so much practical and logistical hell to contend with at the time of the split.
- Taking care of your children and their feelings.
- Fighting for the parental rights of those children. Often times, both parents are worthy, but only one “wins”, while the children lose.
- Adjusting to a visitation schedule when you are used to seeing your children everyday.
- Adjusting to living alone. Even when your kids are around, feeling alone is very real and depressing.
- Dividing up property that you both invested in. This includes real estate, bank accounts, personal items, etc….
- Lost relationships with mutual friends and in-laws.
- Figuring out how to avoid your credit being damaged, and if it does get damaged, how to fix it.
And the list can go on and on and on……….
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
We often find ourselves yearning for something to fill the “emptiness”. We do our best to heal, but there just always seems to be something, or someone, missing. And then we decide “it’s time” to enter the dating scene. But we are not ready for what’s about to come.
We go out and do our best to have a good time, attend church and hope “the one” crosses our path, we try online dating to learn how to break the ice again, and our friends set us up on “dates”. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this, but how far along are you in your healing process? That’s a trick question. There is NO right answer to that, and I think most people are afraid to admit it.
You may have read all of the self help books you can load up on, attend counseling and groups such as Celebrate Recovery, and really dive in to God’s word to prepare yourself for that next step forward in your life. But the only problem is, most of the time you don’t know where your healing lies until the next unknown crosses your path. It’s kind of like “on the job training”; you just don’t know something until you encounter it, and trust me, there are always new triggers that come from the damage of a divorce.
But that’s where God steps in. God fills that gap that you are missing and guides you through those times. It’s about how much you trust His promises for your life. For the longest time, I was controlling this area of my life and not allowing God to move at all. I just hope you are someone who can recognize this well before I did.
WHAT HAVE I DONE?
Every time a an emotion from my divorce was triggered by something, I often found myself running. I found myself wanting to go in to isolation and assume that that person who triggered the emotion was exactly like the person who caused that damage in the first place. It’s kept me building walls over and over again, no matter how many times God tore them down. It’s kept me over protecting my daughters and losing something good in my life, in fear of them being hurt again. I’ve pushed a lot of people away because of the damage caused and have been afraid to commit to anyone again, no matter how commitment minded I am, that’s who I’ve become.
UNTIL THAT ONE DAY…..
I had finally met someone whom I was able to keep myself from putting up walls for. Someone who caught my attention from the moment she was introduced to me. Someone who literally had me at “hello”. I’m an introvert so conversations for me really have to be worked at. But for this particular lady, conversation was never an issue. Laughter always lit up the room when she was around, and for the FIRST time since my divorce, someone had “WOW’d” me. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. We went to dinner, out on dates, I picked her up at her home and met her kids, and one night I was invited over to hang out with her and her kids, together, for the first time. Now I don’t know how many of you noticed, but I did say “how easy it WAS”.
Meeting her kids seemed to be going well and everyone was having a great time. The kids had made little notes and pictures on their sticky pads to stick to my shirt. Some were funny nicknames, one was mocking my shirt on “how to pick up ‘chicks’ (chickens), while others were just random drawings of them just wanting to interact. Her daughter even made me a bracelet because I gave her flowers for allowing me to take her mom on a date. Her son was a riot and literally had me laughing from the moment we started talking. But she started feeling the anxiety of everything that I have felt. The potential “what if’s” started creeping in. The protective mom came out and she really had to start thinking about what she wanted.
I can’t blame her for having to stop everything in it’s tracks because I have been there. It’s what everyone does, or at least should do at some point. I wasn’t trying to be their dad or step in on taking any time away from their mom, but in reality, those are all things that kids will automatically think when it comes to their parents “moving on”. So she did the only thing a great parent knows how to do, and that is to go in to defense mode and protect her little ones. She called everything off, wanting to slow down (which I’m all for and we definitely needed to do), but it appears that slowing down has officially meant “STOP”. I’m a little disappointed that this had happened to me when I was at a moment of finally feeling free from the walls of divorce surrounding my life. Someone who I wasn’t afraid of being like my ex. Someone who I could see my daughters loving on and being excited about. Someone that had potential of an actual future. But how little do I know in spite of what I already “know”.
I never thought for a moment that someone else’s divorce would put me on the other side of those walls. All of the “what if’s” are a real mind monsters for people, and can keep you in shackles without even knowing it. It happened to me, it’s happened to her, and it can happen to anyone. But because I have placed God first in my life, I can move forward knowing that it is Him that all of this is for. This hurt is for him. This healing is for Him. This testimony IS for Him, and He will use it. Now he’s given me a new “what if” that I am choosing to live by:
“It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ahhh….but what if it does?”
- Peter McWilliams