“People go on living, but just because they have lived ten more years does not mean they have recovered from the hurt.”
–“Second Chances” by Judith Wallerstien
1) It Sucks. Period. I wouldn’t wish divorce on my worst enemy. It impacts everyone, family, friends, coworkers, the community, but undoubtedly does the biggest number on your kids. Kids, especially today, need to see forgiveness and commitment lived out and made an example by their parents more than anything.
2) Divorce does not fix or solve the problem. While some marriages are abusive and need dissolving, most deep-seated issues, the ones that are the real reason for failed relationships and divorce, will only carry onto the next relationship. This goes with any relationship. Years of baggage will only continue to accumulate if it is not dealt with (cleaned out, washed, refolded and rearranged). And, our baggage follows us wherever we go.
3) Bashing and band-aids don’t make it any easier. As angry as you may be, justifying destructive behavior (drinking, partying, hook-ups, etc.) and saying hateful or blaming things about your ex to family and friends, only hurts you, not the other person or your ex. None of this will resolve you of that anger and more importantly, it robs you of being emotionally available for your kids. Instead, do what feels right, not what feels good.
4) You can never change anyone else. And, if you think the other person needs changing, there’s most definitely something that needs to change in you. We have to WANT to change to make something happen. BE the change. Don’t expect it to happen in someone else.
5) It was the biggest regret of my life. It was the epitome of feeling like a failure. My ideas of being inadequate and undeserving came to complete reality the day I walked out of the courthouse. But not fully. That happened that evening when I came home to our kids and was officially their single-mom.
6) I never stopped loving my ex. It didn’t matter that we were so very angry with each other and that he wanted to live one way while I tried to make us live another. He was my best friend, the father of my children and I still wanted to go to bed with him at night and wake up with him in the morning. No one would ever fill his spot. No one. There were replacements but I could never really love another.
7) It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to follow the lies of society. Take care of number one. Sometimes you just fall out of love. We just grew apart. He’ll never change. She’ll never be satisfied. These are all lies that our society wants us to believe and buy into, to just get the divorce because it’s over. But it’s just not the truth. Committing to one another and acknowledging the issues that are causing separation can lead to healing and deeper intimacy for you individually and your marriage.
8) Counseling does work. This was THE best thing I ever did. When you commit to buckling up and settling in to what can seem like a very, very long journey (not just a couple of months, but years), a wise and trusting counselor will gently encourage you to encounter difficult issues while addressing those very things I never wanted to look at or frankly forgot that were even there but made themselves present regularly. They just came up in ways I couldn’t recognize. This very acceptance and acknowledgement led to getting to the place in my life I had so longed to be in – emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.
9) There’s a lot of truth in old-fashion family values. Men are in need of respect from their wives. Women need to feel love from their husbands. Why is there so much disarray in these two fundamental needs? Respect the groom for his desire and efforts to provide for the family and he will in turn love, honor and cherish his bride for her beauty, guidance and intuitive support. This is what our kids longed to see from us. I only wish I had seen it from their view.
10) Reconciliation and forgiveness can and does result in remarrying – your ex. I learned how to forgive and so did he. We defied the odds that had been stacked against us for so long. We learned how to fall in love all over again and with deeper intimacy and connection than we ever dreamed possible. We crawled through a lot of muck to get there, but we did it together. And knowing that when we tell each other we’re not going anywhere and that we’re on each other’s side, we remind ourselves over and over that when hope prevails, love never fails. I learned, we learned, along with our kids, how to live “Better Now!”