I hate the word “divorce.” As a divorced woman, I shy away from using it as much as possible. When I first became divorced, it was ridiculously difficult to even utter the word. I didn’t want that label attached to me. I didn’t want that term to help define who I was as a human, as a woman. It felt like a terrible secret, a scarlet “A”, the mark of Cain. Dirt that I couldn’t wash away. Just stick a sign on me that says “bad at marriage” and shove me out into the world. To me, that was the basic gist of what being divorced meant. Two years ago today, I joined the huge club belonging to divorced people. A club where I never wanted a membership. Who does? The upside of my two year long enrollment is that I have a little perspective and a whole lot of thoughts on the subject. And let’s be honest, we all know by now that I treat my opinions as facts. You’re welcome, cyber space.
Divorce isn’t funny. Society would tell us differently, but there is absolutely nothing funny about divorce. Yet, you can buy all sorts of t-shirts and mugs and novelty items that claim the contrary. There are an uncanny number of memes and hashtags and quotes trying to sell us on the fact that divorce is freakin’ hilarious and putting down your ex-husband or ex-wife is a perfectly natural response to your current situation. Y’all, can we please rise above that? Sure, there are times when I’ve had a glass of wine with Cheyenne and thanked God that my children will never have his nose, but that is a private conversation with the woman who watched me go through hell and crawl my way back. The truth is, divorce is pain. Divorce is tragic. Divorce is uncomfortable…and maybe that’s why we make jokes. Making light of a situation where two people are breaking a covenant they made between themselves and God isn’t appropriate. It isn’t comical. It isn’t meant to be used as entertainment. It’s sad.
Being divorced means I’ve been married. It means I had the courage to devote myself to another human. All of myself. It means I’m capable of a love that is only meant for your spouse. And if I’ve done it once, then I can do it again. Getting married, taking on a lifelong teammate, choosing to put another’s needs above your own…that’s brave. That’s beautiful. That is an act that every divorced person has owned. I know plenty of wonderful people who wouldn’t even have the guts to try. We tried. It didn’t work out, but we tried. For all of you who tried, who were able to stick to your vows, who loved when it was hard to love…pat yourself on the back. You’re bold. You’re daring. You’re strong.
The biggest fact I’ve learned in the past two years, and stay with me here because this is important: Nobody cares. You feel humiliated. You feel failure. You feel guilt. These are feelings you have put upon yourself. And yes, these are feelings that I put on myself. But, in reality, nobody else shamed me. My family stood by me every step of the way. My friends are the most supportive humans on the planet. It’s been a nonissue in my career. My church family prayed for me. Honestly, once it was all said and done, everyone was glad to see him gone. I realize not everyone has had the “easy road” that I had (although I’ve certainly had some shade thrown my way), but it’s important to take stock and own your feelings. Who is making you feel this way? Most likely, it’s you. And that’s fair. But if you’re the one hating on yourself, it’s gonna be a helluva lot harder to heal.
I let myself believe for a long time that I had failed God. I’d made a covenant with him and I’d broken it. I couldn’t save the marriage. I gave up. The important thing to remember is that it was a covenant between three, not two. Him, me, and God. Two of us stood. Two of us tried. Two of us put in the work. And when the moment came, God released me from my marriage. And I’m a better person for it. I still hate the word “divorce”, and I can’t laugh during a stupid sitcom when they make “divorce jokes”..but every day the feeling of shame lessens. Every day I am reminded that even though someone left my life, God has allowed so much pure and selfless love to enter my life. And, because of my divorce, I have the ability to love them back.
Deuteronomy 1: 11 “May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised.”