Even for those who want it, going through divorce is not an easy process. As one who went through a surprise divorce, I believe that the way you handle things during divorce can either help or hurt your divorce recovery.
In the years that have passed since my divorce, I have often thought about how I handled things when I was going through divorce. I’ve pondered on what I could have done differently, as well as what I did that helped me through that season and aided me in the process of divorce recovery. I’ve also mused about what I learned about myself and others through the lens of my divorce.
Going through divorce is complicated
Divorce is typically a traumatic experience. As most people don’t get married planning to get divorced, going through divorce often feels like walking blindfolded. If you didn’t have a period of separation before divorce, the process is likely to be even more confusing and you may have no idea about what to expect in a divorce.
In my case, I didn’t even know how to spell Divorce! Seriously…I had no clue about surviving divorce, what to do after divorce, how to deal with divorce, divorce recovery or any of the other aspects of divorce that I have learned about in the years since my divorce experience.
There are many things to consider when you are going through divorce
So many people in your life are affected when you are going through divorce and there are many things to consider. Every situation is different, so there’s no single “To-Do” list that would fit all cases.
However, I thought I’d share some tips from my personal experience for how to deal with divorce to help others who are going through divorce.
Some of these are things that I wish someone had told me when I was going through it, to help me understand what to expect in a divorce. I hope you find some nuggets to make your divorce recovery easier.
Surviving divorce is possible!
Here are my top 12 tips for getting through divorce and moving forward to divorce recovery (while staying sane).
1) Prioritize your faith.
Set a daily appointment with God. You need this lifeline if you are serious about surviving divorce and coming out of this season whole. Make time every day to sit with God, talk to Him openly, read His word and soak in His healing promises for your bruised soul.
2) Stay connected to your church family.
Don’t let shame and the fear of what people are saying make you into a hermit! Make sure you’re staying connected to your church family and maintaining the regular rhythms of your faith walk.
3) Find a divorce support group.
It was so helpful for me to have a group of people who understood what I was going through and were also grappling with how to deal with divorce. We shared each other’s burdens and prayed together. I looked forward to our weekly meetings and developed friendships that helped me through that difficult time. I attended DivorceCare at a local church near me and I highly recommend it; find a group that works for you.
4) Lean on trusted members of your family and friends.
I hope you have a select few that you are able to let into your situation. Don’t try to do this alone, it’s too hard. You must have a few trusted people that you can unburden to so that you don’t go crazy! Choose carefully and share openly so that they know where you are in your journey and how to pray for and love you through this storm.
5) Cut your loved ones some slack.
I hope that you are surrounded by people who love you and want the best for you. If they say the wrong thing or don’t meet your expectations of care, it’s not because they really don’t care. It may just be that they don’t know what to say or how to respond to the situation.
Here are some other great articles to help you with getting through divorce and on your way to divorce recovery
6) Cut your loved ones some slack.
(Yes, repeat!). You may feel like your life has been turned upside down. But life is “business as usual” for others. They have jobs to do, kids to care for, spouses to cater to…If they aren’t there for you when you thought they would be, it’s not that they don’t care, but life still needs to be lived (for them and for you too!)
7) Hone your identity.
Remember who you are. Yes, you will soon be a divorced single mom and you never thought this would happen…it has. However, this does not change your identity; you are still who you are. Divorce may have rearranged the order of your life but it is not your identity. You are still you – smart, beautiful, loyal, trustworthy, beloved, daughter, mother, God’s own. Don’t let the rejection cause you to begin to doubt your own worth; not everyone can handle your light!
8) Watch your words.
Watch what you say about the divorce to others. Some people don’t need to know the details and some questions are “talk-bait”. It’s ok to say, “ I don’t want to discuss it”. You don’t owe everyone an explanation about what’s going on!
9) Expect change.
Divorce will usher in a lot of change into your life. You may not have chosen this, but it may end up not being such a bad thing after all. The general rhythm of your life, family traditions, plans and many aspects of your family life will be different after your divorce. Your relationships will change. That’s okay too. Some of your friends may feel caught between you and your ex, and the relationship may no longer be easy. It’s okay to let go. The ones that should remain, will remain.
10) Say yes to help.
Actively seek a trusted community to do life with…it’s too hard to walk this road alone. Allow others to help you. When friends offer to watch the kids for some hours, say yes! This is not the time to be superwoman. Take a break and recharge when you can.
11) Be kind to yourself.
Cut yourself some slack. There’s a lot going on in your life right now, a lot of change and uncertainty. It’s okay if you can’t take that high-profile job or start that business right now. Divorce recovery takes time and effort.
12) Watch your self-talk.
Refuse to allow negative emotions like fear and shame overwhelm you. Speak life-giving words over yourself. Ask God for a word for this season and hang on to it for dear life.
My anchor scripture when I was going through divorce, and still one of my favorites is found in the book of Isaiah Chapter 41, verse 10.
‘”Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”
This promise was my lifeline! It often soothed me when it felt like “all hell was breaking loose” around me. Seek the things that bring you peace and avoid anything that rattles you.
I hope that you found something here to help you along. If you are already divorced, what are the things you did that helped you with getting through divorce? What do you wish you had done? If you are going through divorce right now, is this list useful to you? What else are you doing? Are there things that are hindering your divorce recovery that you should stop doing? Share your thoughts below.
Here are some great books that I highly recommend to help you through this season.
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