Crazy, right? No one wants to spend time “grieving”. What’s that?? Why?? Sounds depressing…. and you’re probably already depressed!
But you should grieve, whatever that means to you. Cry! Scream! Let it out. All the pent-up emotions that you’ve been holding back…let them out.
If you want to recover from divorce and heal, you need to grieve the death of your marriage.
Grieving is on the path to healing.
Many studies rank divorce as one of the most painful experiences a person can go through, possibly more painful than the death of a loved one because divorce lacks closure….it’s like mourning the “living dead”. It would be unnatural not to grieve.
You have to deal with the pain in order to RECOVER from divorce and HEAL.
You’ve lost something…… something valuable…. at least to you. Even if yours was a bad marriage from the start, you entered into that relationship with a different set of expectations.
If you thought you and your ex had a solid marriage, then the pain cuts even deeper. You’ve lost many things……. a dream, a vision, plans for the future, a helpmate, your partner, your closest friend, your lover, family, friends, family traditions. Maybe you lost your home, property, finances…maybe your plan for early retirement just went “poof”.
“ the lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18 (New Living Translation Bible)
You lost the person you came home to tell about your day, the one who remembered your birthday each year, the person you snuggled up with in bed at night. No matter how it ended, you lost something that didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped.
Maybe you found out that it was all a lie, that your “perfect marriage” was a house on sinking sand. Still, you lost your reality. Your trust has been broken and you will probably never again be as naive and trusting as you once were. Pretending that nothing happened, pasting on that fake smile and going on with an unusually high-pitched “oh, I’m fine! really!”, won’t work. Not for long.
“to everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance” Ecclesiates 3:1,4
I’m not asking you to have a pity party, that’s not very helpful. What I’m suggesting is that you take the time to acknowledge what happened, and to accept it.
Grieving is part of accepting that this really happened.
Your marriage has really ended. You’re now single-again. Maybe you’re now a young or middle-aged single mum. Yes. You. Now you have to check the dreaded divorced box on forms at the clinic, at church, they seem to ask everywhere… Why do they even need to know? you wonder… Sigh.
As you may know, I have also walked the road to recovery from divorce trauma. I don’t know how long it takes to be completely healed, but I know that it takes time. I also find that just when you think you’re completely healed, something happens that let’s you know you’re not there yet…
I had to accept the fact that my marriage had really ended and I had become a single mum. Allowing myself to grieve the death of my marriage was one of the things that really helped me as I began to pick up the pieces of my life that felt shattered beyond repair.
Here are some steps that I walked through in order to recover from divorce. I’m hoping that these steps also help you accept what has happened and grieve the loss so that you can recover and heal:
List the things you lost through the divorce.
Write down the material possessions, relationships, plans, family traditions and all other things that you no longer have as a result of your divorce. Be as detailed as possible. Identify as many losses as you can.
Acknowledge how loosing them makes you feel.
Are you angry? Sad? Allow yourself to feel. You can choose to brush your feelings “under the carpet”, but unfortunately, that won’t make them disappear. You are deeply hurt because you loved deeply. There’s no shame in that…you were supposed to love the one you made a covenant with before God. The fact that you suffered rejection, abuse, adultery or whatever brought you to this point doesn’t invalidate the love that you gave. Allow yourself to “feel what you feel”.
Accept the fact that your marriage is over.
This is a tricky one, as some women sincerely desire to be reconciled with their ex-husbands and hold onto that hope for many years. Even after their ex husband remarries and settles into a new life with another, some women continue to wait and hope. I can’t say that I personally understand this, but I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to talk a woman out of what she feels is right for her particular situation.
However, if you have no desire for reconciliation and want to recover from divorce, heal from the trauma and move on with your life, you have to accept that the marriage has ended. Once you accept this, you can begin to look forward to the future God has for you. I am not referring to another romantic relationship. If you desire that, give it time (future post alert). I’m talking about becoming an independent woman, who is confident in who she is in Christ and doesn’t need anyone to complete her because she is already complete.
“So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” Colossians 2:10, New Living Translation Bible
Consciously release the things on your list.
Let them go! This could be figuratively by tearing up your list or mentally. It may mean physically throwing away or giving away things that are part of the love you once had. However you need to, let those things go. They are no longer part of your life….let them go. If you’re not ready, that’s ok. But at some point, if you are serious about healing, you will need to let go of things that represent “that which once was but no longer is”.
As the days and months go by, you may remember things that you didn’t include the first time. Add them to the list and repeat the process.
You will feel better, more in control and less at the mercy of this roller-coaster experience as you begin to accept your losses. You will also begin to look forward to the “new”.
Develop new family traditions and build new memories with your children. Look on the bright side! Your home can be a sanctuary, where you and your children can freely enjoy each other. You have a valuable opportunity to build the life you really want! So make sure you don’t subvert the process, allow yourself to grieve so you can recover from divorce, heal and look forward to a better tomorrow!
P.S. If you are walking through your own healing journey, share the things that you’re doing. I would love to hear from you, questions, comments, all welcome! drop a note below!