Divorce is a tragedy of the heart. I don’t encourage it and I certainly don’t judge anyone who has had to go through it. Sadly, I have joined those ranks recently myself. No matter the circumstance, it is not fun and no one should have to go through it!
I stand by the opinion that people should do everything they can to make marriage work, but each situation is different and everyone has to come to their own conclusion in their own time. If you are facing divorce, here’s what I want you to know. . . you will grieve.
Denial – As we grapple with what is happening, denial helps us to cope. Facing the possibility of divorce, we are emotionally unprepared for such a loss and our psyche needs a chance to adjust to the loss. You may feel paralyzed, stunned, and walk around in a shocked state for quite a while as your head gets wrapped around the possibility of change.
Confusion – Ongoing interactions with your spouse, both good and bad, create a state of constant confusion. One moment you will have a good moment and have hope that the marriage will work out, the next moment you might have a bad interaction and all hope is lost. This is a gruelingly painful process as we ride the roller coaster of hope and despair, and experiencing painful grief at each turn.
Pressure – The comments from well-meaning friends and family don’t help matters. “Just divorce him!” “Aren’t you divorced yet?” “Have you started dating?” “Ooooh, hurry up and get divorced, I have somebody I want you to meet!” This just adds to the confusion as these flippant comments make us feel like we should be ‘over it’ by now. In truth, the grieving process will take you much longer than you could possibly imagine. The longer you were together, the longer the grieving process will take.
Grief – At some point, however, you have to face all of the loss the divorce brings because you don’t only give up the bad things about the relationship, you also give up the all of the things that brought you pleasure about the relationship. Things like . . .
- time with your children
- a future together
- extended family
- shared history
- a sense of belonging
- your home (for some)
- financial stability (for some)
- identity as a couple
- and much, much more. . .
If you are facing divorce, or perhaps have already endured one, I cannot encourage you enough, to take the time to grieve the losses associated with it. You cannot outrun it. It will hunt you down and chop you off at the knees at the worst possible time if you don’t give it due attention. I promise it will not kill you and it will not last forever. Eventually the grief does fade in frequency and intensity. No matter how you slice it, divorce is a tragedy of the heart. The best gift you can give yourself is to allow your heart to grieve it fully as you grow in a new direction.