Reason #1: I Don’t Need to Do Anything to Heal from My Divorce OR I Can Do Just a Little Bit to Heal from My Divorce
I hate to break it to you, honey, but healing will not just happen on its own. Again, time itself does not make everything automatically better. In fact, doing nothing can actually make things fester and get worse.
There is a myth floating around in the world that time heals all wounds. That is absolute BS. Nope, it does not.
The formula that works – the not so sexy not super quick formula – goes like this:
Time plus intentional introspection plus GOD = healing & redemption
Let me say that again: Time plus intentional introspection plus GOD = healing & redemption
Even if you’ve done something – read a book, tried counseling, went to a divorce recovery group – odds are, it wasn’t deep enough. Perhaps your heart is just more broken, you were so invested in your marriage, or the divorce came out of nowhere and blindsided you.
The books were good, but you can only read them so many times. Plus, you want to ask questions.
Your counselor was a great gal but she hasn’t been through a divorce. Her advice felt flat and even intangible…You’ll feel better soon. Everything will be okay… Thanks?
Divorce Care was hard to get to because of your kids’ schedules and you missed a few sessions, or it was too sad to be in the same room with other people who are just as sad – or more so – than you are. Plus, there might have been men there, and that was maybe a bit too weird right now.
Reading one book, going to counseling for a month, or hitting half of your DivorceCare meetings is akin to getting a teeth cleaning when you need a root canal. In other words: NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. To the extent that it might not help much at all.
Reason #2: I Have Every Right to Be Angry – My Ex is a Jerk or He Cheated on Me or He Up & Left Me or…
If this is your story, I am so deeply sorry. And yes, OF COURSE, it’s okay to be angry. I’d be concerned if you weren’t! Anger is a completely normal reaction to being hurt in such a personal and deep way.
But perhaps you’re feeding your anger as opposed to digging deeper. Anger is a presenting emotion that is typically masking fear or sadness. When we stay in the place of anger, it can turn into bitterness without our even noticing. But when we do a deep dive and dissect our anger and what’s underneath, we can turn a corner in our healing.
I can look at a woman and tell after a few minutes of talking with her if she’s going to be just fine in a year or if she’s going to still be stuck. In other words, I can tell if a woman is broken and will heal or if she is bitter and will just become an uglier, sadder version of her current self.
One gal stopped at my book table recently and told me that she was no longer angry with her ex-husband for leaving her. That’s great, I said.
And then she went on to tell me that she sometimes follows him as he goes to spend time with his new girlfriend. Ummm, I’m thinking, not a great sign.
And how she has told God to just kill him off now while she’s still on his insurance policy. Oh my lands, you are so not over your ex-husband or your anger, I thought.
The scariest part, perhaps, is that she was saying this loudly, with no shame, while others were gathered around. And, she said all this just moments after telling me DivorceCare wasn’t for her because of all the sob stories.
(Quick tangent: we hurting ones have probably all thought something like this…it’s the living-in-it that is frightening and telling and prophetic.)
This sweet, hurting woman has not allowed God to heal her and transform her pain. And now it is coming out in shards, and she is completely unaware of it. So very sad.
There is a myth, an unspoken allowance, floating around that IT’S OKAY TO BECOME THE CLICHÉ’D BITTER EX-WIFE.
It might be okay in the movies, even funny sometimes. But it’s not okay in real life, especially as a woman who longs to love and follow God. We are better than a cliché. Plus, our kids are watching us, learning how to grow through a crisis and seeing how to manage relationships with difficult people.
Reason #3: I’m Lonely OR I’ll Show Him OR Hair of the Dog, Amirite??
You may think that what you need to assuage your loneliness or the perfect way to hurt your ex-husband right back or the best method to getting over your marriage is to…say it with me…meet someone new. Lord, help us all. NO. For the love of all that is good and pure in this world, though these culturally seem like natural nudges to begin dating, they are actually red flags that you are nowhere near ready and you need to delete the dating apps and run for the hills, for just a while.
Picture this with me…you don’t do the work it takes to heal…you’re sad…you’re feeling super insecure…some random guy asks you out…you fall head over heels for all his charm. Before you know it, he’s meeting your kids, you’re engaged and planning a wedding. You’re now remarried and wait, what? He’s just like you’re first husband?? How did you not see that?? Does that sound ridiculous? I’m here to tell you that I see it all the live long day. This happens all the time.
Who you would choose in your state of neediness is a completely different man from who you would choose from a place of steadiness.
There is a myth floating around that says THE GRASS IS AUTOMATICALLY GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE
…so all you need to do is find yourself a new man and happily ever after awaits you. Umm, no. No, no, no. It’s not about a new man, it is about who you are and your relationship with God, first and foremost. Only then can the idea of a new man even be entertained, for your sake, for his sake and for your children’s sakes.
Now, if you really don’t care how things shake out…if you don’t mind if you stay the same person in a couple years that you are today…if you couldn’t care less if you walk around with a chip on your shoulder…or if you’re just waiting for another man to come in and sweep you off your feet and fix everything…then, yep, you can do nothing to heal from your divorce.
BUT if you want to become both a stronger and softer version of yourself on the other side of your separation or divorce – and believe me when I say that it can happen — I’ve seen it in countless women’s lives that I’ve worked with AND I’ve seen it happen to me…but if you want this – this strength and softness, it will take intention and it will take a roadmap.
Lucky for you, I’ve created a thorough guide that will help you leave behind emotional overwhelm, steer clear of the bitter ex-wife trap, & learn your lessons to avoid repeating any patterns or mistakes.
I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from living in a difficult marriage with abuse and addiction for almost two decades, navigating my own divorce journey, four-year foray into single motherhood, venturing back into the dating world and a remarriage, along with my Psychology degree, my decade of working in women’s and small group ministry, and seven years of coaching hundreds of women through their marriage and divorce struggles, to create a thorough roadmap from your current place of sadness to your desired place of peace and hope.
If this post encouraged you (or challenged you!), you would benefit from some of my other divorce-related resources:
*my podcast – All That to Say: https://anchor.fm/elisabeth-klein
*grab my book, Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage: bit.ly/UnravelingMarriage
*Lies We Tell Ourselves webcast: https://elisabethklein.com/lies-we-tell/
*my 3-month e-course, Heartbreak to Hope (now PAY WHAT YOU CAN): https://bit.ly/Heartbreak-to-Hope-pwyc
*Surviving as a Christian Single Mom: www.elisabethklein.com/books
*Are You Ready to Date quiz: https://elisabethklein.com/partner-quiz/