Question: “My soon-to-be ex-husband keeps hurting me emotionally. How should I respond?”

My answer from my just-divorced years:

This weekend was a tough one. Someone did three things that hurt me. It involved a breaking of an agreement. It involved my children. And they were all done to intentionally cause me pain.

It worked. Each act hurt me. I handled it by crying and by asking a few friends to pray for me.

The next morning, however, I woke up angry. So I cooked up ways in which to retaliate, ration out some justice. A fair trade, if you will. To be super honest, it felt utterly delicious. It felt good to know that I had options, that I was going to dish it right back out. I kinda couldn’t wait.

I went as far as planning how I would do these things and what I would say to my offender. And then I said outloud, to myself, “Christians aren’t supposed to be mean, though, right?” Right.


People who love Jesus should not be intentionally mean to someone.
People who love Jesus should not try to get someone back for being intentionally mean to them.

And again I say, dangit.

In all of the times of being on the receiving end of an intentional meanness in the past couple years, I have yet to intentionally hurt back. What this means is that I have surrendered and laid down and let go, if I had to guess, a thousand things. This was not always the case, I’m sad to say, but it is now.

But these days, this weekend, instead, I took some deep breaths. Instead, I went to church alone (and tried to worship, and tried to listen). Instead, I bought myself a gorgeous bouquet of sunflowers. Instead, I sat outside on a beautiful day and read a really good book and did my best not to let the gift of the day be stolen from me. Instead, I reminded myself that all will be made right someday, and I don’t have to be the one to dole out what’s coming.

So, also, instead, I prayed for my children. And instead, I asked for help to forgive and not be bitter and to let go. And instead, I prayed that my offender would be broken once and for all and find healing. And instead, I prayed a blessing over this person.

Because that’s what people who say they love Jesus do.

If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here,  “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here or Heartbreak to Hope (now PAY WHAT YOU CAN) found here. Also, check out my podcast – All That to Say – with a bunch of episodes on handing relationships better. 


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