It was on Christmas morning that the family gathered around the tree, and the kids were excited in opening gifts. They were laughing and enjoying one another. The parents looked on with gladness to see their children happy. Then Deidra said to Robert, "I have a special gift for you." She went to the tree and took an envelope from it and handed it to Robert. Inside was note of filing for divorce.
Their marriage had not been that stormy and there were no indications that there was that much unhappiness. It seems cruel and sinister to choose such an important holiday for the family to announce to a spouse that a divorce is in the making. Strangely enough, several people have shared their experiences about Christmas eve or Christmas day being the day of announcement. One woman commented: "We were on the way to our family for the Christmas holiday and he told me. I could not believe it." What a nightmare!
In interviewing people who have found themselves in his heart wrenching situation, a number of ideas came forth that may be helpful for getting through a divorce.
you need objective help. This begins with your
lawyer. Your heart is breaking and you would rather
but you need someone who will protect your interests.
You may feel like giving up everything, but that is
You need someone who will think objectively about your interests. It
cost you money, but it is money well spent.
At the same time, you need someone who will give you some financial counsel. If you are a woman, the chances are you have not been interested in finances. You may not have balanced the check book, but now you have to. You will need a budget, knowledge of your financial resources, information on retirement, and a good financial counselor can help you think of all the things needed. The phone must be changed so you are not paying for calls that are not yours.. The mail must be changed. A joint account at the bank must be checked immediately so you are not without funds. Credit cards must be dealt with so you are not getting bills for the former spouse's purchases.
You need a spiritual advisor. Drawing on the strength that God gives is important. Lots of experiences in life come uninvited, and divorce may be one of them. A spiritual advisor can give help in reading comforting passages of Scripture and recommend good books to read during this time.
One person recommended: Rebuilding by Bruce Fisher, and How To survive the loss of a love, by Colgrove. Others are listed below.
Second, your family may be a great help if they are close by, otherwise, you may have lots of long distance calls. Family members can help in visiting the lawyer with you, asking questions you may not have considered, being there for a shoulder to cry on.
support groups are vital for survival. No one knows
you are going through
like a fellow sufferer. Support groups like Transitions, or The Beginning Experience give help, counsel, and therapy just by being there.
Support groups often have activities that single people can enjoy in a group. Many singles feel that they are outsiders now to married couples. Some deliberately stayed away from married couples. Others feel the awkwardness of their position, but don't like being left out. One person described her experience of going to a support group. She didn't want to laugh or even eat. But she sat there listening, and took a small bite of pizza, listened more, took another bite, and before she knew it, she had eaten a whole piece of pizza, and was delighted with it.
Fourth, journaling....putting your thoughts down, describing your feelings, the sense of betrayal, the lost of trust, the suspicion about people in general, can be healing and therapeutic. This is like the angry letter you write to someone and then tear it up.
Fifth, humor. You don't feel like laughing. But seeking out humorous movies helps one to laugh. Laughing and crying helps to get the endorphins working in your body and healing begins its work.
take care of yourself physically. This means eating
Some lose weight and others gain weight. Gaining may be due
overeating to fill up the void within, or foods that one
not ordinarily eat, junk foods, that cause one to gain
The lack of exercise also relates to this.
Exercise is important for physical well-being, and that in turn relates to mental well-being.
Seventh, Don't be quick to rush into a new relationship. You are vulnerable. You may react against the opposite sex with distrust and be very negative toward them.
Eighth, if you are so emotionally disturbed that you can't function well, you may need to consult with your physician about the possible use of an anti-anxiety drug, or anti-depressant for a while. You have experienced shock, perhaps denial, disbelief, along with loss of self-esteem, and self condemnation. Sleepless nights take their toll on you and they in turn lower your emotions so that a cycle is set up which must be broken. You need sleep!
Ninth, realize that healing is going to take time. There is grief, and grief takes time to process. It cannot be speeded up.
If you have children, don't turn them against their father.
This may backfire on you.
The children have the right to see their father under good circumstances.
Eleventh, let's assume you did not have any real divorceable faults. Now you find yourself divorced. The anger, hurt, and shock is still there. Now comes the hard part. You have to forgive even though your spouse has never asked for it. You have to forgive for your sake, not theirs. Forgiveness is part of God's way of healing you. You may have to come to the point of praying as Corrie ten Boom did after encountering a former guard of the concentration camp she was in. It was in Munich that she spoke in a church and the former SS man came up to her and said, "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away." His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive. I tried to smile, I struggled to raised my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness."
As I took his hand the most
thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a
seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for
stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it
is not on our forgiveness anymore than on our goodness that the
healing hinges, but on His."
You may never encounter your spouse in the way Corrie met this person, but there must be forgiveness for your sake, for getting beyond the bitterness of the experience.
The Healing Site