The end of my second marriage after twenty-five years was even more devastating. But the upside of having been through the previous divorce, gave me valuable insight into following a better path to recovery. Here are twelve things I'm glad I did over a three year period after my divorce.
- I had used much psychic energy trying to save my marriage, and the ending of that effort left a big hole in my life. I understood it might take me a while to adjust to the absence of that burden.
- I cycled between feeling scared and feeling brave, and gave myself a pass for being confused.
- I bought myself silk pajamas. I purchased new sheets, discarding the ones my husband and I had slept on as a couple.
- I took frequent naps and listened to my favorite soothing music.
- I drank Champagne with my dinners and snacked on chocolate.
- I immersed myself in good books while soaking in the tub until the water turned cold.
- Instead of hiding away, I expressed my needs. This made it easier for those who wanted to come along side me know how they could help. For example, one friend showed up to help pack for my move but ended up walking and talking with me instead, because that’s what I needed most at that moment.
- My cousins rallied around me and helped me move.
- Friends called me once a week, invited me to movies, and listened when I needed a compassionate ear.
- I discovered my first counselor didn’t understand my faith and how it affected my struggle with divorce. I was not shy in asking for a referral, and found a second counselor who better fit my needs.
- I took the anti-depressants my new counselor prescribed until I felt more like myself.
- I bought my own place for the first time, making all the necessary decisions myself.
- Upon receiving the keys to my townhouse, I claimed ownership and responsibility for it from top to bottom as I straddled the rafters in the attic and became covered in spider webs and insulation in the crawlspace.
- I tackled household repairs that once were my husband’s purview. Sometimes I laughed at my efforts, such as when I tackled the plumbing of the bathroom sink, and water spewed everywhere.
- I went back to school, which entailed a technical component I would have resisted in my previous life. Although I was intimidated, I was able to conquer the subject, building up confidence.
- Having someone who cared about my physical well-being helped keep me grounded.
- Being physical helped me work out the pain and anger my body had stored for so long.
- As I grew physically more able, confidence in my abilities in other areas increased.
- I wanted to exercise in a fun way.
- I wanted to try something I’d long wanted to do.
- I wanted to socialize in a safe environment.
- Regular appointments with my trainer, everyday walks with my dog, taking dance lessons, and attending Sunday services were helpful.
- Though my appetite was severely compromised, I ate at least a little something at regular mealtimes.
- I’d had enough negativity in my life. It was time to seek out those who could lift me up and were able to receive the same from me.
- Joining the singles group at my new church was a life-line. Many of us could relate to one another’s challenges. I participated in group activities and formed tight friendships with some of the other women.
- In that group, there was always a listening ear as we shared our struggles in understanding what had happened in our marriages.
- We were encouraged to make healthy decisions for ourselves as we worked at moving forward.
- Although I’d been very active in my church before my move and divorce, I realized this was a time for me to be fed. I tested a few churches before I found one that supported its adult single attendees.
- I joined the church choir. It felt good using the talent God gave me.
- I knew I had to heal before I could be ready for a healthy relationship.
- I was lonely and would have loved to have been in a good man’s arms, but I didn’t trust my discernment.
- Rushing into a new relationship would have been a big mistake.
- This turned out to be one of the best decisions I made during my recovery.
Have you gone through a divorce? What tips can you offer readers who are facing the challenge of divorce recovery? I hope you'll share in the comment section below and perhaps help someone else.
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God, the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issue. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.
I advocate for healing of divorced people within the church by gathering stories of Christians who chose divorce because of abuse, and the response of their churches to that decision. (I'm interested in both helpful and hurtful experiences.) I also include those who have divorced because of their spouse's infidelity but have nevertheless been blamed by their church for the divorce.
If you’re interested in having your voice heard by contributing your divorce story in relationship to the church, please email me at LindaMKurthBlog@gmail.com for guidelines. I’ll be happy to help you share your story.
Know that I encourage respectful comments, keeping the blog a safe place to dialog about this subject.