Living Again After Divorce
Sixth, do your grieving now. With all losses there are many emotions: hurt, depression, anger, guilt, and grief—all of which need to be understood, faced and resolved so they won't become a permanent pattern. Find a safe person to share your thoughts and feelings with. Don't put walls around your negative feelings because that will block out your positive feelings as well. A vital part of the healing process is to weep and even sob out your grief. As Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."1
Seventh, forgive to be free. It may take a while, but you need to be growing toward forgiveness of your ex-mate. Failing to forgive keeps you bound to the past. As another has said, "Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." We can't rush forgiveness and you will need to work through your hurt and anger before you are able to forgive. But ultimately it is imperative that you forgive if you are going to recover fully. If you don't, you will take your negative emotions into all future close relationships. It also helps to hand your failures over to God and ask his forgiveness for your part in the marriage breakup. Only then can you profit from your difficult experience.
Eighth, let go of the past. I've worked with people who were divorced as long as twenty years ago and were still hanging onto the fantasy that their ex-spouse would return—even though he or she had remarried. You cannot move ahead with your future life until you let go of your past.
Ninth, guard against a rebound. Rushing into another romantic relationship too soon can cause you to avoid dealing with your pain and the causes of your marriage breakup. If you marry too soon, you are almost destined to repeat your past mistakes. You need time to mourn your losses well and begin to grow in a positive direction before you start another intimate relationship.
If you marry too soon, you are almost
destined to repeat your past mistakes.
Tenth, get into a support group. At times of loss none of us can make it alone. We weren't meant to. We need to be connected to safe, supportive, accepting, and non-judgmental people. We were hurt in hurtful relationships and are healed in wholesome, healthy relationships. The Bible says, "God sets the lonely in families."2 He does this through other people and sometimes the closest thing we can get to a healing family is a small support group.
Eleventh, realize that failure is never final and that the only real failure is the failure to learn and grow through our past difficulties.
Twelfth, let God teach you. Any failure, including divorce, can be "God's wakeup call" to show us that we need to make some major changes in our lives. Pray especially that God will show you the truth of what you contributed to your marriage breakup, why you were attracted to the person you married in the first place, and what you can do differently in the future. What we don't resolve we are destined to repeat.
Finally, remember that no matter how difficult your situation, God loves you and wants to make you whole. As his Word says, "Whenever you face trials of many kinds ... you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."3
Be patient with yourself and know that with God's help, time, the support of safe friends, and working through the recovery process you can find healing from your hurt and a greater measure of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness.
1. Matthew 5:4, NIV.
2. Psalm 68:6, NIV.
3. James 1:3-4, NIV.
NOTE: For more in-depth help be sure to read the author's book, How to Mend a Broken Heart, available from http://www.actscom.com/store.
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