Divorce is Never the Answer {written by the divorced}

Girl contemplating life overlooking water.jpg

I need to write this. I won’t lie - I’ve been hearing from too many people who are considering this route.

To be real honest, I’ve wondered if there’s been any part of my journey that has made divorce look like ‘the answer’. Today, I’d like to tell you firsthand that it is not.

Answer = Solution = Solved Problem. Divorce does not solve problems, it only creates a different set. To give a disclaimer here, I also do not believe that people should stay in abusive marriages, or where one spouse is actively being unfaithful with someone else. I also don’t think that divorce is the ‘answer’ in these situations though. Sometimes separation can be beneficial to sort things out, and sometimes divorce is the best option if a release for the purpose of health or safety is needed.

Disclaimer #2: I will not judge anyone who has been or will get divorced. To do so would be beyond hypocritical - as I have been divorced.

That being said, I am going to speak strongly here because I feel strongly.

Marriage is tough. It is SO tough. Two different people with different individual issues coming together hoping that the other person will fulfill a piece of them and make their life better.

The reality? That person actually brings all your issues to the surface where you can no longer ignore them. To boot, words can be used without much thought of the effect of them and unintentionally cause a sense of shame to rise up. Shame, more often than not, results in us closing off and isolating making us feel more alone than usual.

So, marriage = ugliness showing = shame = loneliness. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, if not caught, the hole gets dug very very deep until it’s nearly impossible to get out of it yourself. Meanwhile, your spouse is in a separate hole that was dug and you two have a massive mound of shit - er, I mean stuff - piled between you. The most frustrating part is that both parties feel very strongly that the other person should have to do the work to come into their hole.

Do you have the picture now? Two people in the bottom of craters separated by a massive mountain, arms folded, pouting - immovable?

This is where conversations are halted. The attempts to share ‘I feel lonely’ or ‘I feel unloved’ seem to be useless and wasted breath at this point. Neither party has any more answers or energy to try. Communication is fully broken.

Enter: counselling (hopefully)

This can go a few ways depending on the counsellor and the level of pride of each party. It can cause some eye rolling and thoughts of ‘it’s useless - we’ve tried to talk. It doesn’t work...’

Or, my prayer is, that it helps you at least start to 1) see the other person’s perspective and 2) looking introspectively at yourself and the things you need to deal with on your own. This is an ugly process, I won’t lie. It is, however, the starting point to dealing with the mound of sh...stuff and finding your way back to each other.

If the latter doesn’t happen, typically divorce is thrown into the options. So you enter the messy process of deciding who gets what, lawyers, finances, court dates and the worst: facing all those awkward ‘Where’s your husband/wife?’ questions at family gatherings for the next year.

After that, an emotional breakdown is bound to occur at some point. Identity crisis, anxiety and depression are all real threats if they haven’t already happened. This is usually the time where, through the battle of this, you start to see all that stuff you had been ignoring in yourself.

When your marriage falls apart, it’s hard not to be humbled. Being humbled means pride is no longer blinding you to your issues. So...here it comes. You deal with it. Hindsight is 20/20. You start to see the things you did wrong or could have done differently. You wonder if things could have been different...because you know moving forward with your new found revelations, they will be.

Guess what? They could have been.

It takes two to tango - but two people could also make big change. Do you have a specific idea of what you want life to look like? Amazing. Your spouse does too. Change can happen, but it requires being introspective and humble willing to hear the other person’s heart having zero filter for offence or pride. Just hear their heart. I promise you, there’s something in there you’ll understand.

Do you see it? Both options result in the same thing. Being humbled and dealing with the crap. One however, costs a bit more money, damage and loss not becoming a solution because nothing gets solved.

The other option, maybe slightly more effort and definitely humbling, but actually attempts to solve the question of ‘How do we make life look like we want it to?’ To forewarn, there will be an immeasurable amount of forgiveness required on both parts...even when you don’t feel forgiveness... you must choose forgiveness.

I don’t intend to make any of this sound easy. But I do want to ask you this: you made a vow. What is your word worth? Is it worth a lot of sweat and shovelling even when you don’t feel like it? It should be, but that requires humility and laying down some things.

It takes two to tango. So there needs to be buy in from both parties. That should, however, have happened on the wedding day. Take some time to remember the things you loved about the person before the shit hit the fan. I promise that person is still in there somewhere.

Yes, I got divorced. That was after attempts at reconciliation on my end and walking a journey with the Lord where He very specifically released me to divorce. It wasn’t the answer though - it was simply a different gruelling path where the healing journey happened alone. I had to learn to start life over after losing everything I had built a life on with him, including a house, a dog and my business. I had to reformat my dreams and plans for the rest of my life.

God has been gracious to me and I have thrived, but it took a number of years of ‘figuring it out’, barely making ends meet, learning who I was, other failed relationships, a LOT of counselling, loneliness and rebuilding in every area. It was not pretty, easy or glamorous but God is good and promises to ‘work all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ {Rom 8:28}

So before you make the decision, just know that divorce is not an answer to your problems.