Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Confessions of a Christian Divorcee

I assume many that know me might read the title of this and click on the link for some sort of dirt... maybe a tell all of my recent divorce and the terrible path we took to get there...

There will be some insight, but I refuse to let the world in on some of the private matters, because it's none of your business. I refuse to publicly bash my ex, because I do have a daughter to protect, and honestly I don't really bash him privately either. He is the Father of my daughter, and at the end of the day I can be thankful that he loves her and cares for her. But I want to share so that maybe someone else can learn from our mistakes.

We were headed for disaster from the very beginning, we just didn't know it. Or maybe we just didn't want to see it.

To be quite honest, the beginning of our relationship was pure perfection. We had the same goals and future and hopes. We supported each other's dreams and genuinely looked forward to a future together. Then in 2011, we discovered that we were pregnant.

We were in church and doing ministry, but obviously we had our own sins to deal with. I believe that our refusal to deny ourselves and to truly live our lives the way God intended was the beginning of the end.

There are ALOT of things I would change about the past few years... getting pregnant and giving birth to what I believe is the most amazing child on the face of the planet isn't one of them.

But inevitably things changed. We placed ourselves in a position where we were no longer leaders in the Church. Never were we outcast, in fact we were shown ridiculous amounts of love and support from our church. But we both needed to reflect on our mistakes and how to continue in the future. It really seemed as if everything went so smoothly... By the time we had our daughter we were once again serving in ministry.

However we were already in need of repair long before we were married. Our move away from ministry changed us... The very thing that brought us together and defined us was no longer part of us.

I could make lists upon lists of what he did wrong... but I've spent enough of my time dwelling on his mistakes.

I should have seen the red flags. Last week I wrote about how people can change if they want... but you cannot force them to. And that is where I was, forcing this marriage down his throat. You can't make someone love you... You can't make someone grow up. But that didn't stop me from trying.

I've never felt us mentally unstable as I have in the past almost two years. I was literally obsessed and driving myself insane. I was ridiculously unhappy and jealous. I manipulated him, I would pick fights to make myself feel better, I would throw a fit if things didn't go exactly my way... all because I felt I was entitled after his bad decisions. He definitely made mistakes and terrible decisions, but that didn't justify my actions. I literally felt crazy. I was no longer myself. I was completely unhappy.

I would like to say this really began after we were married, but the truth is it began long before. The warning signs were there. I just didn't want to see them. The decisions my ex made after we were married were no different than the ones he made before we said I do... I guess I just expected him to change. I expected something that he wasn't capable of at the time.

I have a terrible habit of falling for the Peter Pans in the world... the boys who never want to grow up. I think I was ready to get married when I was in high school, so I was excited to have my husband and father to my daughter home every night. I think we got married because he knew it would make me happy... thinking that it would be an easy transition from boyfriend and baby daddy to husband and father. It wasn't. Not at all... and I never let him forget it.

I honestly don't know that he ever would have left had we never had that last conversation the day he decided to go... I was determined to make this marriage work no matter how miserable I was. He wasn't ready to change... He wasn't ready to be the husband that I needed. And I knew that... and he knew that... we just didn't want to admit it to ourselves. After all, we were so happy when we first started dating... so ready to conquer the world together.

I discovered he was discussing the possibility of leaving... however it had yet to be discussed with me. I told him to leave if that's what he wanted.... and he did.

We tried over the next couple of months to somehow salvage the mess that we had made... to forgive... to let go... to move on... No matter what avenue I tried... counseling, reading books, being less crazy... nothing changed. We were still unhappy, and he still wasn't ready for the commitment he had made.

If you had told me when I was younger that I would get divorced, I would have called you a dirty liar.

So what can you learn from our mistakes?

1: Run from Sin. When you are in habitual sin, there are most certainly consequences.  I'm not saying that everyone who is caught up in sin is doomed for marital failure, I'm saying that when we knowingly disobey the word of God... we put ourselves in a position for future failure.

2: They won't change. Well they might, it's possible. But chances are, the red flags you see before marriage aren't going to drastically be undone once a ring is on your fingers. If you get married with the expectation that the other person is going to suddenly become super husband or wife, you are already doomed. People change because they want to, not because you force them.

3: You have issues too. I was constantly obsessed with his mistakes and downfalls that I rarely took the time  to see where my own imperfections played a role. After all, it was his bad decisions that made me this way... I pawned it all off on him. It was his fault I was this way... I refused to look at the fact that I had a choice. I blamed my misery on him. But it was my decision not to get up out of my depression... I just didn't realize it at the time.

4: Get help, and fast! We should have started seeing a counselor long before we ever did... even before we were married. But I kept our issues to myself, because I thought I was protecting our family. You should never go and spread all your personal issues to the whole world, but it is very helpful to have an accountability couple that can support your marriage or even start seeing a counselor early on... We were in denial of our issues... I think waiting to get help was one of our biggest mistakes.

5: Divorce isn't the answer. I say that even after I have gone through the process. I believe that if we were faithful, that God would have seen us through. In reality, we should have never gotten married to begin with. But we did, and I would have moved heaven and earth to keep our relationship together... but it takes two people to want to work on a marriage. I couldn't do it on my own.

6: Forgive. I think its one of the biggest things that could have saved our marriage. It's something I couldn't do at the time. I couldn't let the past go.

7: Be Honest. There are a lot of things I was willing to let go of, but lying was one thing that I couldn't. Once you lie to someone, it's difficult if not impossible to gain back that trust. So instead of looking for ways to gain back that trust, I found ways to lie myself. If you can't beat them, join them. But I was wrong... very wrong.

8: Put God first. I really think we had this at the beginning... and somewhere along the way we lost it. Praying together, encouraging each other spiritually, praying for each other, doing ministry together... In the middle of our trials God was definitely not the center.

My marriage has ended, and regardless of the terrible things I have experienced over the past couple years, it still makes me said. I still feel like I failed. I still have those what if's...

Maybe your marriage is falling apart... I home my mistakes can help you find some clarity. I hope you can find a way to mend the broken pieces.

Maybe you have already suffered a divorce. Honestly, I am lucky, ours was quite painless... maybe yours was terrible. God still has a plan for our lives. Our past mistakes don't have to define us. We can still move forward.

Maybe you are dating someone and you know that it isn't a health or godly relationship... and you realize you need to make a change before you say I do... or possibly end that relationship.

I thought I was going to change the world with his hand in mine... but just because I don't have a hand to hold, doesn't meant I can't change the world. I refuse to let this divorce be my defining moment. My dreams haven't changed. My hope for the future remains. Things didn't work out the way I planed, but I believe that God is still in control.

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