Divorce! Honestly, this word sounds like a cuss word, so offensive, and symbolizes one of the biggest of life’s tragedies.
If you have followed me on my writing journey you would never imagine that this is the path I would end up walking. I am a whole divorced mother of two. I say that not because it is my identity but where I have been and I am not ashamed of that because even though it is not the path I would have chosen, I believe that there is a purpose in everything. I will be the first to admit that sometimes I have trouble seeing that.
Through this process, I have tried to keep my head down, be respectful to my family, my ex’s family, and my kids, and believe it or not to my ex as well.
So in that spirit, this is not going to be a man-bashing blog. I love my kids and I want to protect them the best way I can so I will not get into details.
But what I can say without a shadow of a doubt, it needed to happen. It wasn’t something I wanted, even though I chose it. It was a hard choice, one that required many prayers and counsel, and ultimately bravery.
Here are some of the things I learned and continue to learn about marriage and divorce.
Marriage Is Not Hard
Before I got married, I heard a lot of people tell me that marriage is hard. I went into my marriage expecting that things would get hard sometimes and that we can always work passed it. That our faith would help us but I didn’t know what the definition of “hard” was. So when things got hard, I thought this must have been the hard we talked about at marriage counseling so I endured the hard like a good soldier. It felt uncomfortable and offensive and sometimes violated my very basic human rights. But it was the hard I was told, or so I thought. However this hard didn’t get better, it only got worse and worse.
But through counseling, I learned that the hard I was going through wasn’t the normal hard that all marriages go through, this wasn’t something that God would want me to tolerate.
My neighbor at the time, had witnessed so many unfortunate events take place, was married over 50 years before her husband passed away and she told me, “marriage is hard – but not this hard.”
‘Till Death Do Us Apart
I mean, sounds amazing when you say it with your vows, you obviously think that you will grow old together and die and be laid to rest together. When we think ‘till death do us apart, we imagine great love stories such as Mahatma Gandhi and all the couples who hold hands and die together in their sleep.
What we don’t talk about is what happens if the person with who you vowed to spend the rest of your life is the one that causes you to die. A lot of women have died and continue to die at the hands of the person they loved.
Death also, I have learned doesn’t necessarily mean physical death of the body. What if marriage kills you to the point that physical death feels much more like a dream than staying in a marriage so bad you wish to die?
I am not a suicidal person and never was even when I went through the hardest days of my life, I love life. However, I remember praying that God would change my marriage or let me out of it. I remember praying that if “till death do us apart” is the only way out, I asked God to take my life because I couldn’t do it anymore.
What a clear picture of the state of mind I was in, that this to me was like death without dying. But I am here, after many prayers, and countless therapy sessions. I knew it was not God’s will for me to be in a marriage where I wished I were dead. What kind of God would force His children to live like that?
Submission Is Conditional
I used to think that it wasn’t, but I am for it. I believe and still, believe in submitting to your husband as the head of the household. But the type of man God wants us to submit to is the same man who leads his household as God commands him. One that is also willing to lay his life down for you, love and PROTECT you from others and more than anything protect you from himself.
For some of us, our submission to God is conditional when we first come to Him, but after you have been working with the Lord for a while, you will learn that it is not conditional anymore. But we submit to Christ initially because of what He has done for us. He displayed his love for us while we were sinners and died for us. His character has been consistent in displaying qualities of someone we can absolutely trust even when we don’t understand what He is doing. His consistency in His love and leading us, we grow to know ultimately that we will be ok and that He has our best interest at heart which causes us to continue to submit to Him.
The verse says 1. submit to one another, 2. wives submit to your husband as the head of the house, and 3. Husbands love your wife as Christ loves the church…this entire verse should not be divorced from each other. This is what a marriage should be like.
You don’t submit to someone who is intentionally harming you. That is how abusers and slave masters used the bible to manipulate slaves and keep them in bondage.
I am not a relationship guru, obviously. I am an advocate for marriage and would always encourage you to work at it but not if your life is at stake.
Faith Is Not Enough
Faith is a great weapon to have, but in a marriage, this faith has to go both ways. It really does take two. There is something to be said about the scripture that says – Do not be unequally yoked,… we think of this as referring to people who do not believe in God or people who are not in our faith maybe they be
For example, if your fundamental beliefs differ, it will not work out. If you are married to someone who thinks women are subservient to men and cannot be equal partners but you believe you have a purpose other than being a wife – it doesn’t matter how much faith you both have – if you cannot come into an agreement, and one or both of you change your beliefs, then that won’t work.
Faith requires work to actually work. It requires humility and submitting to one another in order to work.