One of the hardest decisions of my life was to get a divorce. At some point and time you finally come to the sad realization that you bring out the worse and not the best in your spouse and vice versa. While there were many appropriate reasons for my divorce, airing them out now would only be self-serving. Rather, after 17 years of blissful marriage to my current husband, my tumultuous first marriage of 3 years has long faded in my memory as if it happened to someone else. However the reality of its existence still pops up from time again and is a constant reminder to me of God’s mercy and grace.
Perhaps you are struggling right now with deciding if you need to get a divorce and it should be a struggle. Deciding to break a promise and covenant should not come without challenges, questions, frustrations, guilt, indecisiveness, and doubts. All of those should exist and it is an indication that you are taking the matter seriously. Nonetheless, here you are trying to make the decision. How can you do it? How can you break up the marriage? How can you give up on your spouse? How can you face that person who told you not to get married in the first place?
Separate. It is difficult to see things when you are right in the middle; it is like trying to see the forest through the trees. Take a step back and separate from your spouse for a while to gain more perspective. This should be an agreed upon separation for a period of time to reflect and work on individual issues. This is not a time to blame the other person but rather to recognize your part in how the marriage fell apart. The separation can even occur within the same house as long as you have an agreed upon set of boundaries.
Change. Once you have separated then you can begin the process of changing the things you need to change about yourself. For instance, you may find that you have become a negative paranoid person when you were not like that prior to your marriage. Granted, there may be very good a reason for your negativity or paranoia but this is the time to change the parts of yourself that have grown in an unhealthy manner. Focus on your own change first.
Forgive. Forgiveness is much easier said than done and is definitely not a one-time act. First, you must begin by asking for forgiveness for your own poor choices before you begin to forgive your spouse. Recognizing your need for forgiveness softens your heart and prepares you for the next step of forgiving your spouse. However, forgiving your spouse is not about releasing him from responsibility; rather it is about your ability not to replay the incident over and over again in your mind inciting huge amounts of anxiety to the point of panic. Forgiveness is for your benefit.
Evaluate. After you have completed all of the steps, now it is time to evaluate the state of your marriage and see if divorce is really the right decision. The steps do not need to include your spouse but the process of restoration is far easier if he is a willing participant. If he is not willing, then that decision becomes a factor in your final decision. Weigh your options out more carefully when you decide to break the commitment of marriage than you did when you decided to make the commitment of marriage.
Time. Take your time making the decision looking at it from a spiritual, emotional, physical, legal, and mental aspect carefully weighing the impact it will have on the people around you especially if children are involved. Resist the temptation to just get it over with and take your time. Pray, ask for guidance, read, and talk to trusted family and friends. Sometimes there really is no perfect solution, only the best out of several bad options. Once you have made the final decision however, do not drag things out longer than needed. This will only cause more pain for you and the people around you.
Hope. Beautiful things can come out of the ashes of shattered dreams. Whatever your situation, divorce does not need to define you as a person or change you into someone you wish you had not become. Instead, use your divorce as a fresh start and a chance to do things better the next time. Don’t be afraid to set new standards and hope for a better relationship the next time.
Deciding to divorce your spouse is a tough decision and should not be taken lightly as it will become one of the hardest decisions you will have to make. Sometimes you are not in control of the decision as your spouse has already decided it for you. But when you are, take a step back and choose wisely.
Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort. If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment. Or you can send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.