Everywhere I look and turn there seems to be couples getting married, having babies, falling out of love, wishing for divorce, remarrying, and the cycle continues. I am divorced. There, I said it, I am divorced.
For the longest time I haven’t been able to say those three words, “I am divorced”. Instead, I have told others that I am single. You know those doctor forms (or any other form) you have to fill out and they ask you to check a box…. Single, Married, Divorced….. Yeah, I always marked the “single” box. I mean, did I really want to admit that I was 26 and divorced? Did I really want to admit to the world that I failed? My marriage failed? My love…..his love…..it failed…..? Did I want to give all the “nay sayers” who told us we were too young to marry satisfaction and prove them “right”? No, I was ashamed. I was humiliated. I was mortified. I was….. divorced.
Being divorced was never in the plan…well, is it ever in the plan? Does anyone really go into marriage thinking, “Well, I surely can’t wait for my divorce party”…? Well, maybe someone out there does, but I sure didn’t. I wanted my husband. Did I show it very much towards the end? Probably not. That’s the thing about losing, we don’t really realize sometimes how much something means to us, until it is no longer ours.
I have learned the importance of being a strong woman. Many believe that to be strong you must be aggressive, overbearing, the “I will put you in your place” kind of mentality. I believe sometimes this might be necessary, but I do not believe it is necessarily the meaning of strength. The dictionary defines strong as “being able to withstand great force or pressure”. I believe being strong is pretty dang difficult. It takes strength to fight the urge to eat the cupcake when trying to lose weight. It takes strength to hold your tongue. It takes strength to speak up and state the truth when you’re so scared, and it takes strength to avoid the attractive forbidden man (or woman) at the office.
Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life says “meekness is not weakness” and that “meekness is strength under control” He states to picture a wild stallion that has been broken and is now tamed. The stallion still has as much power as when he was wild, but now that power is bottled up for the master’s use.
This meekness that Rick Warren describes, or the strength the dictionary describes is not something I practiced as a married woman, nor something I practiced growing up, to be honest, I still have some issues with it….however, when my marriage died I began to learn this strength and this meekness…..no one changes overnight am I right? But as I was married, I was rough and certainly did not keep my strength under control. I was emotional and let those feelings loose….everywhere. Unfortunately, my lack of strength caused pain (myself included).
I have a friend who recently became engaged who asked me, “What would you do different?” When I became engaged, I had many people tell me I was too young to be married, well no offense but I know a lot of “older” people, in their 40’s even who have no business being married, who do not understand that marriage isn’t 50/50 as they say…..it’s actually 100/100.
Give it your all. Marriage is not an age thing, it’s a maturity thing. Call me old-fashioned but yes, I learned through my errors that a woman should respect her husband and a man should love his wife. What would I do differently? I would have zipped my lips when words weren’t necessary, spoken up when they were, stayed calm during uprising situations, said thank you more often, made more meaningful gestures, complimented him, and never would I have threatened divorce during hard times. Ladies, men hurt too….in case you didn’t know it….I sure didn’t.
One of the many things I know and can say now without embarrassment, “I am divorced”. Why? Without my divorce, my loss, my pain, I would not have known or seen the truth. I would not have known who I am meant to be and what it means to be married. I am divorced.
What would I have done differently? Strength.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will sore on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)