I remember thinking how scary divorce seemed.
Every time we fought badly enough I would spend at least a few minutes wondering about the possibility of life after a bad marriage. Could I really be happier? Was it even possible for me to find someone again?
Fourteen years and four children felt like a lot of baggage… and so I stayed. It wasn’t all bad, but there was plenty that wasn’t good.
I know now that living in a loveless marriage is in many ways as bad as living in one with other problems.
I’ve had to learn that being alone is ok, but it’s taken some effort and time. Fortunately, there are those who have gone through it before who were willing to share their insights.
Now that I’m a veteran with insights of my own, I hope to offer you some of mine.
What have you really lost?
It’s easy to look at a divorce as a failure. You feel like you lost the game of love. You may begin wondering if it was ever really worth playing.
But honestly, when the love is gone and the hurt is standard, what are you really losing by calling it quits?
You will be out time and effort, and you will be out many, many tears, but you will have gained a new start.
To lose means that you have not accomplished the thing you were working towards. That failure to reach your goal can be extremely disappointing, but no one has ever died from losing.
In fact, some of the greatest success stories have come from those who first fell short of their ultimate goals, then used that failure to motivate them towards a more meaningful victory.
Losing in your marriage is an indication that you have learned how not to do marriage. Now you know better!
“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas Edison
Who are you now?
Divorce is a refiner’s fire. It brings out the mettle in a person. It helps to prove to yourself and anyone else watching that you can overcome hard things.
Like a refiner’s fire, divorce has a tendency to harden our exterior and sometimes make it impenetrable. The best blades are made this very way.
You have a choice, however. Do you wish to become a cold, sharp-edged weapon, or would you prefer to become a taller, stronger, and better version of yourself?
Let the hard things toughen your skin, let it polish you to a new and better shine. You have the potential to use this experience to become more than perhaps even you ever imagined.
What could you become?
One of the most underrated truths about divorce is that you will be so much more experienced and knowledgeable about life and love afterward.
Nobody could possibly understand the realities of all the hardships and challenges divorce will bring. You have to have been through it to really know.
So what will you do with that experience?
You could hold on to the bitter, painful emotions that you have been dealing with, or you could climb atop the rubble of your marriage and stand taller than ever before.
You could be a naysayer, urging others to avoid or escape marriage, or you could be an example and teacher to others who are facing their own marital trials.
You could choose to be the kind of partner you always wanted to be. Better yet, you could become the kind of partner you always hoped you had.
You have the chance to craft whatever story you want with your life moving forward.
Make it a beautiful one!
You don’t have to know all the answers!
Perhaps the biggest secret of divorce is that you don’t have to be good at it.
Nobody is ever really prepared to deal with the ending of the life they have working to build. It’s traumatic, and it’s ok to feel confused and overwhelmed.
No one can possibly expect you to walk through that journey with perfect grace. You shouldn’t expect that either.
Let yourself learn and figure it out. Let yourself feel the freedom of a new start. Let yourself figure out the better version of yourself you wish to become. And finally, let yourself be happy.
One day you will wake up and realize that in spite of all the emotions and fears, you are doing it. You survived, and you are moving on to bigger and better things.
Embrace this for what it is, and accept it for what it could be.
Divorce does not define you, but it could very well develop you.
In spite of everything, you are going to be a better person because of this loss, and that makes you much more of a winner than you ever could have imagined.
In the end, that’s all that really matters.
Divorced Dad, Blogger, and Personal Development, Coach Derick Turner, has been carefully crafting his message of post-divorce hope. He can be followed by subscribing to his blog at DerickTurner.com where he regularly posts content intended to help in Developing Upright Men. Follow his story and insights on Facebook, Twitter, and at The Huffington Post.