Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
These verses from the famous “Love chapter” of 1 Corinthian’s makes a great point through Paul’s stringing together of 15 Greek verbs to define what love is and there is not one single emotion or feeling listed among them, though emotions and feelings are certainly a wonderful part of being in love. Paul here is stating what love does and when someone says they don’t love someone anymore it means they have quit doing what love does because this kind of love, according the the word of God, never fails. This is important to understand because it is essential to moving forward after a divorce and fending off the unending replays in your mind of what you could have done differently to keep your mate from cheating or leaving. You must first come to grips with the fact that love can be expressed in spite of how someone feels and, again, there is never any justifiable reason for cheating or ending a marriage just because of feelings.
The trauma of divorce is not unlike the death of a loved one, time stops, emotions take over and questions and feelings begin to rule the mind. This is normal and natural and also reminds us that a future transitioning from wounded to scarred is required as life is not going to pause and the world will move on even though a great trauma has occurred in your life. Make no mistake however, God sees and knows the pain you are going through and it matters to Him. He knows the pain of divorce and this is why He described it as an act of violence that tears at ones soul and creates wounds so deep, that it scars the victims for life.
For some who have had divorce forced upon them this act of violence is going to change everything for them. A double income household will have created at least one single income household, someone may be thrust back into the workforce and often times a wife who has been a faithful homemaker and mother finds herself looking for a job to make ends meet. A person who has experienced the trauma of a cheating spouse will want to crawl into a proverbial hole and hide from life and the world with a heart so racked with pain and disillusionment they don’t know how they can even go on let alone have hope, joy and peace restored to their lives. Divorce is not something to treated flippantly or even like a societal norm, it hurts people, it often wounds the innocent and unaware, it impacts children, it breaks hearts, it damages people and culture.
I want to address a few things here for those who have suffered the violence of divorce as a Christian. One of them being to remember that you have an identity in Christ that is separate from marriage and distinct only to you. God has a plan for your individual life regardless of marital status. Embracing that calling and plan will help turn the wound of divorce into the scar of divorce and while there is a season of emotional and mental incapacitation, pain and sorrow, there is still a purpose for your life in God’s economy that you need to pursue and embrace. Remember, every person will give an account someday of what they did with their life as an individual. What they did for God’s kingdom and glory, not just as a wife, husband, mom or dad but as a Christian individual. Divorce does so much to wound a persons soul that this becomes easy to forget and a sense of value can often be denigrated to a sense personal worthlessness. There is also area to be mindful of and that is a state of continual anger that overshadows the desire to serve God and fulfill your role as an individual in His plan. Much like when a person experiences the trauma of losing a loved one there are normal and natural reactions to the trauma. However, if someone fails to progress from the initial stages of grief and move from denial, anger, depression, guilt and yearning to the final stage of grief which is acceptance after some time has passed, then the normal reaction of early grief and trauma has taken over and progress in transition from wound to scar is halted. As it pertains to divorce denial and anger are normal initial responses but you must guard against them becoming dominant life-long prisons that keep you incapacitated and unable to Dance with the Scars of divorce. Divorce is violent, it hurts like few other things in life, it is brutally unfair often and often puts the victim of unfaithfulness into the double jeopardy of having to not only deal with the anger and grief, but also make unwanted adjustments to personal life goals and dreams. This can fuel a perpetual state of anger and must be avoided.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.