Help! I’m Getting Divorced, Now What?
Are you facing a divorce? Perhaps you have finally gotten the courage to leave your abusive spouse. Or, your spouse cheated on you multiple times. Whatever the reason you are in this place, it sucks.
I’ve been there. My divorce took 18 months. The courts gave my abusive ex half-time custody with my kids early on. I was furious and miserable. How could they allow him to have custody after what he had done to me and them?!? We tried court-ordered mediation twice – a complete waste of time. Everything he agreed on in the mediator’s office, he refused to sign when the agreements were written up. I chose to fight for full-decision making, which prolonged getting our divorce settled.
During that awful time, I visited my lawyer’s office one day. My lawyer had an older female receptionist who asked me how I was doing. I can’t remember what I said; I probably gave a long list of why my life was awful at that moment. But I do remember what she said: “It won’t always be this bad, your life will improve.” I thought she was crazy! How could my life ever get better? Every day was worse than the one before. My kids were terribly unhappy, and because they didn’t understand the abuse we had experienced, they blamed me for the divorce. Yuck, I get upset just thinking about that awful time.
The funny thing is . . . my life did get better.
It didn’t happen overnight, and it required a ton of work, but my life has improved 100% since that day.
So, for those of you who are currently going through the pain of divorce, I have some thoughts to share that I pray will bring you hope:
I am so sorry for all you’ve experienced. I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling. Yes, I’ve been divorced, but each person’s situation and pain is unique.
Deciding to divorce was a huge decision, one that perhaps you had no choice in making. Now, you are having to deal with the fallout. This might include:
- Angry, hurt kids,
- Financially providing for yourself and kids,
- Finding a new job, new housing, etc.
- Mixed emotions. If this was your decision, you may be second guessing yourself. “Getting a divorce is too hard, maybe the marriage wasn’t so bad after all . . .”
- Continuing to love the person who constantly hurt you. (See my recent blog on this subject).
Okay, okay, I know. All I’ve done is identify the problem. What are some solutions? Are there any?
Thankfully, yes. There are many things you can do. Sadly, there is no fairy godmother who will wave her magic wand and make everything better. You are going to have to work hard to get your life back. Here are some steps that have helped me and many others:
- Rally people around you to help heal your emotional needs. I highly recommend professional counseling. It saved my life. You may find you are depressed, and want to try some depression medications for a time. That would require you see a doctor or psychiatrist.
- Look for support groups, they can be valuable. Being with others that are struggling in the same way you are is incredibly healing. Many churches have divorce recovery groups. I’ve heard good things about DivorceCare. Kids are welcome.
- Work on your relationship with God. You may find you are furious with Him. Fixing your relationship will require spending time with Him working through your anger. He can take it. He is strong enough.
- Look for a mentor. Many churches have wise and mature members who have a lot of life experience that can help you stay on track.
- Join a bible study. You’d be amazed how much support you can receive from a bible study group. I have had great success with Community Bible Study. They have day and evening classes for men and women.
- Get some legal help. Going through the divorce process itself can be very challenging. If you can afford one, get a good lawyer. You won’t regret it. If you can’t afford one, search for lawyers who work for free or who pro-rate their services. Check out this link for some tips on finding a good DV lawyer.
- Take care of yourself. When life turns upside down, we often neglect the things we need to be healthy, like:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well
- Spending time doing things you enjoy.
I believe the most important thing you can do during a divorce is gather a support network, using whatever pieces you feel you need.
The most important thing NOT to do is begin looking around for another love interest. People who begin dating before they’ve had time to heal often end up in worse marriages. Give yourself and your kids the time you all need for healing.
These are some of my ideas. The list may seem overwhelming. Just try to decide your most urgent need, and get that support first. You can slowly add in the other pieces. Read my book entitled, A Journey to Healing after Emotional Abuse. In it, I describe all these steps in greater detail.
Remember, God loves you and cares for you. Hebrews 13:5 says:
Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
You aren’t alone. God is for you. He has many people ready and willing to help you. You do your part; He will do His.
Question: Have you gone or are you currently going through a divorce? What things have you found to be most helpful to you?
Lord, I pray you help my friends going through divorce feel your presence. Give them the energy they need to go through this difficult time. Help them find the resources they need. Give them your peace please Lord. Amen
Blessings to you dear friends,