I’ve noticed that it’s human nature to want to disclose the positive things in our lives. Social media has provided a platform for us to do just that. Of course sharing the good things that happen in our lives like graduations, careers, marriages, and children are inevitable but are those the only significant points in our lives?
I’ve learned that some of my biggest blessings were produced in the valleys of my life. I’ve come to understand that people don’t always benefit from the good things that happen in our lives but rather from the depths of our biggest trials which leads me to the purpose of my post: divorce.
I would have never thought that I’d be filing for divorce. Let’s be honest here, typically when people get married, they aren’t anticipating the end of their marriage. I also have to be honest and own that I never imagined being married either. I was different growing up. I wasn’t a girl that fantasized about my future as a wife.
While specific details aren’t important to share, I do want to disclaim that I’m not writing to glorify divorce and make a mockery of marriage. I’m hoping that someone can gain from my story so I created a list to consider before and during marriage.
- Don’t get married young. For some it works but for a larger portion, it doesn’t. According to Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys, over a 40 year period 67 percent of first marriages terminate, the average first marriage that ends in divorce last about 8 years, and the average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old. I got married when I was 22-years-old and my marriage has lasted a little over 8 years. I’m 31 now. I literally became someone’s wife a mere 4 years into my adulthood. I didn’t give myself a chance to graduate from college much less live. I didn’t know who I was and I handled things immaturely. Get to know yourself, gain some experiences, and be wise with who you choose to make a life partner.
- Don’t get married because of a pregnancy. I got married at 22 because I found myself young and pregnant. I think back to being an immature 22-year-old pregnant woman who was vulnerable. Vulnerability caused me to be irrational. I was simply flattered that someone wanted me to be their wife. I didn’t realize that the somebody mattered; that the somebody was tied to the marriage itself. I was going to make a life with my child’s father, what better way to string my life along? Joining a new marriage with a newborn baby adds a layer of stress that is unmatched.
- Pray before you get married. I simply didn’t pray. I didn’t pray and ask God if the marriage was what I should be doing. I didn’t pray and ask if my husband was right for me. I selfishly made a decision with my own objective in mind. I didn’t consider the plans of my Heavenly Father.
- Seek pre-marital counseling. I didn’t. Counseling has gained in popularity but still is an undervalued resource. So much insight is provided when couples pursue counseling before marriage. It helps with clarity, setting goals, establishing compromises, and further secures the relationship before it enters into a marriage.
- Communicate. I know we always hear communication as one of the more prominent keys to a successful marriage but it’s true. Any communication is important but meaningful, honest communication is paramount. If we’re not honest in our communication, the marriage suffocates. Things don’t get better without sound communication.
- Forgiveness. As my marriage ends, I learned that as I journey into the next phase of my life, I have to forgive because if I carry the weight of my past into my future, I’ll continue to be pained, hurt people, and operate in a cycle of dysfunction. Forgiveness during a marriage is just as substantial. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes so be willing to forgive and move on.
- Consider your children (if you have them). They are innocent and they didn’t particularly ask to be present in your mess. So clean it up but keep the best interest of your children in mind because they need both of their parents. My son is the most important person to me in the world, so I had to lay my pride to the side, relax my ego, and forgive because raising him right and helping to usher him into his God-given calling is bigger than the failure of my marriage. Your children will benefit from happy, functioning parents not miserable, bitter ones.
- Keep God first. Everyone says it but they don’t always understand the true meaning. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). The Bible also affirms, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22) The Bible continues, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). I am guilty of reading scripture but not always necessarily applying it. Application is just as important. Remember, “If anyone then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it is sin for them” (James 4:17). It’s way deeper than just being aware of scripture because when we don’t apply it, we risk the demise of our marriages.
For readers who have gone through a divorce or are facing a divorce, please know that there’s still the other side. What I mean is, if God kept you this far, what makes you think He’s going to stop now? Even in our lowliest places, God never leaves us. Even when we mess up over and over, God never leaves us. He’s present. He will be with you as you journey to the other side. Life doesn’t stop. It continues. I encourage you to continue to walk with God and He’ll recover everything that was lost. He’ll restore you. He’s the God of second chances (and 7,549th chances too).
The beauty is you’re still here and He’s not done with you quite yet. God still has a plan uniquely made for you, you just have to wait. Waiting can be hard. Waiting can be the biggest giant we face. Waiting produces patience and it heightens frustrations. The Word says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Just wait and in your waiting still be devoted to God. As my pastor said, “God is a wait watcher.” He sees you and He’s watching. You’re not just waiting for anything but for something divine! What He has for you requires more time because it’s not like anything else that anyone else has, it’s just for you. As stated by Sarah Jakes Roberts, be hungry enough to wait! Sometimes you can’t just accept anything; sometimes you have to pass up some deals, some friendships, and even some relationships out of hunger for what God truly has for you! It’s important not just to wait but to be hungry for the right thing; for the God thing!
As I write to you all, I’m writing to myself. I’m excited about the plans God has for me past divorce! I know greater is coming! Please be encouraged on your journey and God bless!