Some words combined in a certain syntax have the potential to bring about immediate and powerful emotions. Of course. And the type and degree of emotion that you experience depends on how closely these words touch the events and circumstances in your life.
Sometimes we may perceive them as bad:
They had to let me go. Your son’s been in an accident. I have cancer.
Sometimes we may perceive them as good:
You’re hired. You just won the lottery. Dude, she’s totally got a killer crush on you.
And still other times, well … it depends:
Happy Birthday. You’re pregnant. Today is my ex-wife’s wedding day.
Today is my ex-wife’s wedding day?
Yup. That one is true.
And you may wonder why it’s in the it depends category?
Sure, that’s understandable. If you were to ask me 2 to 20 years ago, or longer, where that sentence should fall I’d have found it very odd, even inconceivable, for it to fall anywhere but in the first, or bad, category.
I’d never imagined, from a personal standpoint, that ”ex-wife” and “wedding” and “today” would ever be hanging out in the same sentence together.
But they are.
And these are words I thought I’d never write because “wife” and ”ex” weren’t ever supposed to find that hyphen.
But they did.
The process was fraught with extraordinary difficulty.
We were going to win at this thing. We weren’t to break up at any cost. We weren’t even to mention it. Which I think is admirable … if it comes from a place of health and compassion and dedication.
But this came from a fear that couldn’t reconcile the existence of divorce due to an unhealthy need to appear perfect and sane, because the opposite was far closer to the truth.
At our deepest point, we had undealt-with issues aplenty. Both of us. We were in self-pity, blaming, enmeshed, distraught and unable to see a way out. We’d tried everything. Literally. Yet we continued to have an unhealthy affect on each other that seemed so deeply entrenched it couldn’t be uncovered.
I used to believe that in most cases divorce was too quickly considered and too easily employed. So like some self-imposed, spiritual giant I would distance myself from any possibility of it by being at the ready to judge and condemn those who would resort to this “easy escape.”
Although “easy escapes” exist, I’ve since learned that not many who crawl through this dark tunnel avoid extraordinary difficulty.
The road out
Issues are brought to the forefront, like being smacked upside the head with a 2 x 4. And I feel we’ve both done, and are doing, our best to deal with them. Because of that we’re both far healthier now than when we were together. I’ve the opportunity to see how she’s grown as we share our 17-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.
Although sadness and anger creep up at times, those feelings are slowly being traded for confidence and courage.
This experience has also provided for me yet another important revelation. I’ve a greater awareness of how I contribute to an unhealthy relationship by focusing on the other to avoid looking at my own shortcomings, or even to grow up.
Add another to the family
Divorce drives a wedge in family. Any contact with extended members is commonly severed. That can be one of its most unexpectedly painful and lasting consequences.
But then sometimes an opportunity opens for someone else to enter the family. I doubt that that’s always good. But, in this case it seems to be because the guy she’s marrying is quite a guy.
My good friend and accountability partner says that I’m gaining a new husband-in-law.
I was aware of the, uh, husband-in-law a couple of years prior to our divorce. We attended some of the same meetings. And even though I’d spoken with him only briefly, I respected him for what he shared. He was likeable.
During this time of becoming … related, he’s seemed comfortable with me. There have been surprising moments when he’s disarmed me. Last Thanksgiving he gave me a big hug. Hey, that’s not right! I’m thinking, we’re not supposed to do that. We’re to be avoiding each other like a couple of wild, territorial animals.
Where I may be more apt to sit back and over-analyze, he bucks the status quo. I appreciate that.
How are you doing with it?
People often ask, “How are you doing with it?” in a tone that implies that there should be something wrong with how I feel about the situation. I understand that. People react to this from their own experience and it’s commonly negative. I don’t blame them as I, too, come to the table with this perspective.
So I’m equally amazed at the ease with which I now write these words.
In general, how this has turned out is far better than I would’ve ever imagined. I’d imagined a very bleak picture. But once I stepped aside and got out of the way of God’s work it’s amazing how He has orchestrated our well-being.
I know that for some that flies in the face of conventional, and biblical, wisdom. And that divorce at any cost is unacceptable. I get that. I believe that any and all resources should be spent in doing all that can be done to avoid it. And I absolutely believe we did.
I saw the road we were going down and saving the health of one or both is critical. Now that we’ve been through this most difficult process, I now feel that both of us are healthier since we took this unexpected and undeniably difficult turn.
I’m thankful that the kids have their mom in their lives. And I’m also thankful that she’s obtained a level of health and well being that enables her to enter a relationship with a man who is worthy of respect and with whom the kids have grown to care for so much.
So now, moving from the it depends category to the perceived as good category is: Today is my ex-wife’s wedding day.
Not that it matters to them or many others, but I’ll say it anyway, just for me.
I’m okay with it.
Wow. Those are a few more words I thought I’d never write. And here are a few more.
I congratulate them and wish them well.