I am a Christian, I have been through a divorce, and last year, I got married to the man who really is the love of my life. I also believe, wholeheartedly, that this new marriage is a gift from God. A blessing. I know that people say God isn’t going to “end your marriage” so He can give you someone else. But in my case, God didn’t end my marriage, I did.
And I think God gets it.
In Matthew 19:6, Jesus says “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” God gets that a marriage is supposed to be the complete merger of two people into one and in my case, that never happened; so, we chose to stop pretending. We were friends, roommates. We were not what actually constitutes a married couple. I was all-in, he admitted later he was just sort of sticking around until I left. I guess I knew that from the beginning. Regardless, that’s not someone who’s all-in with you. He and I were never “one;” we were “two” with a marriage license.
We owned nothing together; never had children. We hardly liked the same things. There was no passion, and hardly any intimacy. And for whatever reason, I was under the impression that that’s what I was supposed to marry. I don’t know why. I guess it was different from all the previous relationships I had. Those were full of passion and lust and co-dependency and craziness. This had none of that. But, like, literally NONE. Not even the good parts. So I guess I figured, since those relationships crashed and burned, that the type that works is supposed to be the opposite. That was so unbelievably incorrect.
Don’t be psycho.
I’m not saying that relationships that work are co-dependent or based solely on passion, but those things need to be there. In a marriage, there is a healthy co-dependence wherein each party discusses things with the other, makes choices with the other, and has a healthy amount of respect for the other’s opinions. Two become one. When you become one, you cannot easily survive without the other half; and it’s supposed to be that way. No, it’s not supposed to be unhealthy and full of threats and “if you leave me, I’ll die” ultimatums. That’s the DSM-level co-dependence. That’s a mutual obsession and it’s not healthy or covenant-based.
Two pieces of different puzzles.
Marriage, however, is a union; two pieces of a puzzle creating a beautiful picture. And that picture should come with things like passion and intimacy, mutual respect, discussion, fights, make-ups, boring old trips to the grocery store, and help to dry the dishes. Marriage should be all those things or it’s not a marriage, it’s a roommate.
I am not without fault, here. More than 10 years ago I married someone I certainly loved, and always will, but not someone with whom I was in love. I just wanted to be married, I think and thought a successful relationship didn’t need passion. That was my fault, and I know that now.
When the time came to plan the wedding, he was so disinterested that I became disinterested. There was no cooing over bouquets or deciding which font to use on the invitations. There was no stressing over the schedule for the day or who would sit where. I pretended this was because I was more interested in the marriage than the wedding.
Why should I care?
The truth was, I knew he didn’t care, so I stopped caring. Yes, the marriage is more important than the wedding, but if we are being honest, I don’t think he was all that excited about the marriage, either. It was what I wanted, not him, and he just went along for the ride. He let me continue forth and gave the impression he was OK with it, but never actually participated. That’s not fair to anyone – neither is not understanding that this wasn’t what a good relationship was supposed to be. But I am human, and so is he.
I won’t go into any more detail about it. I have no hatred or ill will. And I truly believe neither one of us did anything “wrong” or terrible. It just… didn’t work, and that’s the whole of it. My point is that if it was never a marriage to begin with, simply a marriage license, then the dissolution of that license in the form of a divorce isn’t the same as tearing apart two people who were one. It’s simply acknowledging that they never were “that which God has joined together.”
Don’t shake your pom-poms.
Keep in mind that this is not a divorce cheer.
D-I-V-O-R-C-E! IF YOUR MARRIAGE SUCKS, SET YOURSELF FREE!
I’m not an advocate for divorce. Marriage is special to me. I took vows, and they meant something. This is why it took a long time before the divorce occurred. I felt like the marriage was one-sided YEARS before the separation, but I kept plugging along, trying to be a better wife; trying to figure out what would help us. Our separation was almost two years. There were no improvements, no changes. It just… was what it was. So, it was time.
Again, I am not blameless – God knows I am not without fault – but I wanted to feel like I was important enough to fight for, and I never felt that way – not once. So, the end arrived, and I moved forward.
I think we are both better people now – that we helped each other become good spouses for our current partners. There’s something to be said about that kind of learning from our mistakes. Neither of us dragged any of our baggage into our current relationships. Just because our marriage failed doesn’t mean we are failures at marriage. That’s an important distinction. We learned our lessons and applied them – and everyone is stronger and happier for it.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I just want you all to realize that, as Christians, we sometimes place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and our marriages. We also have to remember that we are forgiven, and that forgiveness needs to extend to ourselves, from ourselves, as well. Fight for your marriage. Fight HARD. But if the day comes and you realize it was never a marriage from the start, then forgive yourself, and let it go. Realize that leaving a marriage that never was a full symbiosis isn’t the same as leaving a marriage because you are “bored” or because the person didn’t wash the dishes or buy you gifts.
Let go, give it to God, and move forward. Find the person who wants to fight for the marriage together, with you; who wants to honor God with you in a two-become-one amalgamation.
It’s out there. I have proof. I am now in the most blessed union of souls anyone could imagine. It’s a real, unconditional, 1st Corinthians 13 kind of love that I never thought existed outside of vapid Christian movies on PureFlix. Seek that kind of love and you will find it. Realize that you are deserving of that kind of grace-filled love that comes with a covenant marriage. Once you do, God will send it to you.
Just be patient.
Comment below! Thoughtful, respectful comments are welcome and encouraged.
Full disclosure: this is a rework of a blog I wrote for my personal blog a few years back.