How do you think about your ex in divorce? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Had we lasted, yesterday would have been our 12th anniversary. As I have said, I think about this every day. Divorce leaves a big hole in your life and intense pain. Some have said divorce is worse than death, and it makes sense because divorce is a kind of murder in a sense. If the two become one flesh, then what happens if one of the two leaves? It is as if a person, the unified two, has died. Being widowed is a natural death. Being divorced wrongfully would be like murder in that sense.
So how do you handle it? What happens when you think about them, as you inevitably will?
I have a therapist that I talk to on a weekly basis and some time every week he will ask me if I have heard anything about her. We will talk some about how we think she’s doing and our hopes for her.
It is easy to be angry at what she did. I could even easily say that is justified. I was wronged and I was accused of something horrible that there is no basis for. However, I must remember that anger is towards the actions. It is not towards her.
You could say I could be angry at her, and no doubt, I sometimes am, but what good does it do me? I do in some sense know I want some justice. I want it to be shown sometime that I am innocent, but at the same time, I am careful about even that. It can be easy to think about standing before the throne and hearing that I was wronged, but at the same time, I hesitate to think about that because I wonder about judgment on her.
Habakkuk prayed that in wrath, remember mercy.
I honestly pray every night for my ex. I pray for her blessing in life and for her to find joy. I pray for God to become a great reality to her. I don’t want ill for her and any time I see that rising up in me, I give it to the Lord. I realize that temptation is there, but I am not God and I know I have my own sins to be accounted for.
Keep in mind I am not claiming I was a perfect husband, but I will deny that I was an abusive one. To this day, when people tell me that I loved her intensely, I always remind them that it’s not past tense. If anything, it’s a powerful reminder of the love of God.
How can you have love towards someone who has hurt you more than anyone else ever has and wronged you more than anyone else ever has? The same way that God does towards us. (No. I am not claiming we hurt God, but it is analogous.) If God loves me despite everything I have done, then how can I not show love towards her? I can’t do that in in-person actions of course, but I can in my own attitude towards her. I can watch how I speak about her to others.
One thing I have stressed repeatedly is the last thing I want someone to do is to go after her. If anyone does that, they are not doing me any favors. You don’t make things better for me by hurting her.
I also have at the same time refused to let her rejection of me control my life. It hurts and it hurts every single day, but I choose to get up and live and not stay defeated. Sure, I notice some changes, like I am more hesitant to trust people and rejection stings all the more now, but that is stuff that I have to work on myself.
I also realize some of you will struggle much more with this. Some of you have exes who did a much more serious wrong to you than mine did. Some of you have children who might have suffered at the hands of an ex and some of you might need restraining orders even against exes. I am not claiming it is easy. I am saying that holding on to hostility won’t make it better.
The focus I have now is realizing that God forgives me and loves me so I ought to have that mindset towards others. It does no good to hold on to pain and hurt towards another. That can require a lot of time and therapy to get there, but I think if we are working on that, God honors the process and knows our goal.
I have no reason to delight in the thought of her suffering. That would show nothing about her, but it would show a lot about me. She is someone Jesus Christ loves and died for and I should try to treat her in my own heart the same way.
It’s a struggle and I do seek your prayers in this as I work on it more and more and recover more and more from what has happened.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)