Monday, December 10, 2007

A Happy Heart & A Contented Soul

I am a woman with a happy heart and a contented soul. I wake each day and my first coherent thought is "dear Lord. Thank you for your mercies. I am happy, healthy and whole." Things are not resolved; in fact, they are still pretty volatile. Finances are increasingly strained and our obligations weigh heavily on us. We like most married couples have what have what I call "dual income debt."-this means that 2 incomes and a single household are required to effectively service the debt. What stress! Still faith and hardwork will prevail.

It is not inconceivable to me that my spouse believes he married the wrong woman. Perhaps he did, but given how our relationship came to be... I'm certain that's not true. Of course, that’s my opinion as the woman he met at the altar and has been with for over a decade. I find the kind of duplicity that would allow for all of that to be a lie - extremely frightening. Without a third-party, who knows or can ever know how the crisis in our marriage would have unfolded. Maybe it wouldn't have worked, maybe we would have grown together and resolved the issues that plagued us. Who will ever really know?

One of my angels (a woman showed up in my life as if on appointment from God) told me that you can withstand any thing as long as you stand in your own values. This helps me filter out all the chatter from others about what I should do about the status of my marriage.

Nothing has changed there is still an energy draining anguish that dominates my day when I try to force my husband to proceed with our divorce. On days when I am focused on what is important to me - spending time with people I love, helping clients who appreciate me and taking care of my own physical and mental well-being -my energy feels right. It is the one foot in front of the other in the direction of my goal. I work hard at the activities that will get me where I want to go.

When I pray, I don't pray for a specific outcome. I pray for a willingness to be obedient and to accept with thanksgiving the outcome. As I close my eyes at the end of each day-I thank God for the opportunities, lessons and successes of that day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so grateful for everything. I am grateful for peace and contentment. I am grateful that in the season there is calm in my soul. I am grateful that when I need to cry and be sad – I can. I am grateful that I have wonderful people in my life. I am grateful that my joy is not situation dependent J

Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. I wish everyone well and hope that you spend the day enjoying love and companionship of people you love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Divorce and “Well-Meaning” Friends

This was actually not my next planned topic. However in recent weeks, a few things have weighed heavily on my mind. As my spouse and I head into year 2 of our divorce process I frequently get asked, “Why is it taking so long?” I’m not sure I’m the right one to ask. This question is usually followed by some well-meaning person informing me of such things as:

z He doesn’t love you;

z He doesn’t love you anymore;

z He doesn’t want you anymore;

z He has someone else;

z He just doesn’t want to married;

z He doesn’t want to be married to you

z You have to let go and move on

I say well-meaning, because they seem to be oblivious to the fact that I have accepted my husband’s choices. Of course, these comments are usually prefaced with “I know this is hard to hear”. It’s not hard to “hear it” when you have been living it. If I had not accepted my spouse’s choices (regardless of his feelings behind them) – I would probably consider these comments highly insensitive, instead I can see them as well-meaning.

Over the last 2 years, I have worked to lay the foundation for my future without him because that is what he elected. I have not dwelt in the hope of reconciliation nor have I put my life on hold. I have not “jumped” into a new relationship – that would have been foolish – this is a confusing enough time without the stress or burden of building a new relationship before the old one is successfully/effectively dismantled. Of course it seems that to our society “moving on” means finding a new partner or playmate quickly.

I am not certain if there’s a natural tendency to assume that any delay in a divorce is the result of some unwillingness on the part of the respondent (me, my husband is the petitioner) to comply with the requested action. Or maybe there’s a gender stereotype at work here – the woman is always reluctant one.

I don’t think I have been unwilling to confront the brutal realities of my current circumstances. Am I hurt by my husband’s choices? Absolutely. Can I change his choices or beliefs? Absolutely not. Can I choose to trust that God has a plan for my life? Absolutely. I suppose it seems baffling to some, but I do not hate or wish my spouse ill. With God’s grace, in the midst of this, I still have a great deal of empathy for my spouse. I recognize that if this were easy for him our divorce would have been completed months ago. I don’t have to be angry at him to comply with his request for a divorce – my actions need not be fueled by anger or resentment.

Or maybe it is even more confusing that I recognize that in the end the legal aspects of divorce are a business transaction. There is no amount of money that could compensate me for the heartache or time wasted as a result of my spouse’s choices. However, during the course of our 10 plus years together we accomplished some things “together”. The objective of the divorce is to divide those things up in a way that is a respectful and equitable reflection of the work we accomplished “together”.

It is abundantly clear to me that my husband’s feelings and choices are his own. I have also been clear that my spouse’s choices do not dictate whether or not I continue to stand in my values. Divorce is painful, but even more painful is failing yourself. Failing to honor what you believe is painful. Everyday I get to choose who I want to be in these circumstances. I could choose to be chaotic, angry, perhaps completely out of control. I choose not to be in that emotional state. I pray, and I continue to stand gratefully in God’s grace and mercy. I follow through on my end of things, working with an attorney I respect and who respects my values and opinions. My attorney appreciates that my objective is not to punish my spouse for his choices. I work with a Christian counselor to process the emotional trauma of my husband’s choices. I spend time with my family and friends. I have work that I enjoy. I praise God for each new day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where is the End of My Rope?

In this season, I have relied on God and what I believe about God and His will for my life to keep me sane. For several weeks now I have felt compelled to burn the journal I started when my husband informed me that our marriage was over. That was well over 18 months ago and we still can’t seem to manage to get divorced. It may seem that divorce would be a simple thing to accomplish since we seem to be in agreement or at least I am willing to comply with his request for a divorce.

I have grieved the loss, accepted the failure and disappointment. I want to burn the journal because I want to grieve no more.

Although my spouse has asked for a divorce, there has been little initiative or cooperation from him. As I earnestly want to put this behind me and continue with the life I have begun to build for myself, I had to ask myself “where is the end of my rope?” How much longer must I spend in this dark season of my life and what it is I am yet to learn in order to return to happier days?” In this in- between state of not married and not divorced there is a loneliness and frustration -not to mention a spouse who carries on as if he is already single. I figure there must be more to learn because the season persists….

When I asked myself the question: "where is the end of my rope?" I realized I already knew the answer. That if God is my rope - there is no end as long as I have breath. So I thought about this season in my life and God as my rope and the imagery that sprang to my mind looks something like this:

I am holding a rope that stretches forward beyond what my eyes can see. I am kind of pulling myself a long, hand over hand with each step forward. And in the bright light of day the rope is just additional comfort and assuredness. But as I look ahead and see darkness coming and the rope stretching into undefined darkness – I hesitate, but I know I must still move forward and follow the rope. I hold onto the rope and head into this dark season - prayerful, afraid, and anxious – this was never the way I thought my life would be…

Still I put one foot in front of the other and follow where the rope will lead. Now I could assume that this dark season is all about life lessons for my spouse. How shortsighted would that be? So I hold onto the rope and put one foot in front of the other and step into this season – knowing God surely has a plan. As I walk in the dimming light I know I have a choice. Letting go of the rope is never an option… but how I will follow the rope is my choice.

And still in my imagery, I exam my options:

1. I can forcefully and resentfully resist and be dragged by the rope fighting all the way; learning nothing and wallowing in the pain and perceived injustice.

2. I can hold onto the rope eyes squeezed tightly shut and reluctantly, fearfully walking through the dark with nothing but the rope to guide me and nothing learned in the process. (This is voluntarily signing up for what I call spiritual special ed – the lesson will be repeated over and over until I get it – whatever ‘it’ is)

3. I can hold on to the rope with assurance – I can acknowledge and trust in my heart that God would never the lead me into a place of harm without it being a season of preparation for something greater. I hold onto the rope, stepping into the dark one foot at a time eyes open (of course cautiously – fear is fear and the dark is unknown). I allow myself to feel, really feel the anxiety, the uncertainty, the discomfort and pain, but allow my eyes to adjust to the darkness and see what was there to learn and understand.

What I am finding in the darkness is surrender, forgiveness, faith and love. Yes – I still feel anger toward the selfishness and heartlessness that created this season in my life, but it is not enduring. I am not compelled to seek revenge and carry the bitter wounds forever.

And I have tried, to face what is happening in my life with my heart and my eyes open to whatever lessons God is providing in this season. I know that in the end God will be glorified. It's pretty amazing because to many people on the outside it all just seems like madness.

Still I have settled into the life I began to build for myself once we separated. I find great joy in the company of my family and friends, working with my clients, and mining interests and hobbies. I continue to find solace and comfort in God’s unbreakable promises.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I was in a client’s office the other day and a sign on the wall said “the will of God will never take you where the grace of God will never take you where the will not protect you” And I thought AMEN for that.

I shared the quote and my feeling about it with a friend. He said, “How can we ever know the will of God?” I could appreciate his question. I mean with free will and intellect we can misinterpret what God has intended. Then I thought about it some more and I thought I would restate that quote as “Obedience to the will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you” Now you may think you would still have the same problem of understanding what is God's will. I like to think of myself as a fairly simple person and I think God has given us some very clear and simple directives on what is his will is:
From Exodus 20:1-17

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

This seems to me a simple place to start and while other biblical passages may add to this I think these are simple and easy enough to adhere to without confusion.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I received this article via email My initial thought was "What great insight on why the marriage/ successful marriage stats for my age group are so dismal" I even planned to buy the book. However, after I good night's sleep, I realized this is yet another book instructing women on what to do solve what is a "Masculine Crisis". Of course, it makes perfect economic sense to write a book like this for women - we buy books like don't....

The problem is too many people continue to assume (including the author of this book) that if a woman changes her behavior a man will behave differently .... And in some cases that assumption may in fact be correct. However, in marriage that approach has a fundamental flaw - it will not result in changing a man's beliefs or values or result in sustainable behavior. Another problem with this approach is MEN (individually and collectively) need to be responsible for solving their crisis by dealing with it openly and honestly. Leadership, masculine leadership and accountability are required to solve this problem.

And the most exhausting problem created by "women can fix-it" approach is that is forces women into a long-term pattern of behavior geared to "getting" men to behave like honorable, responsible adult MEN (I intentionally did not use the word male, because this issue goes beyond biology and basic gender).

So my question is when will the MEN step into leadership and seek to help each other grow and heal?