Marjorie JamesOne of the hardest parts of divorce, I have heard, is the empty side of the bed or only one placemat at the table. One song put it this way: “One less bell to answer; One less egg to fry. I should be happy, but all I do is cry.” Starting over is tough, no matter who “good” the divorce seems to be.

A new perspective is probably needed. A divorce is not the end of a person’s story. When someone walks away, it is just the end of that person’s part of the story. This is hard to adjust to – most marriage partners become the center of each others’ lives, and when one is gone, the whole life they built is over. We somehow need to understand that life has changed, not ended.

I “did some research”, very casual and non-scientific research, with some of my friends who have been divorced a number of years to get their perspective on their new lives.

One person put it really well: “I walked away from all the drama in my marriage and the person who created it. I needed people around me who made me laugh, gave me a chance to focus on what was good about me, and forget the tension and negativity that had become my life.”

Someone else said that she learned to “love the people who treated me well and pray for the one who didn’t.”

Part of the issue, according to many of them, was the sense of failure divorce can bring. “How could I turn my back on the most important commitment I had ever made?” Well-meaning friends didn’t help, one person reported. Many of her friends gave advice on how she could change to “make it better.” It took her and her friends a while to realize she wasn’t the one who needed to change, and her husband was unlikely to ever realize that his priorities and attitudes were toxic to their marriage and her life.

“Life is too short to be anything but happy,” one said. Then she amended her statement. “There were happy times, but there were not joyful times, the deep down sense that all was as it should be.” When she grasped that truth, she said, was when she realized that joy was something she needed and, indeed, deserved in her relationship.

Falling down is part of life; divorce is the most poignant form of “falling down.” One person stated, “Getting back up is living.” The process of getting back up can be the most important journey in life, and these friends who have done that are a great testimony to the possibility of positive living after divorce.

Copyright 2014. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.