A failed marriage doesn’t mean you’re a failure

Sunday, March 01, 2015

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FOR the most part I would want to think that many people enter into marriage with the hope that it will last forever. When that does not happen, the blow can be so powerful that some of us are never able to recover. Accepting that our destiny is not completely up to us can help in adjusting to the unexpected.  You see, life has a way of dealing us the unexpected so the sooner we learn to adjust, the better.

For many of us, divorce is one of those things we don’t expect. It is therefore common for some divorcees to feel like failures, but sometimes it’s all in our head. We are so focused on how other people might view the break-up of our marriage that we develop in our heads our own perceptions which are sometimes completely false. In some cases if we only knew what other couples were putting up with in their marriages, we would pat ourselves on the back for being brave enough to walk away.  

Feeling like a failure can be short-lived if you connect with other people who have been through similar experiences. So it’s best to reach out to others, give support and accept support.

Here are some things I have learnt about divorce and managing feelings of failure:

1.Stop beating up on yourself
People do not normally walk away from their marriage after the first argument or incident. They will remain in the unhappy situation for a long time for several reasons, including a refusal to give up on their partner, wanting to ‘protect’ the children that they may have together, or for economic reasons. The break-up of a marriage is therefore normally a process — sometimes we emotionally detach ourselves from our partners long before the physical split happens. The day you move into one section of the house and your spouse lives in another, you have actually started over, albeit on a limited scale.  If you’ve exhausted all options to save your marriage and your spouse doesn’t want the marriage to work, it’s not that YOU have failed. It takes two, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you become overwhelmed and call it a day.  

2.Rediscover you
Once there was one, then there were two, then there is one again. Complete dependence on doing things with a partner is one of the things that slows the process of re-adjusting to single life. The quicker you are able to begin doing things by yourself, the better. Even when the temptation is strong to call up a friend and ask them to either do something for you or accompany you to get something done, ignore it. Take the opportunity to break the dependence on another person and build character. Most of us weren’t born joined to anyone. This is your opportunity to rediscover and in some cases, discover new strengths and skills. Take it.   

3.Focus on the future
Do not consider the things of old. Once you’ve gone through the stages associated with any break-up including the grieving, the anger, the denial, and acceptance, it’s time to move on. Stop thinking about what might or could have been. Stop pining after the closed doors; allow them to close peacefully and focus on the new ones that are opening up to you. TD Jakes in his bestselling book Woman Thou Art Loosed, sums it up nicely when he says it is impossible to inhale new air until you exhale the old. When you begin to realise that your past does not necessarily dictate the outcome of your future, then you can release the hurt.  If a new person comes into your life, the last thing they want to hear is your constant whining about your ex. So avoid purposefully or unconsciously hurting the next person who comes into your life.

4. Think and speak positive
Adopt a positive attitude towards your life and your future. Divorce may have resulted in many changes in your life but instead of being mournful, welcome them; work at restoring yourself and believe that things will be better. Your divorce is also an opportunity for you to discover the impact of the words you speak each day, so if you want a new lease on life, begin speaking it into being. I have never forgotten a gem from Bishop Lloyd Maxwell, pastor of Agape Christian Fellowship Church. He said, “Change your word and change your world”. So begin to think and speak into being what you want for yourself. Divorce can cause you to bend many times, but you do not have to break.

Marie Berbick aka The PR Girl, is a communications specialist, motivational speaker and founder of the women’s ministry Sisters United for Prayer, Healing, Empowerment & Restoration. (SUPHER). Catch up with her on her blog Diary of a PR Girl at http://diaryofajamaicanprgirl.blogspot.com. E-mail marieberbick@gmail.com


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