I never expected it to happen to me, therefore I was not prepared for the rejection and devastation involved. Death could never be so painful. Alone! I had to either sink or swim…I chose to swim! Life would continue with or without a mate (thank God our marriage has been restored and healing for many years). Those two years I experienced alone made me realize how very dysfunctional and unscriptural our ‘Christian marriage’ had become over the previous eighteen years.
The initial shock of being rejected is overwhelming. I, supposedly the ‘together woman’, suddenly felt paralyzed, unable to function or make decisions. The pain goes untouched by books or man’s theories. However, God sustained me as I walked through the process day-by-day. If you are in a similar trauma, I trust you can benefit from some of the things I and others have learned the hard way.
WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
DON’T GIVE IN TO DIVORCE. Emotions are subject to change and the pain of rejection may not be as great as the pain of ending it all, especially when children are involved. If necessary, find an attorney who will join in your stand for reconciliation, but also be able to advise you from a legal standpoint what to do with papers you could possibly receive, what you should sign or not sign, etc. Even though divorce can be granted eventually in most states without your cooperation, delays can be effective in many cases. “Time” can be a great friend.
DAILY JOURNALING. Keep a confidential notebook. As I read the Bible each day, I asked God to give me one thought which communicated to me that day. The amount read is not the issue. My thinking processes are greatly hampered by the emotional pain. Often three verses is more than enough for me to meditate on. The key thought written on an index card goes with me throughout the day. Sometimes I will memorize that verse. After writing the one thought (GOD’S COMMUNICATION TO ME) in my journal, I write a prayer (MY COMMUNICATION BACK TO GOD), specifically about this verse. As I meditate, I get in touch with what my emotional feelings are NOW. I write that emotion down. God has never been shocked or embarrassed with what I feel. The weakest part of me touches the heart of God most. God chooses to use my weakness in a special way as He pours His strength in. As I allow those feelings to surface, I am not stuffing them in an emotional trunk to come back and haunt me later. I take those feelings to the cross and present them to the One who is most touched by them (Heb. 4:15).
Journaling is the greatest tool I have found for developing intimacy with Christ and for personal healing, therapy, growth and honesty with myself and before God. I can openly reveal everything to Him – and He still loves me!
BIBLE STUDY. I need to establish a Biblical belief system about such issues as divorce, remarriage, restoration, etc. A few isolated verses, quoted incorrectly or out of context, are not beneficial. A study of Hebrew culture regarding weddings, marriage, etc. gives new meaning to often misused Scriptures in our western culture. Strong’s Concordance number system is helpful to find Hebrew/Greek word meanings. Instead of looking for Scriptures to prove it is o.k. to get out of my marriage, I search for Scriptural reasons to stay in the marriage. These Scriptures will also impact our children’s lives as well.
GOOD PERSONAL APPEARANCE. I need to be able to look in the mirror and like that person I see. If I don’t like ME, why should I expect my husband to like ME? Bathing, dressing neatly and using proper make-up lifts my spirit; lying around the house all day in a bath robe feeds depression. Someone has rejected me, but that does not prove anything! However, I must be careful not to reject myself. I am precious in God’s sight; He paid a tremendous price for me. There is great value in me because I am a creation of God. (Ps. 139:13-18). I have intrinsic value with or without a mate.
GOOD EATING HABITS. The appetite may go one of two directions; neither extreme is healthy! As I structure my eating to a definite schedule, including lots of vegetables and fruits, I am pouring nutrition into a body that is being depleted of much strength via the emotions. I am in a warfare and this soldier must equip herself in every area of life.
Eating can also become a source of comfort, which often results in an overweight condition. I need to set boundaries of what and when I eat.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE. Walking is a great time to pray, plus getting the benefits of the exercise. Anger is an energy. If I do not use that energy in a positive way, I will end up being destructive with my anger. Upper body exercises relieve headaches and tension in the shoulder and neck areas. Punching in mid-air, or at a pillow will relieve much stress. Vicious house-cleaning is a great way to use up this energy as well; the end results are wonderful!
PROPER REST. If I do not get enough sleep, I will not be strong enough for the battle emotionally or spiritually. The whole body works together. I can also ‘escape’ with too much sleep. Depression says “pull the covers over my head and wallow in my misery”. A pity party is a lonely event – only one person ever shows up! “He giveth His beloved sleep” (Ps. 127:2) written on an index card is the last thing I read each night as I turn off the bed light.
DECISIONS. I need to avoid major decisions until the dust settles. Purchasing major items, job changes, selling my home, etc. would be treated in a different manner without the pain.
ESTABLISH CREDIT IN MY OWN NAME. Previous good standing ‘joint accounts’ leave me as a ‘nobody’ now. My name as an individual is not acceptable. Alone, no secure employment, I represent nothing but risk! More rejection, feeding my already intense anger. I need to establish credit, not to go in debt, but to establish myself as an individual for business purposes.
WHAT IS THE NEXT THING I NEED TO DO? Dirty dishes in the sink? That’s the next thing that needs to be done. Life goes on. I must allow myself to continue to function as a human being, while at the same time processing the pain and circumstances of my daily life.
PUT A GUARD ON MY MOUTH. Everytime I speak …LIFE or DEATHcomes out (Proverbs 18:21). Boundaries on my mouth will save me a lot of regrets. I will focus on the positive things about my mate to the children. I will pray the “Spirit of Elijah” on my family, (turning the heart of the fathers back to the children and the hearts of the children to the father. Malachi 4:6). If at all possible, my children need to have a relationship with their earthly father. The relationship with their heavenly Father will be greatly affected by the earthly father/child relationship.
REACH OUT TO OTHER HURTING PEOPLE. As I focus on others, I am made aware my situation is not the worst thing happening in the world. Doing hospital volunteer work, visiting a children’’ home, calling a sick friend, etc., will pour healing into me.
ONE CONFIDANT FRIEND. Geneva was there for me, any hour of the day or night. She was an open ‘container’ to receive all the garbage I dumped on her! After I unloaded, she always came back with “yes, but…” and proceeded with something positive or an admonition from the Word of God to help me balance my emotional turmoil. I do not need someone to jump on my bandwagon – I need someone who is stronger than me at this point.
I am not obligated to share my circumstances with every individual I meet. The less I share with close relatives, the better. They are too involved emotionally to actually be that much help and the more they know, the harder it may be for them to forgive and accept restoration.
PERSONAL PLEASURE GOALS. Every week I need something special to look forward to – this will keep me going! A trip to the beauty shop, an afternoon at the park, etc., something which will pleasure me. I AM WORTH IT! I need short term and long term goals to keep me focused.
GOOD BOOKS AND TAPES. Not every Christian book on marriage will encourage me toward reconciliation! I need to minister to my spirit man, and to my faith (things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1)
SELF EXAMINATION. “God, show me how I have contributed to the dysfunction and breakdown of our relationship.” SELF CONTROL, not husband control, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit I cannot control my mate. At this moment, I take my hands off of trying to make him into what I want him to be. I can only control ME. I am not responsible for my husbands actions, but I am responsible for my RE-actions! I can become what God wants me to be. I will not dump false guilt on myself, but if I as a woman have not functioned as a wife or homemaker, I will start the process to correct any lack. “Pride” says I am right the way I am; “Humility” says I will focus on me and I will change ME (not my mate).
LOCAL CHURCH. If I isolate and hide in my pain, I rob the Body of Christ in many ways. As they are able to minister and encourage me and see the victory, they share the joy of the grace of God in my life. I need the Body very much, but they also need me. (The weakest member of the Body is the most necessary, I Cor. 12:22). I will commit myself to regular involvement with a local body of believers.
IMAGINATIONS. I will cast down all imaginations (II Cor. 10:5) which have no foundation for reality, and probably will never happen. Projecting too far in the future and dwelling on the “what if’s” can be mentally destructive to me. God never gives His “grace” in advance, but the moment I need it, His grace will be sufficient to cover me in all my circumstances.
by Jimmie Ruth Matthews