Here's the personal crisis I've been referring to: I'm going through a divorce.
It's been hard to hide a pending divorce from the general public, since it affects every aspect of my life, and I'm pretty transparent to begin with. I don't even want to hide anymore – there's just no good way to announce this kind of news without turning into Debbie Downer. When I'm around people who don't know, it's awkward and anxiety-inducing. I've wished many times that I could issue a press release or something so everyone would know without my having to tell them personally. Although most of the people reading this know the story anyway, this is the closest I can come to a press release, so here we go.
No one goes into a marriage expecting it to fail (I hope not, anyway), but I especially NEVER expected to be in this situation. I am a Christian and I believe that marriage is a sacred covenant and should be taken very seriously. When I said "for better or for worse," I meant it. I had no doubts about marrying my husband, because I had already loved him for years, and I knew deeply that no matter what he did, I would be able to love him for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, he married me without the same confidence, and eventually decided he wasn't "in love" with me. After five years of marriage, he was unfaithful twice within six months. One day in May, he confessed the second affair and then left me. His intentions were very clear, but he didn't take any steps legally, so I had to take care of it in order to protect myself. The paperwork was filed quickly and should be final sometime in September. Obviously there's a lot more to the story, but suffice to say I fought for our marriage for a long time. I believe that there was nothing more I could have done for him or us, and everyone I know has backed me up on that. Sometimes they have to re-convince me of it.
Even though my divorce was not my fault and I know I don't owe the world any information, I feel this ongoing need to explain myself to people. I finally figured out that I just don't want to contribute to the prevalent cultural attitude that divorce is a normal occurrence, and marriage is easily undoable and no big deal. It IS a big deal. It's the biggest deal we will know this side of heaven. I definitely believe that divorce is permissible and even correct under certain circumstances, but it's not something that should be taken lightly. Ever. I don't want anyone to think that I just shrugged off my marriage and said "Eh, forget him" the moment I was done wrong, or "not happy" – and that includes the many people who find that a totally acceptable reaction.
On the plus side, I have an overwhelming amount of love and support from my family and friends and even from unexpected sources. I'm continually humbled by how great everyone has been. He voluntarily deeded our house to me, and because of my good job, I can still afford to live in it. We don't have any children – although I'm sorry not to have children, I'm grateful that I don't have to be a single mom and no one else has to be directly affected. I have a lot of benefits that are unusual for women in this situation. None of them make up for losing the man I loved and my most important dreams, but I'm still thankful for them. I'm still grieving and I have difficult moments every day, but I know that God loves me and is with me, and He will lead me not just to survive, but to thrive in ways that I couldn't have otherwise. I'm already beginning to feel more whole and fulfilled than I thought possible.
I don't remember this verse sticking out to me before this year, but it really comforts me and reminds me of what's really important and why I press on.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
- I Peter 1:6-7