- Gender and Relationships
Focus on the Family: Dealing With Divorce
Focus On The Family
Divorce is a serious problem in many countries. In the United States, for example, about 53% of marriages end in divorce, according to InfidelityFacts.
Married people give various reasons for divorce and the effects of divorce on the individual can range from anger, which has serious health implications, to depression and stress.
In this article, I want to focus on the family member, be it a wife or husband, dealing with a divorce. What should he or she do to cope with the situation?
Forgive Your Spouse
One of the best ways you can deal with divorce is to forgive your spouse for what he did to you. This will help to give you emotional relief as well as help to put you in the right frame of mind so that you can focus on your own life and make something out of it.
How do you forgive your spouse?
- Remember the good things he did for you. Let that remind you that your spouse gave you some amount of happiness when you were with him.
- Try not to remember the painful events that led to the divorce. When these thoughts attempt to come back into your mind, read something motivational or talk to someone so that you can stop those thoughts.
- Decide that even if you do not have erotic (romantic) love for your spouse anymore, you will still have agape love (forgiving love which shows goodwill even when it is hurt) for. Agape love uses the will. To develop agape love, say something such as, “I know Isaac hurt me. And I feel like hating him whenever I think of what he did to me. But, I choose not to let what he did make me hate him. Instead, I will still see him as my former love and friend,” regularly.
- Read the parable that Jesus gave in Matthew 18: 21- 35 of the Bible in which Jesus said that a man who does not forgive the person who has wronged him will be judged by God. It will remind you that you will fall under God’s judgment if you do not forgive him and that will help you to let go of any offenses he committed against you.
To be patient is to accept the disappointments of life calmly, even though you feel you have been treated unfairly. It means to hang in there because you know God is in control and will bring something good out of the seemingly bad circumstances.
Therefore, tell yourself that you accept whatever has happened. Say something such as this to yourself often, “I wish things had been different. I hoped the marriage had worked. But, this is my situation now. I will forget the past and move on. Better days will come. There is hope for tomorrow. God will turn this disappointment into an appointment with a new lover someday. I will wait for that day.” Doing this will save you from having bitter regrets.
Renew Your Mind
You will need to renew your mind so that you can repurpose your life and focus on the present and future, and not on the regrets and pain of the past.
To renew your mind
- accept the reality that you are no longer married to your spouse. When you wake up in the morning and you are feeling down, just say to yourself, “It is over. I will not cry over spilt milk. I must over on.” This will put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day; and
- remind yourself that you can adjust and live like a single person again because that is the way you used to live before you married your spouse. You may say something such as, “Before I met Isaac, I was living a happy, independent life. Although it is difficult now, I know I can live that kind of life again. It may take some time, but I will get there.” This will inspire you to start focusing seriously on what you need to do to make the transition from a married person to a single person a smooth one.
Make Changes to Yourself
Write down the wrong things you did which contributed to the divorce. Furthermore, write down ways in which you feel you could have done things differently so that the marriage could have worked. Then, write down the practical steps you will take to address those issues so that you can become a better person and a better lover (if you intend to get married again).
Make Changes to Yourself
How I Messed Up
What I Could Have Done Differently
Changes I Must Make
I was abusive
I should have used temperate language whenever I was angry
I will try to keep quiet when I am angry from now on
I wasted money too much
I should have learnt to be more content with what I had
I will educate myself on how to save money and practice what I learn
I have a problem controlling my sexual urge
I should have held regular discussions with Isaac on how to improve our sex life instead of cheating
I will go for psychological counseling and I will pray every day and ask God to help me overcome my weakness
Research shows that exercising can help you to deal with stress as well as depressing situations. When you exercise, it will help you to cope better with the stress of the divorce. In addition, it will help to boost your mood so that you will not feel discouraged and sad.
Therefore, do brisk walking about the house for about fifteen minutes early in the morning before you go to work. Furthermore, at lunch time, walk briskly to the restaurant or canteen instead of driving there. Then on weekends when you are at home, walk briskly around your neighborhood for about 30 minutes.
In addition, here is an easy exercise you can do every morning or evening to help you feel relaxed so that you can feel great:
- Put a mat on the floor of your room.
- Lie flat on the mat.
- Clasp your hands behind your neck.
- Raise your head and upper shoulders slightly.
- Push your neck against your hands for about five seconds.
- Fall back on the floor.
- Repeat the exercise for about 30 minutes.
This exercise will strengthen your neck muscles, give you a firmer upper abdomen and stomach as well as improve your general posture so that you will feel confident about yourself.
Get Enough Sleep
You may worry a lot about the divorce and that may make you feel miserable. Consequently, you may find it difficult to sleep at night which will affect your mood negatively and make you feel even more miserable.
But sleep is a great healer that can help you to relax so that you can reduce your stress and heal emotionally.
If you find it difficult to sleep, here are a few exercises that you can do every night to help you sleep:
- Lie on your back on your bed.
- Stretch out.
- Put your hands behind your head and raise the upper part of your body as far as it can go.
- Relax and repeat the exercise 20 times.
- Lie on your bed.
- Stretch your arms straight over your head.
- Stretch your heels down.
- Stretch your head and shoulders up.
- Twist your left hip over as far as it can possibly go, while your shoulders stay on your bed.
- Relax. Then, twist your right hip in the same manner.
- Let your hips stay in contact with your bed as you twist your left shoulder to the right.
- Stretch very hard.
- Relax. Then twist your right shoulder. Stretch very hard.
- Repeat this exercise about 20 times.
This exercise will help to release tension in your body so that you will feel relaxed enough to go to sleep.
Sing With Others
According to the Harvard Medical School, researchers in Germany discovered in 2007 that singing songs together with other people can help to lift a person’s spirit. Furthermore, singing can help one to reduce levels of stress.
Therefore, join the choir of your church so that you can sing along joyfully with other people to help you drive away the negative thoughts that worry you because of the divorce.
If you are not a religious person, you may decide to form a singing group with a few of your close friends or family members which can meet on weekends to sing your favorite songs. Let them understand that this is the way they can support you to deal with the divorce and it will make them more willing to get involved in this project.
A Pet Can Help You
Get a Pet
If you feel depressed after the divorce, get a pet. Studies show that having an animal beside you when you are going through painful or sad moments can help you to feel better.
One pet that can keep you company as well as make you laugh is a rabbit. A rabbit can do many funny antics which will help to put you in a good mood so that you can release stress. Therefore, if you decide to get a pet to help you deal with the divorce, choose one of these furry animals.
Studies show that gardening can help to improve your mental health as well as help you to deal with stress. When you choose to do some gardening during this period when you are stressed out and having mental worries, it will help you feel better.
Accordingly, plant some flowers, fruits or vegetables in your yard or in pots on your porch. You may choose to grow parsley because it is easy to grow in boxes. An added advantage of growing parsley is that you can use it for garnishing and seasoning your food when it matures.
Go to Church
Research shows that going to church often can fill you with positive emotions. Positive emotions will help to prevent depression and keep you upbeat. Moreover, you will feel great and that will help you to focus on your work or your responsibility of taking care of your children, if they are little.
Therefore, make it a point to be present at the local place of worship in your neighborhood, whenever Christians meet. Participate in the singing and dancing and you will leave the place in a wonderful mood that will help you to go through the rest of the week in high spirits.
Do you love going to church?
Prayer can help you to deal with the stress associated with a divorce, especially if it was a bitter divorce. So, ask God to give you His grace so that you can handle the aftermath of the divorce. You may pray a prayer such as, “Dear God, I want you to help me let go of all bitterness and regrets because of my divorce from Isaac. Please help me to adjust to my new situation. Please heal me of the pain I feel in my heart. Give me the grace to bear this cross. Help me to treat Isaac with respect and decorum. And help me to continue relating to him as a friend. Amen.”
Marriage After Divorce
- If you feel that you still love your spouse, and if there is a remote chance that something can be done to reconcile both of you, then take the appropriate steps after the pain of the divorce has healed completely so that you can get back together with your spouse.
- If there is no way of going back to your spouse and you want to get married to another person, pray to God and ask for direction. Find out if it is His will for you to marry again.
- If it is God’s will for you to marry again, build your self-confidence again. Assure yourself that you are desirable and that someone will love you if you take the risk to start dating again.
- Be guided by the mistakes you made when you were married. If you are a wife, learn what you can do to become a better wife this time so that your new relationship will work.
- If you are a husband, refresh your memory as to what is expected of you as a husband so that you can live up to your responsibilities this time.
- When you feel you can handle the emotional demands of a new relationship, start making friends with the opposite sex again. Involve yourself in activities you love where there is a chance that you will meet a member of the opposite sex who shares your interests.
- Take things one day at a time, when you start dating. Consciously avoid the pitfalls of your previous marriage and strive to build a relationship that will last the test of time this time.
Forgiving your ex husband or wife, exercising, getting enough sleep, gardening, and going to church regularly, among other things, are all ways of dealing with a divorce. Then, if it is God’s will for you to marry again, and when you are satisfied that you are ready to give your heart to someone else, be courageous and allow your heart to find new love.
Focus on the Family: Dealing with Divorce
Do you love gardening?
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio