Being divorced throws a curve into tradition. I now consider my children's time with the other parent on holidays that are important. Everything from attending service to returning home to my family is different. Even what I choose as an Easter Sunday dinner has changed, because I am no longer considering how to please a husband. No, now I am determining how to bring shape back to times we would have spent as that family. I have learned that having a plan for these moments will make the difference between sinking and swimming.
It's amazing what you do to comfort and please your mate. That is not a bad thing, it is a necessary extension of love and compromise. Once I was separated, it was not easy to learn to focus that energy back into myself. I had forgotten what it was to please myself (not to be confused with pleasuring myself. That is a different post and an activity my Pastor says will certainly condemn me to purgatory if there was ever such a place...my hands would catch on fire and shrivel and fall off - or grown hair). I think I lost the concept of pleasing myself somewhere in between 'I do' and 'what the hell is going on here'. Even then, I questioned whether I had done enough, done it right, or done something wrong in being a pleasing wife.
No, I never became a doormat. I am a strong willed independent woman - been that way all of my life. I am also a caretaker by nature, so I definitely am a people pleaser, but only in the sense that I will do what I can to help anyone who is helping themselves. Did I help him too much? Did I help him into the arms of another (maybe, probably, okay definitely into the arms of other(s))? Did I enable him to lounge in lasciviousness? (No, he was already a broken person).This line of questioning, if you are careful, will lead you right up to the question you really need to answer to move to the next stage of healing from divorce, if you are careful:
What part did I play in the demise of this relationship? God show me my part.
I could blame the disintegration of this major life relationship solely on my ex husband. Oh, he had a lot to do with it, maybe a greater percentage than I. I spent ample time wanting him to recognize his multiple and myriad shortcomings and atrocious behaviors and apologize for each one individually. However, God says two cannot walk together unless they agree. That means agreement in the bad as well as the good. It takes two to totally destroy a union blessed and bonded by God, and it is always easier to see the other persons wrongdoings. However, God being God, He gave me an understanding about forgiveness: it cannot be conditional.
I wrestled with my contribution to the divorce, talking to nearly no person about it. There was no available counsel of wise folk on this one in my life, and lest I find myself comfortable in the padded seat of the scornful or the mutli-faceted friendship of fools and foolishness, I had to fast and pray this one out with God alone. I stayed prayed up, seeking God's wisdom and clarity. If you ask God to show you self, you will see just how un-beautiful you can be without saving grace.I did not appreciate taking a look at myself, but I buckled down and did the work. This is not a pretty process, but I am unaware of any process of change being smooth and without some stretching and growing. The glory in that experience is that He will also forgive and change you.
Armed with the full recognition that I played a part in this shebang, I was so much more ready to get and give forgiveness. I have heard it said that you can forgive, but you never forget. I think that is just another man made condition. There is no way you could carry out the act of forgiveness, which is continual, if you don't forget the pain and hurt. If you're blessed enough to walk in forgiveness, the sheer remembrance of past events will not through you off your salvation journey because the snare has been removed. This is called growth.
There are times when I look at the saved man that my ex has become and wonder why he couldn't have been that man before; but then I remember that all things work together for the good of those who love Christ Jesus and are called according to His purpose. What purpose is that other than to lift Him up so that all men would be drawn unto him? I also await Boaz, cause I know God is readying him right now for the proverbial and virtuous woman that I am. Let me go glean in the fields.......