Divorcing

#21

I was served papers the week before my three teenagers and I were to leave to visit my parents in Florida for Christmas. It has been the worst ride of my life. He left me 16 months ago after a severe depressive episode. I have invited him to go to counseling, etc…he is gone. He wrote me an e mail the night before the divorce papers came wanting to let me know so I would not be taken by surprise and telling me he wished me a wonderful life.

I cannot describe the pain. We were married 22 years last Dec. 29 and have three children, 13, 16, and 19.

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#22

When my husband left I asked him time and time to go to counceling with me so that even if we didn’t worked it out we could at least leave this relationship civil and not bitter with each other, eventhough this was something I didn’t want. Our divorce is final Feb.20…that the court date…i am refusing to sign because I’m not going to justify that I ever wanted my marriage to come to an end. To this day I have told him to come home and give us another chance…he cirlcles around the idea, coming up with more and more excuses on why not to. I will at least know that I’ve done all that I can in the eyes of God to save my marriage…the rest will be on his concious. I will live guilt free. A friend told me once…the only person you will have to live with the rest of your life is you and so live life without regrets!!
Divorce has not been kind to him…he drinks, he calls to acuse me of foolish things, he calls me to yell at me when he’s unhappy or calls to say he regrets leaving but only when he’s drunk. I have started the year at peace with myself and God. I started a new job and passed my realestate license. I’m happy to be alive and have great friends and family…praise God. There is light at the end of the tunnel…although we didn’t have children…the journey to recovery is still a difficult one. hang in there…prayers are coming your way!

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#23

u r awesome… i wish i had the courage that u r showing. my divorce will be final april 17… we dont have children too.

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#24

saveme09, mariam, and others…

I’ve been considering that we need a prayer request thread for troubled marriages and/or divorcees. What do y’all think…would it be appropriate to post a thread in the prayer requests forum about “Prayers for Strength in Divorce” or something?

I see many people on these forums who want support in divorce without getting lectures. There’s a place for advice and then there’s a place for just saying “I’ll pray for you”.

We could also include prayers for our ex-spouses, which can be very powerful healing, IMHO.

thanks,
cecilia

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#25

yes please… that is a wonderful idea…

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#26

OK, here’s our new thread!

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=1844905#poststop

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#27

Yes. Things are not always what they seem to be.

To remain sane during such a trying time is something to be proud of. And to thank God for the grace for. I am sure it is Him reassuring your heart that He has a better plan.

At least you and Mariam are fortunate not to have children yet, since unfortunately divorce is the destiny of the “marriages”. (The Church can decide if they ever were that). Because divorce is so much harder when you do have them. If your ex is poor husband and father material, you really regret that for your child.

So it really is a second chance you have. You picked wrong, got fooled the first time. Now you have learned something, and you have time to reflect on what you want in a husband and a father.

And as others have mentioned here that they have found too, you are finding an independance, which I think is important to possess. Because a marriage based on dependancy is not a healthy one. There is a place for dependancy in it, but you need to be two whole people, who can wholely love. (In a holy way!)

Having to split my child’s time is an unhappy reality. Getting sport or scout or school or vacation schedules, and having to consult my calender to see whether I am permitted to participate in his various life events or if I am excluded, is part of that. We are coming up on the second anniversary of the divorce finalization (which followed a prolonged nightmare of a divorce) and it is still hard (though not as hard as it was initially, thankfully), to divide up my life like that.

But, when I hear of mothers who have had to give up their very young babies or toddlers for entrie weekends, I grieve for them and for their children. I don’t know why the courts don’t put a stop to this. Its terrible. And I realize how lucky I was a be able to stay in my difficult marriage when my child was young, because I was with him 24/7 when he was little, and never excluded from his life. As he got a bit older, it was my choice when I wanted to be excluded from him - usually only brief times.

But therefore when the alternating-weekend thing started during the divorce, it was awful. I was deeply distressed, and immobilizingly depressed with the forced separations. And the first time he had to be away a week, I was grief-stricken.

[Probably the *worst was fear of the future, as this is not how I ever imagined rasing a child. It was paralyzing. God truly knows what he is saying when he tells us not to worry for tomorrow. The worries of the day suffice. I have since worked at letting go of worry of the future.]

These times the only thing that yanked me out of falling into a pit of despair was to remind myself that, “Some mothers are taking their children to chemotherapy today!” I still use that when I am in danger of falling.

There really is no way out of the pain of divorce - for the most part, you simply have to muck your way through what only time can heal.

What helped me on the way was prayer. I thank God, who had a plan, who knew my future, because he brought me out of the Protestant Church and into the fullness of what he wants all Christians to have - the Catholic Church, and gave me a year of pure grace, my “honeymoon”, before the first pre-divorce erruptions, and therefore I was strengthened with all the riches, the graces God pours out so abundantly through His Church. Elsewise I don’t know how I could have made it. I was too unprepared and taken unawares.

I prayed the rosary and chaplet daily. My life was in a horrible place, but at night I would walk, and pray my rosary and chaplet. They are great prayers for being with God when your heart is too breaking to pray extemporaneously. When you are speechless.

Because I was greiving, I counted on not praying them well, knowing God would understand. But I would feel peace from it, in spite of my poor efforts at prayer.

Also, everyday I did a morning offering. Don’t forget that! You have so much suffering to offer - why waste it. I remember explaining that to my son once - that it won’t make the pain less, but at least your pain is used for something. To snatch souls out of purgatory! Then those souls will pray for you! It made sense to him because he never fails to remember to offer up now. He reminds me!

Continued on next post, with a special comment to Mariam.

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#28

So to Mariam, I urge you, pray anyway. No matter how badly, no matter how empty the words. Pary less, more often. Its okay if you feel empty. If you can’t do a rosary, pray the chaplet. Thats easy. Also try praying only one decade of the rosary for daily rosary, for as many days or weeks or months as you can do only that, before you add another and someday another, till eventually you can do 5 decades.

Mariam, you are Cahtolic and you have the rich graces of the Church! Mass and the rosary and Eucharistic adoration are powerful. They are extrodinary riches hidden in ordinaryness. For the Eucharistic Adoration, or just to sit before the closed Tabernacle where is the True Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord. Just go and sit, you with your grieved, empty mind, and just be there. You will gather His strength and comfort and graces, I guarantee it.

So pray even when your heart and mind are too grieved and pained to offer a thing up. Pray when its only your empty voice, and the mysteries are only a flash of a picture, rather than a contemplation. Ask Our Lady to pray you the grace to improve your prayer.

There was much betrayal in my marriage and divorce, which hit me all at once in a big way. As the guilty ones often are, he was not sorry, in fact blamed me, and increased in maliciousness and anger towards me. I heard Bishop Fulton Sheen explaining on the radio the other day that it often works like this when one is guilty and refuses to admit any wrong-doing. The guilt stays within and you go crazy with it, or it vents out on others. In our case it *all *vented on me, in one powerful concentrated form.

I told a priest in confession that I knew God wanted me to pray for him, but it was hard. I felt nothingness, numbness. I truly do feel deeply sorry for him, because I know he is a lost and broken soul (though he’d deny it!). But the sorryness is in my mind only - my heart feels nothing. This holy priest told me to pray 3 Hail Mary’s for him every night, and its been some time, and I still do. Its hard to think of him any mroe than I have to other times, because not thinking of him is so peaceful. But at least at this time, every night, I do pray out of obedience to the will of God. At about 1000 prayers a year, thats a lot of prayers!

For the most part, the nothingness I feel in my heart, when I offer these prayers, remains. But each night, I ask Mary Immaculate to pray for Him with her beautiful, Immaculate Heart of Love, since my own heart is so inadequate. I offer the prayers especially for his salvation. mary gives it what I cannot. So he is getting some pretty awesome prayers!

It makes me see a purpose in the whole thing - who else would have ever given him these prayers?? No one, probably, there are so few (relatively) who pray for poor souls. He is a truly lost soul, and the pain he caused me is all *worth *it for him to be saved. Yes, it was such a nightmare, but healing comes when I embrace this truth: That I would do it all over again, only for him to be saved. This little section of my earth life, for him to have eternity, is all worth it, even if its the only worth that comes of my life (well, i am also determined my son will be a worthy offering!). I feel confident he will be saved – but my hunch is, for him, like other such hard cases, it will be a last minute, deathbed thing! I do not expect to ever get satisfaction on earth of seeing my prayer answered (because I think he’s a hard case), and thats okay.

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#29

I went through a really awful divorce about ten years ago. My ex was doing me a big favor, as our marriage was so miserable. He was abusive, I was trapped. I used to pray for my husband to be killed, for God to take him away. I mention that so you will get a feel for how unhappy and desperate I was. He left me and got our young daughters for 18 months. I thought I would die of anguish and pain.

Sometimes when you pray, you are asking for a snake. God won’t hand his child a snake, but when you pray for bread you will get bread. On the other hand, when God answers prayers, sometimes what looks like a snake turns out to be a big bakery full of bread! So hang in there, show your faith, do your best, pray like crazy, and don’t give up. It may take time, but God will help you.

I did that and ten years later, what looked like a big ugly snake turned out to be a joyful gift from God. I am closer to God every day and pretty happy. My first marriage is being annulled, I found a GOOD man, a great job, we are all doing fine. Just hang in there!

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#30

Eliza–I have tears in my eyes after reading your posts. God bless you in your suffering. Thank you for sharing your struggles. Your faith, prayers, and example to your son are inspirational. I will include you and all who are suffering divorce in my prayers. God bless you all.

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#31

i just wanted to let everyone out there know who has been praying for me that i have started praying the rosary daily both as a part of a 54-day novena and also as part of the mary undoer of knots novena.
although i say it with hardly any contemplation. it is atleast that i am saying the rosary…
i am thankful for that and i know that the rest will come with time…

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#32

Wow; this was a divine inspiration to start this thread. I have been ashamed to even mention that I was experiencing separation and divorce. It seems so un Catholic. It feels so shameful. It is so agonizing. It is so lonely! I am so happy to join a prayer loop and pray for each of you and I hope to count on your prayers for me. It is so hard.

cynthia

I was married 22 years and I am having to learn to walk again

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#33

Yes, I know about the shame too. One of my initial reactions, in my stunned state of shock, was a horrified distain that the awful word “divorce” was going to be stuck to me the rest of my life!

I was immobilized by that for a bit - until I realized, at the root of that, was a feeling I was above divorce. And if I thought I was above that, then wasn’t I judging others who had that word attached to them, as being less good than myself?

I saw (and still see, although I am willing find a side to this I haven’t examined) myself as an innocent victim of the divorce, having done everything that was right and good, and to the fullest extent of my imagination, and applied all my commitment and all prayer and faith possible to avoiding divorce.

[At this point I had already come to grips with the unforeseen reality that, even though I was fully committed and fully determined to stay in my marraige no matter what, it is in fact not *always possible to save your marriage by yourself, even with the help of God. (Whose Own will must be to save it!) But there is another person involved, who may have another will. And even God himself does not (ordinarily? ever?) violate the will of man.]

Now, faced with the reality that the ugly word divorce was my new “life-label”, and asking myself why it was so ugly, I wondered if i had judged others as being somehow “guilty” by virtue of that word attached to them. Had I not ever considered that those persons may be innocent and blameless, and may have done all that was possible in their situation to save it?

So maybe I had judged others, as now, others will judge me. I instantly decided to embrace the undeserved shame, (that I in my heart may have misjudged on others) as a means of suppressing ugly pride.

In that way the word divorce can be like a kind of hair shirt!

Yes, its agaonizing. And lonely. But lonely can turn eventually to “alone”, I think, if you do not flee from “lonely”. “Alone” is one of the main places you heal, I believe.

And “alone with God” is the most wonderful place to be.

Perhaps its a reality that to get to “alone” you have to persevere through “lonely”. And to get to “alone with God”, you have to get to “alone”.

Maybe.

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#34

possible to save your marriage by yourself, even with the help of God. (Whose Own will must be to save it!) But there is another person involved, who may have another will. And even God himself does not (ordinarily? ever?) violate the will of man.]

Now, faced with the reality that the ugly word divorce was my new “life-label”, and asking myself why it was so ugly, I wondered if i had judged others as being somehow “guilty” by virtue of that word attached to them. Had I not ever considered that those persons may be innocent and blameless, and may have done all that was possible in their situation to save it?

So maybe I had judged others, as now, others will judge me. I instantly decided to embrace the undeserved shame, (that I in my heart may have misjudged on others) as a means of suppressing ugly pride.

In that way the word divorce can be like a kind of hair shirt!

Yes, its agaonizing. And lonely. But lonely can turn eventually to “alone”, I think, if you do not flee from “lonely”. “Alone” is one of the main places you heal, I believe.

And “alone with God” is the most wonderful place to be.

Perhaps its a reality that to get to “alone” you have to persevere through “lonely”. And to get to “alone with God”, you have to get to “alone”.

Maybe.

I had a lot of the same thoughts about calling myself divorced. Sometimes I refer to myself now as “newly single” or just “single”. Frankly, it’s nobody else’s bleeping business. :stuck_out_tongue:

I was more alone being married to my ex than I am now. Thank God for that! Alone isn’t neccesarily a bad thing…you get to make dicisions unilaterally now, and maybe try some things in your life that you put off or cancelled because of sacrificing in the marriage. We get a new chance to focus on God and listen to what he wants for us. Those are the silver linings I see. That and ALONE is better than ABUSED anyday!

cecilia

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#35

Eliza10: Your summation really resonates with me, especially the “hair shirt” analogy about how people who have been through a divorce are automatically viewed. I think I’m currently in the process of making the “lonely” to “alone” leap. I’ve certainly made a sudden and dramatic improvement in how spiritually healthy I feel within the past month, much more than the “usual” up and down. Some bad habits I’d been struggling with seem to be (moreor less) fully squelched and other (better) habits are steadily taking their place.

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#36

I’m glad. Word pictures/analogies usually communicate. And when you spend a lot of time cogitating on what you’ve been through, they tend to pop up.

I did not have a lot to grieve over my actual married years; in reality they were mostly oppressing, and its a relief to lift that. But it was so sudden and unexpected that it was disorientating. Losing my indentification, my place in society, as a married woman/stay-at-home mother has been a significant loss to adjust to. I do feel that a sign of healing in me will be when I reach greater acceptance. I know God wants us to accept what comes our way, and be at peace, and not be anxious. So that is my endeavor.

Its ongoing! But the more moments of peace in aloneness, the more confidence you have that you can return to that when you lack it.

What do you think contributed to feeling more spiritually healthy?

When things are going poorly with me, I always notice rosary has not been prayed, or I have not made the effort to go to extra Masses.

I also work at squelching bad habits and trying to build new better ones. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and paralyzed with all there is to do and all I’d like to do, then I don’t do so well. It seems to be all rooted in my frame of mind. When I battle and complain internally about my losses, my circumstances, then its all very hard. Those times I can almost hear myself complaining, “I don’t want this life!”. Then I must deny that, count my blessings, and embrace today. In acceptance there is peace.

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#37

My H left my kids and i last March to live with another woman…I do not believe in divorce, and he never brings it up so until I believe that there is not one shred of hope for our marriage, I will not file. Sure, he could file at any moment, and I have prepared myself for the possibility, but the status quo is where I need to be right now, I too have made great strides in my life, and there have been so many wonderful things that have happened to me and my kids this year…too many to mention here.

One thing I would like to say is that I do not get angry or blame God in anyway for what my H has done to me and our kids. I am no more enlightened then anyone else, but I just can’t imagine blaming or being angry for something that a human being has done to hurt me. The situation that I find myself is in not way “Gods will”…it is “free will” on my H’s part and he is free to use it however he sees fit.

God is my strength, my comfort and my inspiration…and I am grateful that I have his loving care blessing me everyday. Sure, God has a plan for me, but it was not his plan for my H to go berserk on me and our children, it was simply the failings of my H…but my life goes on and that is what I keep my eyes on…the future of me and my kids. I pray extensively for my H and hope that one day he will emerge from the fog he is in and repent, but I am not holding my breath…as humans we are so fallible, and we must live with the consequences of our actions be it good or bad…i urge all of those here to see God as a liberator, confidant and loyal companion…he will never go berserk and leave us…only another human can do that and while we have to accept the reality when things like this happen, we don’t have to give up…on the contrary, it is within adversity that we see the light in Gods heart and his true compassion for us and we must get on our knees and praise his mercy. Bottom line, don’t let the torment of another affect your relationship with God…one thing has nothing to do with the other :thumbsup:

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#38
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#39

Yes, the transition I’ve had is more finally recognizing that what I was feeling was “lonely” after the chaos settled out enough to do anything other than just keep moving and then being able to detach from that.

I did need to grieve the relationship, but could not until late last year when the combination of the fiscal insulation from finilizing the civil process and the emotional relief of my ex finally stabilizing enough to quit trying to take her rage out on me through the kids actually allowed me enough time and energy to finally mull over the implications (both past and future) of what was happening. I had to admit to myself that it was over, that no matter how much of my blood and tears that I poured into the relationship that it never had a chance because my ex never wanted a healthy marital relationship and had been trying to keep it wounded but limping along the whole time to try to hide just how bad her own mental state was and how much she’d misled me about in order to convince me she was ready to be married to me.

There was another stunt my ex pulled as I was finally stepping into that grieving phase that convinced me me to finally turn in the nullity petition (I’d had it filled out for a long while aleady), which in turn has brought me a great deal more relief from her passive-aggresive behavior as it effectively called her bluff (that she would fight hte petition and keep me from ever, um, enjoying female company if I didn’t do things her way and only her way). When I turned it in, she didn’t have anything left to threaten that I wasn’t already planning on her doing and thus she had no “stick” she felt compelled to try to use just because she could, and suddenly our interactions were much less complicated leading in turn to me having just a bit moretime and energy to direct towards spiritual work where I started making headway instead of treading water, where even another more recent stunt didn’t stop the momentum I’d already picked up.

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#40

Eliza10, you bring up an important point about how we catholics view ourselves when divorced. I have to say, I am ashamed of it. I am heading for a second divorce and you can bet that many people will look at me as deficient or that there’s something definately wrong with me. But that’s my pride talking. It shouldn’t matter, but it does. God knows that I have tried as hard as I could to keep my marriage together. There is nothing more I can do. Unless there is a miracle, we have absolutely no hope. But God has given me peace in all this ugliness and I know that I just need to follow Him. I agree with you when you talk about praying for exH, maybe they would never have had a chance of salvation if we didn’t pray for them.
Hope you are well,
God Bless.

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