Bitter or better after divorce? And why I still believe in marriage…

Feeding the sparrows at the New York Public Library plaza

This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour answering Fay’s prompt why I still believe in marriage.

About a million years ago my first marriage ended. My heart broke into a million jagged-edge pieces and I shed a million tears.

From a childhood home divorced and drenched in alcohol my bags were packed with angry words, bad attitudes and critical demands for perfection.  While my anger contributed to the break down of the union that produced my three sons the day their dad walked away from us I was devastated almost beyond hope.

Some very hard and dark years passed. And then I got lonely which led to a short-lived second marriage scarred by vodka-induced verbal and physical abuse. It ended after the second order of protection.

Five years later another broken relationship. And then the little girl-woman lost looking for love in all the wrong places finally stopped searching for Prince Charming to take away her pain.

I had gone round in circles until I crumbled at the foot of the Cross, asked forgiveness and surrendered my neediness. Father scooped me up and held me secure and I began to slowly heal.

The pain experienced and the lessons learned through loss taught me obedience and helped me mature with a determination to do things God’s way or no way growing steadily stronger.

But there were many hard lessons along the way.

Losing my full-time job a month before my last break up gave me nine months at home to gestate. Hours each day were spent walking and talking with the Lord, reading His word and journaling.  I was unemployed and single without even a single date and my sons almost grown and not often home with jobs, school and girlfriends.

My heart was in God’s hands and my life was in his keeping and after so much heartache I figured if He wanted me to serve Him as a godly single woman all the rest of my days than that is what I would do.

But there were nights when I got home from my new job, with the house cold and dark and quiet, that my heart started longing for a mate.

For even after seeing my parents divorce and experiencing two divorces myself I still believed in God’s design for marriage. And that it is always better to forsake bitterness.

Marriage is a blessing. A holy covenant of companionship created in the garden joining one man to one woman for life in a mysterious and sacred one-flesh bond not to be taken lightly.

But to be cherished for the precious gift it is.

I prayed, asking God if I might launch a profile on a Christian dating site that I felt had a lot of integrity.

MY PROFILE

After six months of prayer and one day after posting online my Michael sent me an email.

I almost didn’t answer him because I wasn’t sure I liked his comment about how much he liked my long hair. {Although he wants me to tell you that secretly I loved that comment!}

But I had promised God that I would send a respectful reply to any man that emailed me even if I wasn’t interested.

And obedience paid off as it always does.

In the next week thousands of words were exchanged between two lonely writers who loved God liked crazy and longed for a godly marriage. A face to face meeting high above a majestic river preceded a 47-day courtship, eloping in New England and a honeymoon that dreams are made of including saved-for-marriage sex.

So much for not rushing to the altar! But when you both know that you know and the overwhelming peace of God presides over all and everything keeps clicking into place, why keep waiting?

And this marriage we now share is everything and so much more than I ever imagined. A gift beyond compare. A crucible where dross is burnt off forging a stronger bond and love, laughter and lessons daily keep everything moving along.

God says it is not good for man to be alone and together my Michael and I are better than either of us could be individually. We are each the exact spouse the other needs, sharing one heart, blood of Jesus pulsing through both, and us pursing Christ together.

MARRY ME

God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.”

God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man.

The Man said,
“Finally! Bone of my bone,
    flesh of my flesh!
Name her Woman
    for she was made from Man.”
    Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.
    The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.
From Genesis 2:18-25

Our various strengths and weaknesses balance each other, lending unique perspective to a situation. And while we are far from being two peas in a pod, we cozy up to each other in Christ and a three strand cord holds our marriage tight.

All those years ago I could have become bitter towards men. Could have given up on marriage, shutting  my heart down completely.

But I didn’t and I’m glad.

CIRCLE OF LOVE

For marriage, with its better and worse, is a gift from God.

And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world…

~sheila

Heart Cry by Sheila KimballIs someone you know hurting? Or maybe your own heart is breaking? Heart Cry, 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul  Purchase your copy today at our Heart Cry eStore.

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PROOF HWC
Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club recently wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer.

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14 thoughts on “Bitter or better after divorce? And why I still believe in marriage…

  1. It’s so refreshing to read about the power of believing in marriage. Thanks for sharing these words. {Visiting from #TellHisStory}

  2. I’m so glad God brought Michael into your life, Sheila! I’ve been reading through Job lately and today my reading included that iconic verse, “though He slay me, yet will I hope in the Lord.” Not sure I quoted that word for word, but I think you “hoped in the Lord.” Often we think of hope as a noun–a gift that God gives us. But in the verse I mentioned, it looks like a verb to me! And that’s exactly what you did–actively “hoped” in God and He blessed you for that faith and surrender! Great job, as always, my sweet friend!

    • Oh Beth, I am SO GLAD God brought Michael into my life!!! 🙂 Sometimes when I look back over the various dark chapters of my life I am amazed at how amazing is His grace. For there is no other way to explain surviving some of my past challenges. I have been reading and re-reading the gospels over the last few months and a recurrent theme I see is how much Jesus praises our faith. Thank you, dear Beth. And blessings and more blessings upon your new year…xxoo

  3. Marriage is hard. It really is. But with God it can still be so good.

    Thank you for linking up with Woman to Woman’s Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

    • I think marriage is hardest for me when I choose to do things my way instead of God’s way. For when my spirit is aligned with His our marriage flows beautiful and serene even in the face of external problems. A scripture verse we read almost daily is from Ephesians 4:3 — Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will be bound together in peace. God’s ways are so much higher than ours. And so much better! Blessings and thanks for stopping by.

  4. Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing, Sheila!
    Yes, post-divorce it is very tempting to give up on marriage…to swear never again…
    For me, my ability to completely commit to a second marriage had a lot to do with how God comforted and led me through the divorce and healing process. I emerged from that more confident than ever of His great love for me and His care for me.
    Yes, the failed marriage and divorce were extremely difficult and painful. But God was with me every step of the way! And what He taught me thru that experience, I would not trade for anything.
    Knowing that, I was able to commit to love again…because I know God will be with me through all of life’s difficulties…and I can trust Him to complete the good work He has begun in me.

    • Thank you, Joseph. AMEN! And what He taught me thru that experience, I would not trade for anything — me, too!! Even though the pain was excruciating, the closeness shared with Christ especially in the dark was beyond measure. Blessings…

    • Thank you, Cathy. That’s why I share our stories at Longings End — that other hurting hearts might see that their is healing through the love of God in Christ and that He is the God of second chances. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings…