by: Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D
Divorce statistics paint a grim picture -- something many of us have learned the hard way. Over fifty percent of first marriages end in divorce, and second marriages fare even worse.1
Divorce hurts everyone and no matter how common it has become, nothing fully prepares us for a loss of this magnitude.
Those who have walked (or are still walking) this fiery path can attest to the intense suffering that comes from broken hearts and broken dreams. I have personally been down this road, and the devastation simply cannot be overstated. It can, however, be overcome. In a collection of essays entitledHope After Divorce, Christian women of various faiths discuss how they have overcome the many obstacles placed in their way during and following divorce. While the book is focused on spiritual growth, there are practical tips included in its pages that can benefit all.
Allow Others to Grieve With You
Divorce affects not just our spouse and children, but extended family, friends, and everyone that is part of our lives. No one suffers alone -- and letting others in can be healing for everyone. In an effort to help us look on the bright side of life, friends and family may say insensitive things like, "At least you have your children," or "I never liked him anyway." But try to give them a break and realize they are grieving in their own way.
Get a Good Therapist
As one of the authors of Hope After Divorce, I can attest that a good therapist makes a big difference. I lived with my parents for two and a half years following my divorce, and Mom and Dad were lifesavers. For the first few months, after I put the kids in bed for the night, I would go to my mom's room and rehash my doubts and fears for hours. I also started seeing a therapist, who took some of the burden from my mom. While Mom gave me the support I needed, the therapist identified what she called "thinking errors" that helped me to move beyond the sadness and put my life back together. Those two amazing women are largely responsible for helping me to move forward in a positive direction.
Make new traditions
Divorce is the perfect time to reassess our priorities and fill the void with new experiences. One essayist explains: "When I finally came to terms with the fact that my husband had left for good, I cleaned out the entire two-car garage...I decided to fill that newly claimed space with gear for something our family enjoyed doing but hadn't done for so long: camping. Camping as a family became a renewed tradition, one that went on to give us a much-needed sense of security and joy of togetherness." In times of transition, new experiences give us something to look forward to -- and those little rays of sunshine can
Divorce is never easy, but there are things we can do to make the transition easier for ourselves and for our children. If you are a woman looking for an uplifting Christian-based read, Hope After Divorce will satisfy.
Weekly column published by LAFamily.com