I can become frustrated at writing my blog sometimes. It’s because I have so many thoughts bouncing around in my head, that I struggle with organizing them enough to type them out clearly. Also, finding the time to actually sit down while my brain is still functioning is difficult as a single mom. At the end of the day, when I’ve “mom-ed” so hard, my brain just doesn’t want to focus. However, I am going to strive to start posting regularly going forward.
The first thing I must address is my post called See Those Red Flags, which has since been deleted. I would like to offer an explanation for that. One, I’ve been informed that I’m not allowed to speak any “disparaging remarks” or “speak badly of the other parent” due to a clause within the divorce document. Which such a clause is normal regarding talking in front of or to the children directly; but this clause takes it further to include anyone. Essentially, a gag order. So, take that action as you may. I guess you are supposed to believe that two perfect individuals in a happy marriage just suddenly said, “Hey, let’s give divorce a whirl and destroy our nuclear family for fun!”
Two, the post didn’t quite convey what I wanted it too. I was trying to accept fault in my part of the marriage’s demise. Because I realize the divorce just happened out of the blue and shocked people invested in us; there obviously was a lot more going on. All I was trying to do was acknowledge my part in that. I’m fully aware that I am imperfect. I fall short in so many areas as a mother and wife. I’ve shown my truthfulness in how I feel like I fail at meeting my kids’ expectations of me as a mother on here. I was simply explaining where I did that as a wife. I stayed silent and overlooked hurtful (to me) behavior for years in order to keep some peace. I didn’t think blogging every single argument would be beneficial to our relationship. I wanted to be respectful of my partner’s privacy wishes. I had hoped if I faked happiness; I would eventually create happiness. You know, seek the positivity in a situation; not the negativity. Then a big part of the silence is because I didn’t even realize the toxicity of the environment, up until now with counseling from a psychologist that specializes in relationships. With the exception of the amount of arguing, I felt our marriage was relatively normal. Not that I had any other relationships to compare ours’ too. It’s not like I was social with other married couples. I, now, see it wasn’t at all. So, that’s what I was trying to explain. Those red flags, that I didn’t even see within my own relationship, I wanted to point out in hopes to prevent someone else wasting so much of their life in a hopeless relationship. That by ignoring the issues; it was never going to make it happier or better. However, some people didn’t read the post that way; yet read it as more of a “bashing” post. Which is not what I want at all and apologize for creating an atmosphere for that type of thinking. So much so, I deleted it. At the same time, I should be able to speak about my own marriage experience. What I experienced for nine years of my life and what I should have done differently. Because that’s how you grow as a person. You learn from your and others’ mistakes. I can confidently say none of my choices and actions during that time of my life would cause me enough shame or embarrassment where I wouldn’t legally allow someone to not talk about them. However, I must remain silent in fear of someone taking an example or explanation of an action as reflecting negatively on that someone and seek further legal action against me.
I often have people say “It seemed like y’all were so happy. It’s such a shock!” Well, yes, it was a shock to me as well. I didn’t realize the amount of breakdown. After all, I was under the impression a vow renewal was taking place this year for the tenth anniversary. Maybe that will give insight to why this divorce shattered me. I thought I was on a pathway of healing and coming together.
Which is why I’m in therapy. I do not want to enter another relationship with toxic baggage or that even resembles the one I was previously in. I’ve learned so much about myself already through therapy, reading Lysa TerKeurst’s It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way, and going back to church. My therapist gave me homework after a discussion that I feared my expectations were too high for a partner. My first assignment was to list out my expectations in a partner. So, I grabbed my hot pink pen and my legal pad.
The list went like this:
- Has a relationship with God/Understands what a Godly or Biblical marriage means = partnership/equal to one another; not controlling the spouse
- Wants to invest in our relationship by doing devotions/church related groups and retreats
- Financially responsible/Understands the importance of low debt and budgets/Willingness to share all financial information
- Self responsibility: Is he willing to help with cooking/cleaning/watching kids/lawn & house maintenance if asked, without supervision, and not needing constant appreciation for doing these normal adult responsibilities?
- Communicate openly with one another about fears, day-to-day activities, thoughts, expectations, etc
- Affectionate towards me and kids: cuddling to read bedtime book, praying together as family, family meal, kissing/hugging me while I cook, clean, etc
- Understands the order of my “5 Love Languages”: Acts of Service/Quality Time/Receiving Gifts/Physical Touch/Words of Affirmation
- Wants to be active/social with other couples from church/work/etc
- Supportive of my hobbies: horses/fitness/blogging/time with my friends
- Able to forgive my many faults: I yell when angry/I’m easily worked up over things I can’t control/I cry over sappy shows & baby commercials/has preferences on how certain things are done/accepts my anxiety & depression/accepts I’m not a person until I’ve had coffee/accepts that I have insecurities
My therapist looks over my list, chuckles, and says, “totally normal expectations to have for a spouse and interestingly healthy boundaries established; coming from your previous relationship with unhealthy boundaries occurring”. So, whoa…is that validation that my expectations for a spouse is not unreasonable?! SHOCKED! I’ve been struggling with this concept from the moment I was told that my expectations were just too high. When I say struggling, I mean, totally distraught with crying, nervousness, hopelessness that I will never be in a lasting relationship because of this. Grappling with the idea that I might just have to accept being alone forever; because I never want to be in an unhappy relationship again.
My second assignment was to list out my strengths. To which I replied, “Oh, um, I’m organized, attentive, detail oriented…” No, no, no… you sound like you’re at a job interview, but strengths that make you a person. <blank stares at therapist> But those do make me a person. I really am strong in those areas. She says, “Ok, for instance, from meeting with you I see four strengths already: Beautiful, Intelligent, Young/Youthful, and Tough/Resilient. Maybe we should start with you asking a few close friends, and specifically a male friend or two if you’re comfortable asking, to give you three strengths they find in you. I think you’ll be surprised by what they say. It’s obvious you don’t recognize your strengths.”
Okuurrrt. However, not seeing the big picture to this assignment yet. I feel like I’m staring at the blank space of the “about me” section on a dating app. Hmmm, about me…if you’re a man-child looking for a wife-mom; you need not swipe right. Thank u, next! **No, I’m not on any dating apps. But I don’t live under a rock either.** I do have one guy friend that I’m comfortable asking…I guess. He immediately replied with, “Oh! You’re compassionate, independent, trustworthy, dependable, and over protective…like with your kids.” And we both laughed; because, yeah, I’m a smidgen over protective when it comes to the kids and he insists its a strength because it’s what makes me such a great mom. Ok, I’ll take it. Another friend said I was strong, a good mother, and a Christian. Another said I was outgoing, organized, and eloquent with words. My next session, I’m supposed to take these strengths, add three more of my own, and envision/build my new future with them.
So, as part of my healing process, I’m attending church again. I had allowed the divorce to shatter my faith. I had spent so many years praying to God to please change my heart, lead me to be a better wife, guide me to the right devotion that would draw us closer to Him and each other, change my marriage, tell me what I was doing wrong, why was I so unhappy, and why did He allow this divorce to happen. I thought God hated divorce!! I obsessed over these thoughts. They consumed my every thought at night instead of sleeping. I slept for maybe 2 hours every night for weeks. I felt lead to visit a particular church, which is totally different from what I’m accustomed. It’s popular and contemporary. I had been attending another church that I previously went to in college and with a someone; and the memories there were too much for me to handle. I couldn’t even focus on the message without crying at some memory that flooded back at me. So, I quit going for several weeks, maybe a month. During this time off, I randomly was invited to this particular church I felt drawn to by SEVEN different people. I thought to myself, “I need to check this church out!” I went to a service in January, when I was at my lowest point. I had just experienced my first post-divorce Christmas, decisions were being made to destroy my feelings even more, and my anxiety/depression was spiraling out of control. This first service I attended spoke to my heart and soul. It was about choosing joy in the mist of disappointment and how you can choose to do that.
- Knowing God has a plan for my life
- Certain that God will work it out
- When I choose joy for my life
- Choose to look beyond what happened
- Choose to find new opportunities
- Choose to focus on what really matters
Choosing joy today and every day.
That message just spoke volumes to me. I was choosing to wallow in self pity. I was allowing a situation that I had zero control of define my life. I was allowing someone who clearly told me I didn’t matter anymore to control me. I knew right then God was asking me to trust Him, put my faith back in Him, allow Him to guide me down my life path. The next Sunday, I went back to church and the message hit me again.
- It’s time to take control of my schedule (start my day with God through prayer, Bible study, and worship music)
- It’s time to regulate what I allow to enter my mind & body.
- It’s time to organize my finances around give, save, & live.
- It’s time to live my life intentionally.
- I must know my purpose
- I must have a plan
- I must have accountability
I felt this was God reaffirming me to rely on Him. Throughout the next week, songs came on my Christian music station that centered around being strong in the mist of chaos/relying on God, running into people that I hadn’t seen in years, saying that God will guide me/God will provide for me/to trust in God, and participating in an online Bible study of It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way. Which the study has helped me so much! I will be making a totally separate post detailing what I’ve gotten out of that and the new message series from church.
And since I’ve recommitted my life to God, trusting God, and placing my faith in God…I’ve been given immeasurable strength in recent situations where I felt forced to participate in/hurt in/unheard in…in situations where I would have felt like my soul was being crushed. Doors of opportunity being opened for me, such as new job postings that I’m qualified for, being called for interviews, and a peace within me that I will be ok.
Granted, I still have those moments/days of emotionally struggling. Uh, last Thursday was Valentine’s Day after all; and I should have been celebrating my 13th anniversary of being with someone. Thirteen years ago, at nineteen, I didn’t have any expectation of what Valentine’s Day was supposed mean. I wasn’t one of those girls that daydreamed about getting roses, candy, love cards, jewelry, expensive dinners, or anything like that. So, when someone came into my life and opened that expectation up for me while we dated and for so many years; it was hard swallowing the cold, hard reality of that time in my life has closed and I’m replaced. Yet, instead of sitting at home, going through all of my pictures spanning 12 Valentine’s and crying about it; I made dinner plans with a friend. Now, my budget doesn’t allow me the luxury of hiring a babysitter, going out to a nice restaurant, or anything like that. For me, keeping busy keeps my mind from wandering into sorrowful thinking. So I was appreciative when my friend suggested to hang out on Valentine’s with a low key, homemade dinner and a movie (with my savvy BOGO buys, coupon usage, and sale spying eyes…I’m able to plan my weekly meal preps to be affordable and enough leftovers for days. Since I had an unplanned dinner provided for me earlier in the week; I needed some help eating a few perishable items anyway. Win win for us!) To add some humor to the situation, he finds my shopping skills entertaining and slightly mesmerizing. Especially when I can tell him the whole meal cost $6 a piece, including dessert. I had leftovers for three more days too! It was incredibly sweet of him to think of me and distract me from the hurt that day brings to me now.
Or when the radio plays your wedding song what seems incessantly the entire month of February. So you totally give up trying to listen to the radio because you’re tired of bursting into uncontrollable sobs. Because I wonder what in the world happened to our love? When did it end? I remember every detail about planning our wedding and experiencing the wedding…down to the emotions I was feeling. I had never been so sure about a person and situation in my life. I knew with every fiber of my being he was the one for me for life. So, it still hurts to hear Then by Brad Paisley. Even when we went to the Brad Paisley concert in Savannah and this super young couple got engaged during the song. I flashed back to our engagement. I also flashed back to the many people that told me I was getting married too young. Hindsight is 20/20 because now I wished I had listened. That’s my thought process every time I hear that song now.
I know over time it will get easier. Hopefully, finding employment soon will not only allow me to have more leeway with my finances (‘Cause let me tell ya, living off of child support ain’t easy.); but provide me a sense of stability in my life.
Later in the week, I have an awesome fitness post coming for y’all. I’m going to have some of my go-to healthy meals for when I’m on the go. I’ll throw in some meal prepping tips too! ❤️❤️