I watched a drama series intended to explore the intricacies of divorce, particularly pondering whether or not there is a good divorce. Perhaps the taboo of divorce we have created makes it less likely we would somehow try to be brave and bold enough to take care of each other through the process of divorce. But it happens. It is rare, but it happens. In most cases, including my own, at least one person involved wedges their way into a tight enough spot that their response is to fight their way out. It’s defensiveness and self-preservation.
Divorce is usually seen as a war or a battle, and no matter how close the two people were, how much they loved one another at some point, how much they have shared and could potentially share moving forward, there is a fight response to grab everything that is spilled out of the marriage piñata through the violence of divorce. Of course, the other person doesn’t have to respond in the same way. Even under the best of circumstances, people have to consider what pieces of the past thread through that season of divorce and will lead into the future. Even when someone disrespects us, we don’t have to disrespect ourselves.
I’ve watched, from a distance, couples who have done the work as they near the end of their marriage, involved people they trust, engaged in difficult conversations, yet decided to step away from each other. In some cases, they continue to do the best work they can to hold some sense of a family together, even when the marriage isn’t going to survive. They don’t get it all right. There’s still a lot of pain. But I applaud and respect their efforts.
I missed that. I begged for it. And I don’t beg for much. But I do stand up for my kids, no matter their ages. That was one of the hardest parts for me—to see someone I had respected as a partner not making the effort but vehemently dismissing people he had cared about. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and consider he was in a place from where he couldn’t make that effort, but I don’t believe that. It’s not consistent, even among the inconsistencies. There were too many opportunities to choose better—even a little bit better.
I had to uproot the love I had for him. Because there was no love expressed. There was no avenue for the love. The pathway was destroyed. But the love I needed to weed out wasn’t replaced with hate. It was replaced with love—a different kind that had anything to do with him or a relationship, except for my relationship with God. Because when God weeds or allows something to be weeded out of our lives, he cultivates whatever is supposed to replace it. We don’t always yield to or cultivate alongside him, but there is always that promise and that possibility.