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Grieving our Losses 5- Grieving a Marriage

Grieving Our Losses
Day 5- Grieving a Marriage
Ruth P. McDonald

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22, ESV)
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.” (Psalm 39:12, ESV)

Valentine’s Day of 2018 was not a good day for me. While many people looked forward to celebrating their love on February 14, I dreaded its arrival for the first time in 25 years. Love is wonderful and brings warmth and joy, but when love shatters our hearts, those feelings are replaced by an ache too deep for words.

When a marriage bond is broken by rejection or betrayal, grieving takes place. Each stage came in agonizing waves. Denial? Absolutely! I would wake up each day hoping my new reality was just some awful nightmare. It seemed like I was a character in someone else’s story—surely it wasn’t mine! This was never supposed to happen to me, to us. And so denial was a definite part of my experience in the early days following our separation.

And anger? Oh, I felt that one for sure! Thoughts like “This isn’t fair” or, “How could he do this to me?” were on constant replay in my mind. While I am not generally comfortable with anger, it was surely a companion to me in those early months of heartache. When someone deeply hurts us, there is usually anger; it is a natural emotion we all wrestle with.

I bargained with God. I bargained with my husband. And, honestly, I even bargained with myself. If I try this, maybe things will change, I would think to myself. Or, if I promise to do such and such, things will work out then. Ugh—the narrative that plays out in the mind can be so exhausting!

Depression is not a condition I normally struggle with. I’m generally an upbeat, bright and positive person. Following the grief that accompanied my failed marriage, depression came in different forms. I spent hours upon hours sitting on the couch, refusing to engage in life around me. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to see many of the people I truly loved. I cried many tears and longed for space to feel and express my anguish. Oh, but for the love of my family that drew me out of that place and encouraged me to “rise up and go forth.” Yes, depression in grief is real.

Acceptance only came after months and even years of wrestling with the Lord. Looking back, it was not until I came to this acceptance that I was able to place the outcome of my marriage in God’s capable hands. If God was going to use either a reconciliation or a divorce for His glory to be best displayed, I was going to have to trust Him to orchestrate the outcome. Praise God that He led us down a path of reconciliation!

Sometimes marriage stories don’t turn out the way our hearts long for. It’s hard to accept a difficult situation, and many struggle to move to that final stage of grief—acceptance. It’s hard, excruciatingly hard, and yet we must trust God with our present situation and ask for a heart that can truly learn contentment in disappointing seasons of life. Healing can never come if we are stuck inside of our grief and cannot see beyond to the phase of acceptance. It doesn’t mean that someday things won’t be different or better than they are today, but it does mean that you can trust God in this messy and painful relationship, knowing that, because He is with you, you’re going to be okay. He’s our Rock, our Hope and our Redeemer. He alone is able to carry us through.

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