As a child, I remember flipping through my parent’s wedding album. It was right beside all the family albums, so every once and awhile I’d pull it out. It was strange to see my parents before I was even a thought. I remember my mom saying once I didn’t have to worry about them ever getting a divorce.
During my teen years, their marriage was very rocky; they were separated twice, once for two years before the divorce could be finalized in 2015. Long and short of it is simply that it was a wreck of a time. Everyone we knew in our religious social circles, which was our only social circles, fought my mother for pursuing the divorce, even though our home life was so bad that we all were dying.
No seriously, I described it as though she, I and my sister were all drowning in front of everyone, but everyone was more worried about saving the boat of marriage which we had fallen off of, instead of us. YES. THAT’S WHAT IT FELT LIKE. LIKE NOBODY CARED THAT WE WERE IN SO MUCH MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PHYSICAL STRESS THAT IT DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE OH GOSH, THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE COMES FIRST. YES. WE WERE REALLY PUT THROUGH THIS FOR MULTIPLE YEARS. IT WAS HORRIBLE.
We have grown through that part of our lives now and we don’t speak to any of those people anymore thankfully. We are happier, stronger, and much better off than before.
But before I move on, I’d like to pause one moment here and do something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t felt free to say before. I want to give a very personal shout out to all those people who chose an ideal over individual souls that were suffering: SCREW. YOU.
I have absolutely no regrets in saying that to every last one of you because I have an absolute right to be angry that the Christian church treated us that way. Thanks for watching us nearly drown, thanks for all the commentary on how we should have just submitted more, thanks for not seeing us and simply seeing an idea that you had to uphold. Thank you all And Screw. Every. Last. Damn. One. Of. You. Goodbye and Good Riddance.
Now that y’all have some context of my past, here’s what I want to talk about tonight.
I remember in 2013, when my parents separated for the second time, that I was reading the little blogs of the church girls I only sorta kinda knew, girls that attended the sister church of my own. I remember courtship and marriage were discussed on and off again on these blogs. And one day, I was so utterly shocked when I read a comment on one post in particular.
The blogger, a girl I had seen at church family camp multiple times, had asked the question “what are the questions you should ask to know who’s right for you”, blah blah blah, that whole conversation. The top comment was by a girl I didn’t know personally but I’d seen her comment a lot on these blogs often. She seemed to hold similar beliefs that we all held. But in her comment, she literally stated, “I wouldn’t marry someone who had parents who had divorced.”
I was shocked. Because my parents were getting a divorce right then. And yet at the time, I held all the same beliefs this person had. But someone like-minded found that despite this, the fact that I now came from a divorced home was a complete disqualifier for Godly marriage? Not because of something an individual has done but for something their parents have done?
I was shocked, mortified, and horrified.
The owner of the blog agreed with the commenter’s general comment and I realized maybe a lot of people in the social circle I was stuck in must probably agree. Oh my gosh. It was a cruel realization. It was something I’d NEVER thought of myself, and so to have this dawning realization that my peers, who thought similar to me, would view someone like me, a child of divorced parents, as damaged or unworthy or unfit or unable to be of any value for marriage, was awful.
Tonight I remembered that comment again. I even did some link-hopping to find the original blog and screencap the comment itself, because for a bit I wondered if I had really read such an awful thing. I really had, sadly, and it made me so angry tonight.
I want to respond to this person’s statement. Having gone through a good recovery period from my parents’ divorce and being two years strong into my own romantic relationship, I have a few things to say! And I’m sorry that this post has already come off as very personal and emotionally driven, but this is on my heart to speak up about tonight. So here we are and here I go.
I have a few things to say as a young adult who thought her parents would always be together, then watched it all burn up in flames, and have seen my family grow out of it better off. I have a few things to say about how it has influenced how I view marriage and love itself and how I think it’s done the opposite of making me an “undesirable” choice for marriage. I have a few things to say in defense of the people who grow through the hardship of divorce too.
The thing about me is that despite everything I have been through, and I’ve been through SOME SH*T, my positivity hasn’t been killed yet. It’s only grown, because I have a lot hope today because of my family’s divorce. I still STRONGLY believe I can have a successful marriage myself. I have not given up on true love. I refuse to give up on love.
And yet some people would call me unsuitable? Really? I have learned so much though!
I learned from my parents’ divorce that no marriage can work if both sides aren’t communicating honestly. Therefore, for my future marriage, I must always be honest, I must ALWAYS communicate how I feel, never sweep anything under the rug, and I must be open to listening to my partner’s needs. Boundaries MUST be discussed, reinforced, and embraced for the health of both sides, throughout the marriage. Both sides MUST be willing to listen, to accept, comfort, reassure, to BE OPEN. I know and agree with my mother’s choice to pursue a divorce…because if none of these things are being done on both sides, then, in my opinion, this is no suitable relationship to remain in, much less even be deemed a marriage. It is toxic. One person cannot make a marriage work alone.
BECAUSE OF THIS EXPERIENCE, I know what I need to look for in my partner! I know what I must do to avoid repeating that mistake! I’m aware of issues that can happen and can be proactive against them!
Can you still say, dear commenter, that I’m not a good choice for marriage?
I learned that when you love someone, you put them above yourself….but always in a two-way street situation. If you are giving your all to someone who is simply taking taking taking…..that is abuse on their part. That is not loving. You should remove yourself from that situation if it cannot be rectified within a period of time. Because while you do love others, you must also love yourself. You must be able to remove yourself from poisonous situations because God loves you and doesn’t want you to be abused like that.
Seeing this, I have learned to love deeply, but not ignorantly; not giving my heart away to just anyone but to someone who is making as much effort as I am. My best friend whom I’m dating, I choose to date because he gives and loves me above himself, just as I do him. I want to see this consistently as we date, so before I agree to any marriage proposals I know that we are committed to fighting for each other, because we will have built trust that we are doing so RIGHT NOW. I know what to look for in a martial partner now because I saw what marriage is not.
Would you still hold my parents’ divorce against me, commenter?
I can understand someone being afraid of a divorce pattern repeating if they marry someone who’s experienced it in their life….but to completely cross out any options because of it, is cruel and completely removes potential people who might have learned a lot from their past. Why can’t we talk through this issue like we would any other personal issue? Why is it different?
No one is too far gone if they recognize the family patterns, the sins that need to be addressed, if they are willing to be aware, to work towards something better. Often times, people learn best through hardships! How cruel of a person do you need to be to want to completely discount anyone who’s gone through the heartache and survived a parents divorce as “not acceptable, not good enough, does not reach the requirement for my godly marriage standards.”
Guess what, commenter: A lot of peoples’ parents stay together and are completely miserable. How is that better? A lot of people can think marriage is easy if they never see the hardships of marriage and can turn out to be completely bamboozled and lost in their own marriages because they’ve never seen the struggle. A lot of parents can make their marriage look perfect to their children.
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF A CHILD’S PARENTS HAVE STAYED TOGETHER OR ARE NO LONGER MARRIED BECAUSE EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE MESSED UP IN THEIR OWN WAYS ANYWAY.
How dare you think that someone who comes from a whole family MUST be a better option automatically. How dare you not leave room for people to learn from history’s mistakes. How dare you try to create the perfect partner by how many boxes they can tick off from your mental list of suitabilities. How dare you limit who you can try loving unlike how God loves. How dare you, how dare you,
HOW. DARE. YOU.
I have learned that from divorce some of the most beautiful, most generous, most gorgeous hearts that beat often come from these broken families! I have seen it not just in my own family but in the people I have met during this process of growing up and becoming my own person. They are no less worth God’s love than you are, and they are no less your love either.
I’ve listened to the voices of teens, young adults, of ex-wives who have struggled through a divorce, and heard the strength in their voice, seen unbelievable generosity in their actions, and watched sacrificial love given even to me by them. I have supported other daughters whose families were thrown into chaos by divorce and seen them grow stronger from it. I have held the bleeding hearts of highschoolers who have seen themselves as mistakes, whose parents never even married, and yet can give everything to those they love, and fight through depression to bring joy to others because they have empathy.
I’ve comforted the broken and found hope in them, I’ve listened to those who feel stuck but find determination to get out, I’ve walked beside the hurting and witnessed healing. I’ve loved on people whom others called unlovable and earned back the deepest of friendships, acceptance, and connection from them. They are SO beautiful that they take my breath away. These people amaze me because God has not given up on them and they haven’t given up on themselves either. And they have not given up on me.
And these are the people, I am the people, that “you could never see yourself wanting to marry.”
I have seen this raw beauty of souls that come out as shining more brightly than diamonds because of the incredible pressure put on them. They, like me, are hurting and growing and relearning and struggling, just like everyone else in this world. That’s ok!
I’m sorry our hardships we’ve gone through scare you. But I think that we deserve more than to be defined by what’s happened to us. I’m sorry you don’t have more empathy, more compassion, more understanding. I’m sorry that your life has been easy to where you have not been given the gift to see how beautiful we are.
We: the pained, the changed, the victims of mistakes and of abuse, we are more beautiful than you are able to see. Because of what life has dealt us, what God has led us through, we can learn and be better than the past. We can grow stronger and further than you seem possible to imagine because guess what; we have actually seen intimately, first hand, where mistakes were made…we have the best chance to not make the same mistakes if we’re willing to face them, see them head on, and say, “its ok. I see where the path crumbles. Now I know where to truly hang on to the guard rails so I can get further than last time.”
We don’t want to be stuck in the cycle as much as you don’t want to get caught up in it. Believe me. We are trying. So how dare you assume otherwise.
How dare you, commenter, decide in your small little world that our lives are decided before they are even begun, simply because our parents’ marriage didn’t last. How dare you, how dare you
HOW. DARE. YOU.
This was a very emotionally charged post for me to write but I’m going to leave it that way. It felt good to finally be able to articulate and put into words these feelings I’ve worked through and reclaim some of my own self-worth.
Before I close this post, I did want to say thank you to James, my best friend of six years and boyfriend of two, for loving me despite all the baggage I do carry. He has never held my past against me and in fact sees it as having made me into the person I am today that he loves. We fight every day for our future relationship, and he loves me so well through the struggles and insecurities I do have. I feel God’s love most when James loves me; it is incredible and I’m truly blessed. I could never have asked for a better partner to walk through the last many years of survival and recovery than with him and I love him so much.
AFTERTHOUGHT BECAUSE I NEED TO SAY THIS: Any comments on my parents’ marriage and divorce will not be entertained here, to the person who likes to try to protect my dad for him in my comment section. This is my blog, talk to me about me. My parents have fought their own battles and I know more about their divorce than you do because I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT START TO FINISH. You will not MAKE ME BE QUIET. If you can’t handle my honesty, get off my freaking blog, crazy lady. Thanks, love to dad when you see him. ❤ ❤ ❤