I believe that marriage is the most beautiful covenant and that it is of divine aetiology. Unfortunately, it has been complicated by man. Consequently, Divorce is becoming more prevalent and arguably more acceptable in the current generation. To some, it is a necessary evil, dealt with unemotionally, expeditiously and with precision. To others, it is a dirty word that should not even be mentioned.
Allow me to interject with some personal experiences. I enjoyed and cherished the institution of marriage therefore the title Divorcee has not sat easy! In fact, it has been somewhat unpalatable. I find it harder in Africa where marriage is the norm, enhances social status and in many cases financial status! Making the decision to end an 18 year old marriage to someone who had been my best friend for over 20 years was the most difficult, heart-wrenching and emotionally draining one I have had to make to date. I wrestled with the options for about 1 year mainly because I am a “Church girl” and my Almighty Father describes it as the most violent of sins! Now, most of us do not want to willingly and willfully commit sin, let alone the Born-again fraternity to which I claim allegiance! Secondly, my ex-husband was undoubtedly the centre of my Universe for 2 decades and despite my Faith, he was the ultimate authority in my life.
Following an awful period of grieving for a lost marriage, plenty of prayer and counseling, I resolved that it was time to “Take the bull by it’s horns”, in my case more like a wild buffalo! I sought out suitable lawyers and did the needful. I applied for the dissolution of my treasured marriage 3 years ago and the Decree Absolut was granted 2 years ago leaving me to assume my new status of ‘freedom’. This has been far from complete due to financial disputes and wrangles.
This brings me to one of the pearls of wisdom I would like to share on this issue. Be prepared for the long haul! Depending on your previous spouse, the process may be “short and sweet” or long and tortuous. Therefore, strength of spirit, mind and body is a prerequisite to the process. Second pearl of wisdom; be prepared for an exodus that would rival the Biblical version. Previous “close friends” and allies will depart faster than you can bat your now natural eye lashes! This is especially so if the change in status leaves you in a financially or socially diminished position which is the case for most women.
One would beg the question why a woman would decide to take such a drastic measure which appears to result in a tremendous and excruciating loss? In my case, there were a multitude of reasons. I’ll share a couple. As an adolescent, I witnessed a loved one live with an unfaithful husband. I observed parts of her personality fading on a daily basis until she was a mere shadow of her previous vivacious and vibrant self. She developed a false aura of exuberance to mask the underlying pain, humiliation and dehumanisation she felt. As I indicated earlier, I loved my ex-husband more than life itself, but I love myself too and I was not prepared to destroy the essence of my womanhood by embracing a polygamous arrangement.
Secondly, I was in a situation where my heart had been smashed into a million pieces and my life had been pulverised into an amorphous mass. I was in urgent need of emergency resuscitation and major surgery in a tertiary trauma centre. This is where my Church came in, a spirit-filled Baptist Church. My Pastor at the time, to whom I’m forever grateful, was extremely caring and supportive going far and beyond the call of duty. Further support came from my fellowship group, faithful friends and my long-suffering family. They offered spiritual, physical, financial, emotional and psychological support. For several months I was on a life-support machine, but God sent wonderful people to carry my 4 beautiful children and I. Day by day, step by step I stumbled on and dragged myself back to the land of the living. Eventually I was upright again, shook the load off my shoulders, back straight and put my best foot forward! Due to the severe trauma I had been through, a divorce was part of the healing process, it facilitated closure.
Moving on to the change of marital status; where I had happily and routinely checked ‘Married’ on application forms, I now had to check ‘Divorced’ The dreaded D-word! I often tried to look for other alternatives to no avail. I pondered on possible options; ‘Grew apart after 19 years of marriage and 4 children’?, ‘ Previously married to a covenant-breaker’?, ‘ Bleeding from the site where I was previous cleaved to someone who became selfish during his mid-life crisis’?. On reflection, my sense of disquiet and discomfort was due to a perceived sense of failure, the loss of something treasured. The finality of the closure was like a nail on a coffin, expected yet unsettling and unnerving at the same time. This too has become easier with time. As you may have already noted, I do not relish the label ‘Divorcee’. I have been trying to coin a more appropriate phrase, for instance, Secondary Single, Mature Single, Returnee Single…., as you can see, I’m in need of inspiration! Any takers?
The bottom line is that I am Fab and Forty (something) with many years ahead of me to share my life with someone who will value, treasure and cherish me for who I am and not whether I tow the line or not. I believe I have matured like a very good wine with an unbelievable aroma, depth of flavour and rich fruity tones that linger on the taste buds evoking an divine gustatory experience. I am more than certain that I will be an even better wife second time round, my latter days are better than my former! And yes, I am dating again, a wonderful, kind, loving and affectionate man who has taught me how to love again and to throw my past into the sea of forgetfulness. I am like the caterpillar who thought her world was over until she turned into a butterfly!