When my ex-husband walked out the door and into the arms of another woman, my ego tanked. I felt rejected, abandoned and overwhelmed with two little kids and my family shot to bits and pieces. It was difficult to keep the self-defeating thoughts from taking over. I was shaken to the core and everything I believed about love, commitment and Christian marriage now seemed naive in the face of betrayal.
Looking back, I can see that in the mess of divorce or a bad breakup, these emotions are a completely normal part of the grieving process after a relationship suddenly ends. The death of a relationship from divorce, tragedy or a breakup leaves us with a bag of emotions we aren’t equipped to deal with. Anger, sadness and self-criticism can overwhelm us if we focus too much on the what, how and why it all went wrong. Fortunately, you can use these tips to move past the pain and into the vibrant future God plans for you.
1. Accept Your New Normal
While it’s natural to go through a season of deep inner self-reflection and grief, we are at risk of staying in the bitterness if we don’t forgive, accept and move on. At some point, we must confront the death of the dream, acknowledge our loss and begin to plant the seeds of hope for not only recovery, but full restoration.
Accept your emotional highs and lows as a normal part of the end of a relationship. Remind yourself that “this too shall pass.” Your emotions aren’t the truth but an indicator of your heart and its brokenness and need for the great Healer.
2. Love Yourself
God, in his infinite grace, “first loved us” so we could extend love to others. You are a valuable and worthwhile person. No man or woman defines your identity. You are complete in Christ alone. Take time to care for yourself and contemplate your wholeness in Christ.
3. Expect To Feel Rejected
When you get dumped, expect to feel rejected. If you are the dumper, expect to feel guilty. Find a Christian counselor and work through the facets and failures of this relationship before you jump into another one. Remember, you will go into the next relationship with all of your same problems unless you start to deal with them now.
4. Discover Who You Are
Now that you are on your own, figure out how you like to eat your eggs. Spend some time discovering what brings a smile to your face in this season of life. Explore new hobbies, rediscover old activities and embrace the life God blessed you with.
For example, my ex-husband had a bum ankle and many of my favorite activities, like rollerblading, tennis and skiing, had gone by the wayside because he couldn’t keep up. It was time to pull out my equipment, reclaim my athletic mojo and head to the mountains and the beach!
5. Embrace Community
Find a group of like-minded friends and believers to do life with. Check out your local church singles groups and retreats and get involved with serving. Try hard to initiate relationships and go the extra mile to get outside your comfort zone to meet new people. You will be in that awkward space of un-coupled anyway, so now is the time to branch out. Finding people who understand and support you is like an energy drink for the soul. We need Jesus with skin on and God gives us one another to carry each other’s burdens and cheer one another on. Find your team!
If depression and rejection are too big to handle alone, please seek counseling and support. Divorce Care, Celebrate Recovery and many other groups will help you through the initial pain and shock. Your divorce or breakup does not define you. You are not a victim and you are not alone. It will take time to heal, and it’s not a process that can be glossed over by dating someone new or quickly replacing a spouse. Do the healing work to grow into the person God created you to be.
You may also be interested in Should You Tell Your Kids The Reasons Why You’re Getting A Divorce?