You thought things were fine. Your marriage was steady. Your kids are fine, your house is nice, you’ve provided for everyone’s needs (or so you thought), and you get along with your wife most of the time. Sure, there’s the blow up once in a while, sex not as often as you’d like, some pet peeves lying around, but things are mostly good. Then she leaves or tells you to.
What do you do?
Ready or Not | Survive A Divorce
If you’ve found yourself suddenly on the receiving end of an unexpected announcement that your marriage is ending, then we have something in common. My ex-wife left without telling me our marriage was ending. I bought her a ticket to go for a visit to her parents. She never returned. I don’t know what stun grenades feel like, but I felt like an emotional stun grenade blew my emotions white. Empty.
I wasn’t wholly blindsided to the fact that she was unhappy. We had been through counseling, and I thought we were working on the issues that we uncovered. If I had seen it earlier, I might have been able to save my marriage. But there I was, alone in my bed, four kids dependent on me, no real answers, and no hope.
I found myself ping-ponging between anger, desperation, grief, pride, numbness, and just about every other emotion and attitude that a man can have. The deed was done, and there was just me, no more us.
Once the divorce was final and too late for me to try anything that might work, I started learning what I needed to make the rest of my life count for God. If I couldn’t be a good husband to her, I’d be a great man, whatever that meant. Great in the sense that God would be pleased no matter if anyone else would.
What do you suppose was my first step to becoming a great man? (BTW: I’m not claiming I am great – just striving) One word, submission.
You probably won’t find the word submission in a lot of leadership books. You won’t see it applied to men in a lot of marriage books (unless they are excellent!). Most of your friends probably won’t think to give you this advice. Submission sounds like a loser to many. Not to God.
Submission = How To Survive A Divorce
Submission is a straightforward concept. It means to willfully put ourselves under Him and anyone else who will lead us to Him. It’s what I discovered I needed to do. I discovered it by asking the question, ‘How did Jesus express His manhood?’ The answer was that He submitted everything He was and did to the Father.
I submitted to other men. I found godly men who would hold me accountable. Not ‘yes’ men who told me how sorry they were or how wonderful I was when I made a small step. I found brutally honest men who kicked me in the butt and showed me how nasty I really was.
I submitted to my children. My children where young adults and teenagers. I asked them to tell me when I was out of line, angry, rude, not likable, prideful, not like Jesus.
I submitted to the Bible. I taught the Bible for nearly twenty-five years with my words but found out my life was far from what I said I believed. I was always reading to find what was ‘right’ – not what was ‘good’. I started looking for how Jesus treated people.
I submitted to good books. Read books that talk about good men and how they live life. Read books about men who have loved well. Men who are praised by their wives because their wives feel loved.
I submitted to every inkling of the Holy Spirit. This is last but most important. You must strain to hear the silent, authoritative voice of the Spirit. He will give you everything you need. Once you hear, you must do, no hesitation.
Healing Comes | Survive A Divorce
When I started submitting, I began to heal. I was finally learning how I might survive a divorce. My anger dissolved, my pride (shown mostly in my judgmental attitudes) lessened, my determination to be a good man grew, my attention to people increased, my work got better, my walk with God became intimate in ways I never felt before, my kids became more precious to me, my whole life turned. Joy is a good word for it.
I stumbled a lot. I failed even more. But I kept submitting. I kept tapping myself out and letting the Spirit win. I intend to continue. There are many other things I had to do to recover from the separation and divorce I didn’t want, but this was the first step.
I have found God to be more than faithful. My life is abundant and joyous now – yours will be too – you’ll see.
Author: Jim Turner. Author of The Disconnected Man. Pick up a copy today.