When I found out my husband was having an affair, my emotions were all over the place. Initially I told friends and family I was 40% sad for my son, 30% hurt, 20% scared and reluctantly agreed I was 10% relieved. I didn’t have to struggle anymore. The battle was over, the fighting was done, and I could begin to let it all go. I finally had the answer to the big question, “will this work out?” and the answer was, “No.”
When I got pregnant with my son (like most first-time mothers) I was bombarded with an onslaught of “unwelcome advice.”
“You should breastfeed”
“Bottles are fine.”
“You should co-sleep”
“If you co-sleep, you might accidentally roll over and smother you child to death in the middle of the night.”
Well a divorce is no different. During those first few months, I received advice ranging from:
“You need to get a lawyer, someone who will fight for you”
“You should just do mediation, it’ll save you a lot of money”
“You should try to get him fired.”
“You should try to reconcile. God hates divorce.”
“You should have left him after the first time. I knew he was going to do it again.”
“You need to keep that woman away from your son. File an emergency order.”
“You’re giving him too much time. You should fight for more time with your son. Every other weekend and that’s it.”
And the list goes on and on. Logically, I knew they were trying to help. Logically, I knew they loved me and were trying to protect me. But sometimes, the onslaught was overwhelming. Here I am, in complete survival mode, desperately trying to navigate the emotional wreckage of my failed marriage, and now I have to somehow decipher which advice is the right one to take? Not to mention the seemingly impossible task of making wise decisions in the midst of emotional chaos. And the worst thing you can do is make a lasting decision based on a temporary emotion.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t seek wise counsel. You absolutely should. The Bible tells us “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.“-Proverbs 15:22. Having wise counsel during this process is essential, and I love how protective my family and friends have been. But for me, I had to decide which advice I was going to take based on three factors.
- Was this what I wanted to hear, or what I needed to hear?
- Is this advice based on emotion? (fear, revenge, anger, bitterness, etc.)
- Is it in line with God’s word?
And while I love my friends and family, in the end, it doesn’t matter if I make a single decision that is pleasing to them. Because every decision needs to be pleasing to God.
Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:6 NLT
Every decision I make needs to honor God’s will and his purpose for my life. And sometimes, that’ll be displeasing to others. And sometimes I will fail. But my intention is to grow and follow the path He tells me to take through His word. And while my friends and family may be disappointed with some of the decisions I have made this past year, it doesn’t matter.
Because it’s not about them and me.
It’s about me and God.
I have no one else to answer to but God. And on the day of judgement I want to stand before my heavenly Father and hear those blessed words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
So yes, I try very hard to be kind to my ex-husband. Yes, I try to agree to his menial requests when he’s trying to pick a fight. Yes, I try to stand there quietly, when he acts like the victim instead of the perpetrator. And yes, I try to work with him, no matter how many times he’s spit in face. It doesn’t always work, but I try.
Because I am not called to live by the standards of this world.
I know better. And I choose not to fall victim to my emotions. I choose not to put my son at risk because of bitterness. And I choose not to let my ex destroy my character. I will protect myself, and trust God to make a way. I will rest in my truth, and let the rest of it go.
And trust me, it’s freaking hard.
But I can’t let my heart fill with the same hate, bitterness, and resentment I see in my ex. Because its not who God has called me to be.
And He calls me to be better.
To do better.
To live by His standard.
And in the end, its between me and God anyway.