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Divorce & Annulments

“I would give anything to have to a man’s dirty clothes left on the floor to pick up!”
 
A friend of mine who’d been divorced several years had that reaction to an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” in which the character Deborah calls her husband, Raymond, an idiot as she picks his underwear up off the floor.
 
“I can’t stand wives that don’t appreciate their husbands… you never know what you have until you don’t have it anymore!” my friend complained.
 
During the seven years after my divorce I spent as a single woman, my hope to remarry was a constant theme in my life. I was actively seeking a new relationship and rather impatient at that.
 
I would go to 7 am Mass each day and soak up the glorious silence of the post-communion reflection moments, offering God my day and asking Him to use me as He saw fit (hoping that would include bumping into the right man). In fact, all my prayers included that wishful interjection: “Lord, I am ready to meet him whenever you are ready to introduce us.”
 
One day at Mass, a family of six came in and the mother was holding the youngest,  most precious1-year-old with a beaming smile that was hard to ignore. I begged God that day to please end my single days and bring someone into the picture who I could share my life with.
 
And then He did.
 
Four years, a husband, and three children later, there were no beautiful silent moments at Mass with rich reflections. No, the peacefulness of Mass turned into wrestling matches with unruly children. I got more exercise at church by walking in and out with loud, crying children and leaky, poopy diapers that had stained my favorite dress than I did going to the gym. I was lucky if I got any prayers said beyond my morning offering — and daily Mass was a luxury. Honestly, all I really wanted was a nap.
 
But don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t be more grateful for the second chance God gave me to experience marriage and motherhood after surviving a terrible divorce and defying the medical diagnosis of not being able to have children. I am grateful every second! But with that sense of gratitude comes a bit of guilt and sadness over the lack of gratitude I had for the blessings that came with being single because I was so focused on wishing I was married.
 
 
Marriage is wonderful and something everyone who wants to be married will hopefully experience. Yet there is no perfect marriage. There is a lot of suffering and sacrifice that comes with it. Much like Robyn Lee wrote about in her article Letter From A Young Bride a few days ago, it’s important to count the blessings in the midst of the trials. 
 
In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, we learn that there is a time for everything:
 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
 
You might as well add to that “a time to be married and a time to be single.” And God’s timing is always perfect!
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5 Comments

  1. Theresa-827107 April 20, 2012

    Everybody loves Raymond is so depressing to watch. That’s not my idea of marriage. I lost my husband and would give anything to find that gift again.

  2. Rosie-837146 April 20, 2012

    it’s my first time posting so excuse me if i don’t make sense or i don’t stick to the subject :)

    Im divorced and have not remarried yet …the first part of this story described me so well :)
    I actually cried as i read it . everybody tells me that i should be glad to be single and that i should enjoy my time alone . my response to them is that I’ve already enjoyed my life, my career, travels , partying , movies etc.., I am ready to stay home on the weekends and enjoy ‘a family’ , my family ! i think the grass is greener if you water ‘ it’ whether you are single or married . I have to work on watering my side of the grass a little more :/

  3. Nina-525092 April 20, 2012

    It’s so true: we always want what we don’t have. Both being single and married have their pros and cons. I am enjoying a certain freedom right now that I have never experienced. I get lonely, but I was lonely in my marriage too. He traveled the world and left me home with 3 children. I slept alone as many nights in my 22 year marriage as I have since my divorce.

    Raymond’s show was a parody of marriage and family life. This article was written for the benefit of the divorced. Those that are widowed have a completely different experience. I cannot relate to their sense of loss because many times they are still in love with their spouse. As a divorcee with minor children, I still have to be in contact with the very man that destroyed our family unit. While both are very tragic, I recognize a very distinct difference.

  4. Stephen-725391 April 20, 2012

    I am reading this at McDs (McDonald’s) as my 17 year daughter sits across from me. She just experienced a raging of my Ex who she lives with. I read the portion of the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 from Lisa’s article and commented that “God’s timing is always perfect”. I wish I could say that I pray for my Ex, but when one is working so hard to destroy her own life and that of her own children, I find I have little tolerance, pity or prayer for that person. Maybe someone else can pray for her as I can’t!

  5. Julie-631165 November 11, 2013

    When I am at mass in my quiet, peaceful state as a single person and I see writhing little children I am overjoyed that they are there and making noise and annoying their parents. Understanding the difficult reality of marriage and family life and still sensing a space in my heart for is a strange paradox. I ask God for a spirit of Thanksgiving for the gift that my single life is not for my own benefit but for the benefit of those around me that I am free to serve. I pray against selfishness and self focused thoughts, negativity and temptations.

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