Did you ever wish you could sometimes freeze frame a moment in your day, look at it and say “this is not my life”?
That’s one of the more memorable quotes from the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, and it so aptly describes the way you can feel after a divorce. The new version of your life probably looks pretty strange and unfamiliar. Nothing is the way it’s supposed to be and all you want is for someone to understand what your life used to be like. I’m sure many widows and widowers can feel the same way.
When a marriage ends, so does the intimacy between spouses. Not merely sexual intimacy, but that deep connection that spouses have with each other: being one heart, one mind, one soul as well as one body. This loss of intimacy on so many levels can shake you to the core, leaving you with nothing but emptiness.
But the loss of sexual intimacy after divorce adds to the feelings of devastation and despair. Not only do you not have it anymore, but you are faced with the reality that you must be celibate until you marry again. This is not an easy pill to swallow for most.
I recently spoke with a friend of mine, Shannon, who has been divorced for over a year and really struggles with her desire for intimacy. “I know I’m not alone in this, I know there are a lot of other divorced people struggling, too, but I don’t know them. So being the only one at work and among my family and friends who is single is what makes me feel like I’m the only one in the world dealing with this. The divorced women I know from my kids’ schools or from the gym are not on board with celibacy and date to have sex, so they’re not women I can talk to about this.”
Having been previously divorced and single for seven years, I can so relate to this. Celibacy is a tough decision to make and commit to and because it’s not society’s way, you can easily feel like the Lone Ranger. But let not your heart be troubled, for when the struggle becomes overwhelming, you can find your strength in Divine intimacy.
The more we die to ourselves, the more we find God. We live in this superficial world which absorbs us so completely that it makes us forget the profound interior life where a soul may live in intimate union with its God. The Lord waits for us in the depths of our soul. We must escape from the exterior world from the superficial life in order to hide ourselves with the hidden God. — Divine Intimacy by Fr. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD
God is not only close to you during this time, He is present within you—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each time you receive Holy Communion, you are united with God, the Blessed Trinity, in the deepest and most personal way, and God resides in you. But your intimacy with God is also being cultivated and experienced through the sacrifice you are making, through dying to yourself by practicing celibacy and opening up more room in your heart for His presence.
Since we are bombarded all day, every day with sexual messages and innuendos, it can be extremely difficult to divert your attention away from sex. Here is a great little prayer you can say during times of struggle:
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you, I give you my heart and my soul. Please keep me close to you.
Repeat this prayer often. It’s a great way to refocus yourself on Him. This is Divine intimacy and no other type of intimacy can be more precious, more loving, more valuable. What a tremendous gift! I encourage you to receive Holy Communion as often as possible.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at @lisaduffy.