What Does It Really Mean To Be Healed After Divorce?

13
21

A common question among people trying to rebuild their lives after divorce is, what does it really mean to be healed? Does it mean you will never feel the terrible pain anymore?

The pain and suffering that results from going through a divorce can be debilitating. It is real, it is palpable, and you can’t just pop a few aspirin and make it go away. It is with you every moment of the day. Hearing a song, seeing a picture or encountering some other reminder of your ex-spouse can intensify the pain to the point it seems unbearable. In trying to imagine being completely healed and not having to suffer through the pain anymore, it might seem impossible, as if it will never happen. How could something so intense not affect you in some way for the rest of your life?

It is true that these traumatic life events affect us to our very core because we are frail humans, flesh and blood with hearts that were made for love. There will always be a place in your heart that is affected by what happened to you.

However, it is also true that in experiencing true healing, the pain will gradually fade and lose its sting. One day, it will become a dull prick to your heart that gets your attention, but doesn’t ruin your day or cause you to emotionally break down. Despite the memories that may come back without warning, they will be passing and will have no ability to disturb the joy and peace you have in your new chapter of life.

This might make some people sad, ironically, because if the pain has dulled and has no affect, it means they have let go of their marriage, and this can be a hurtful thought. They didn’t want to be divorced, they wanted to remain married and to let go of their marriage is unthinkable.

You might see yourself in this scenario, and if so, this is natural. Some people become very comfortable in their pain because it is a way of hanging on to the marriage they want so badly to have restored. The pain becomes their constant companion, much like their spouses were. As long as the pain is there, they have a connection to that person they love, even if they are steeped in resentment and anger. Somehow, letting go seems like saying they don’t care about their marriage. The pain keeps them tethered to the spouse they are unwilling to let go of. They would rather lead a life of pain and suffering than let go of the threads that keep them tied to their ex-spouse.

When I was going through my divorce, a wise man once told me that some day in the future when I was remarried and had children and a full life, I would find a memento from my marriage or watch a movie, hear a song… something that would bring back painful memories of my divorce and he told me it would hurt. I might even shed a tear. And you know what? He was right. That did happen but the great thing about that is, it didn’t wreck my day. Heck, it didn’t even wreck the moment. It just happened and then I kept going. There was great freedom in that experience. My first marriage was important to me and being able to still have a reaction to that devastating time in my life, but still be a happy person, meant everything. It meant I was truly healed.

The Anatomy Of Pain

There’s something really important to understand about the pain you are experiencing – pain is not a one-dimensional phenomenon. There are multiple layers of pain that are contributing to your overall suffering. For example, you may have had traumatic events during your marriage that are associated with this pain such as the loss of a child or an irreparable breach between family members. If you felt unloved by your own parents or even if you just have unresolved guilt over things you’ve done in the past, the feeling of failure that comes with divorce drags these other emotions out into the open. These are the layers of pain that are connected to the pain of your divorce. You may not be grieving your entire past, but it’s likely there are other events connected with your marriage that you are grieving as well.

This is why it is so important to take the time you need to properly heal. You need to be able to turn over every stone, analyze every detail until you make peace with it all and feel comfortable enough to detach from it and move forward.  The worldly answer to grief—covering up the pain with sex, alcohol or drugs, etc. to feel better—is never satisfactory. It will never be enough. It takes grace to heal and grace to overcome. Only God can dispense the graces we need to truly heal.

The best recommendation I can make to anyone who is in this situation is to spend as much time in Eucharistic Adoration as possible because you will have the personal time with Our Lord that is essential to healing. If you do not have access to an adoration chapel, keep prayer in your day as much as possible and find other resources to help you heal. If you’d like my personal recommendations, click here for a free download. And don’t forget, you can send me your questions at asklisa@catholicmatch.com.



13
21



13 Comments

  1. Paul-929810 February 18, 2015 Reply

    Odd isn’t it that Solomon had more than one wife, in fact it seems that most of the Old Testament Patriarchs had more than a bit on the side – Moses not only allowed divorce, but set the rationale for it, and even in Jesus day, according to one of the evangelists, a Church Elder (Bishop?) should only have the one wife! (so I suppose there were those with more than one!). And here we are, 2,000 years on and seem to be told that we must strive for perfection, and not only that, but achieve it every single day. I have even been condemned here on this site by some very healthy living Good Catholic Men, well educated theologians to boot, who either have no libido or who lie, but tell me that, as a single man, I have to refrain from any self stimulation as it’s a ‘Mortal Sin’ and any sort of sexual pleasure or relief MUST be reserved for these Judges who, by the way are married – thank you very much, while us singlies are supposed to overcome the desires of the flesh by prayer and abstinence. Well it just doesn’t work like that for me, and I guess 90% of healthy, single males with at least an ounce of testosterone in their red blood.
    Michael, my divorce left me absolutely destroyed, I’m sixty six now, still masturbating to quell the tensions, still single after 20 years of searching and sometimes desperate compromise. I don’t know why, but then I don’t know why God allows children to die in agony, nor lions to kill zebras – it’s a very weird world to try to understand, and the design seems barbaric to me most days. Is there a God – well, probably, is He Catholic? I’m not so sure!
    All I can do is wish you the very best – Paul

  2. Theresa-940522 January 29, 2015 Reply

    Wow! Michael: This is a heart-jerk/pull to read. I don’t know how old you are, if that matters, but finding peace after that kind of exposure to real life people behavior is the most common lack of virtue in people in all times of history and all generations. So….here is my question in search for answers to life’s toughest ?’s How in all God’s green earth is it possible to really KNOW any person fully before stepping into the marriage trap? then, have innocent children to bear the consequences of the faulty attachment? Who is the selfish one?

  3. Michael-952789 January 24, 2015 Reply

    I have no idea how I survived my divorce, all I could think was that it was evil and wrong and not supposed to be happening. But I suppose if I was like her and had a new handsome partner on the side wanting to marry me and give me money and all the sex I wanted or needed I suppose it would’ve been a lot easier.

    She’d come by to tell me things I did not want to hear after she divorced me for her co-worker. I’d start crying and she told me to grow up and that I had the emotional maturity of 14 year old. I said yeah so what I’m a broken shattered person, what do you expect we made a vow before God to be together till we died, she said well I don’t believe in God, grow up. It was then I said well I suppose it would be easier to have that other person to fall back on so I would not loose standard of living, not loose access to kids, and have wild great sex life. I said I lost everything what have you lost, you lost nothing. She got mad and sad I was accusing her of being weak, I said whatever just leave….

    The loss of sex, access to kids and having my standard of living fall off a cliff has been absolutely devastating, though I can say our sex life died many years ago, and I am certain I have a certain measure of insanity from that, my body screams at me everyday and has done so for years. I have made peace with the fact that I am a tormented person. And now the only women who flirt with me are married, or I am completely attracted to them. I pray and pray and try to goto church every day. I’m approaching 3 years of this. God does come to me , and I tell him all my torments and ask for strength to make it another day..

    I remember how so many times she treated me so badly, I’d read books, I’d talk to people and come to find out all she did was just look for new men behind my back. I was in serious prayer with God and I felt he was telling me to run away from her and it was ok, I said God his is wrong how can this be? I said I hate being single I have never liked being single and what about our kids, but I trust you God I am scared and I will tell her to stop threatening me and I will sign all her papers. Oh wow it was less than a month after I signed her papers I got access to her emails and text messages and I discovered the other man who had been suspicious of for a couple of years. She is a lawyer and married her co-worker. I was tossed out june 2nd 2012, divorced aug7th 2012(aug8th) was our anniversary) and she was married to that guy july 5th 2013.

    God knew she was cheating on me, and too I found all her dating profiles and after I did the annulment I realized all these other times where now I am certain she was cheating on me. I guess I feel better about being away from her but I hate being single. I am a man I am meant to be with a woman, but I suppose it hasn’t killed me yet but then too eating raw oats out of the container is ok too, but it would be nice to cook them and have sugar cinnamon, butter and some salt…..God kept me alive, he kept me from getting hit by that cement mixer when I stepped into a busy road, he kept me from putting the gun in my mouth, he kept me away from alcohol too. though few times he allowed me to experience wonderful intimacies I so desperately needed, and continue to desperately need, God thank you I cannot do it with out you, im saving my money for a wedding ring for the woman who will be my wife. I cant wait to meet her

  4. Maryanne-1108442 January 23, 2015 Reply

    My divorce was necessary, too! I could see that our marriage had turned a bad corner. One has to have a partner who wants to work with you to help resolve problems. There were many issues that needed addressed. But it can’t be all one sided. I am so thankful to my parish priest who has been able to see the issues and understood the need for the divorce. I was unemployed when the marriage ended. The next day I got a phone call, job interview and a job that has been a good fit. My advice is walk with Jesus, trust in him. He has a wonderful path for each of us to follow!!!

  5. TheresaMarie-1067205 January 22, 2015 Reply

    What about those of us that had to leave our marriages due to abuse!!! My spouse was physically abusive and not even the Catholic Church was going to tell me to stay in a marriage that might have ended in my being physically disfigured or maimed for life or worse yet-killed. Those of us that leave abusive marriages have a whole other set of emotions to deal with.

    • Andrea-1171825 January 23, 2015 Reply

      Hi TheresaMarie, I’m so sorry you were in an abusive marriage but I’m so glad to hear you got out! That takes a lot of courage and grit. I want to make sure you realize the Catholic Church does, indeed, tell men and women to leave a marriage that involves any kind of abuse. And you’re right that there is another set of healing that needs to take place in these circumstances … which also takes a hell of a lot of courage and grit. It sounds like you are on the other side. Isn’t the view beautiful from here? 🙂

  6. John B. January 22, 2015 Reply

    The other side of my argument is that I spend the best time I can with my children when I do have them. I take them to church. The Serenity Prayer helps me to avoid self-blame. The Prayer for Peace helps me to avoid anger. Adoration helps me to find answers. I light a candle each day praying that God’s Will be done. This is the cross I have been given to bear, and it gets more difficult the more I am attacked.

  7. John B. January 22, 2015 Reply

    I know I can say that I have done everything to save my marriage. My spouse did everything to destroy it, using the court system, lies, and manipulation to tie my hands, forcing me to take a silenced back row seat, watching as my children move from house to house, affair to affair, removing them from school, church, friends and family. I can move on, but I feel like moving on is leaving my children behind. The court system doesn’t look at mothers and fathers equally, and they do not consider moralities in their judgement. The costs and responsibilities of the court system go to the father and the children go with the mother regardless of best interest. It takes alcohol, drugs and physical abuse to change that. It is no wonder Fathers give up. Divorced fathers play a crucial role in the lives of the children too, and did not ask for a major piece of their life to be ripped from them, especially when they are the one to do everything right.

  8. Christy-1114773 January 22, 2015 Reply

    My divorce happened tragically, leaving behind a great deal of hurt for my children, as well as for myself. We are in the process of healing and will continue to heal. When some people encounter great hurt, they are able to appreciate, embrace and truly love all the gifts and joy that they have been awarded. This is what I am trying to show my children and what they continuously remind me of everyday. I am looking forward to what God has in store for us and our future. 🙂

  9. John B. January 22, 2015 Reply

    I couldn’t agree more.

  10. David-1130977 January 22, 2015 Reply

    I’m comfortable with the demise of my marriage. I can look myself in the eye and know I did everything i could possibly think of to try and save my marriage.
    What is truly evil however is the divorce process. Our legal system is designed for the lawyers and judges; not the citizens. Being dragged through that system is truly the worst experience there is short of the death of a child………and the attorneys and judges feed the system to their benefit.

Post a comment