What you need to know:
Healing is a painful process, but it makes us better humans. Treating a heart wound is like treating a physical wound.
A heart wound, in the case of divorce, is caused by the pain and trauma that results from the loss of the marriage.
While there is no longer stigmatisation and labelling of people as divorcees, there is much hurt with a couple ending a marriage. The unnecessary drama is pain’s way of speaking. Pain shouts and if you have no idea how to deal with it, you end up causing more pain.
Hurting people hurt others, remember?
What we do not hear much about is that healed people heal others. Healing is a painful process, but it makes us better humans. Treating a heart wound is like treating a physical wound.
Both entail emptying of the decaying, toxic matter, to allow fresh blood flow and heal the wound. A heart wound, in the case of divorce, is caused by the pain and trauma that results from the loss of the marriage.
While most people enter a marriage expecting it to last until death do them part, unfortunately, there comes a time when it is no longer feasible to continue in it. How does one heal from a broken marriage?
Start with the basics. Acknowledge that love is not an electric bulb. You cannot just switch it off because a marriage has come to an end. Love is like a tree. It takes time to grow strong roots, to hold firmly on the ground, and to remain steady amidst the winds, storms, and the vagaries of nature.
In a marriage, love takes acceptance, and work. However abusive the marriage was, the love that had grown with all its expectations and goodwill takes time to dissipate. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grieving the loss of that love.
Do you know why you must allow yourself to grieve? It is because you are burying the dreams you had about raising babies, marrying them off, growing old, and laughing at your creaky bones, together with the spouse of your youth. You are grieving the loss of your ideals.
Your tinted glasses are off and you now clearly see the reality of who your spouse is, who you are, and how your values do not align. In fact, they never connected, you just did not want to accept that reality.
You grieve the end of a marriage; however bad it was because you are also dealing with yourself, questioning your life choices, and trying to understand why you put up with someone who hurt you, physically, emotionally, financially, and in other ways that they did.
You are coming to an understanding that you need to heal from your childhood trauma that normalised abuse, and rejection. You must unlearn that being maltreated is not heroic and that being a nice person is not the same as being a good Christian spouse.
Your grief teaches you to look inward and accept that it took two to tango. You played your part to make it break down, grief helps you own up to your responsibility. Whether your spouse owns up or not should not concern you.
As you grieve the end of your marriage, you learn to accept the reality of different perceptions. While you perceived love to mean loyalty, companionship, care, and absolute integrity, your spouse perceived it as something else.
A broken marriage is not something you swiftly move away from and to the next person. Unless you already had moved on, which is a different discussion. Remember, you had vowed to honour, desert all others, and love this person, until death do you part.
You did not vow to terminate the marriage before the death. But death can visit your marriage in other ways. A third party, for example, or any one of you can bring death in your actions or words.
Allowing grief is not only healthy for you but for your children and other people. You can turn bitter and toxic if your heart wound continues to fester, unchecked. You emerge better, healed, and ready to try again because the human spirit is undaunted. Please heal, so that you can experience love differently and offer better.
Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.