By Brie Gowen
I have come to a point in my life where I don’t talk much in the way of specifics about my first marriage that ended in divorce. The thing is, it took a lot of time for me to move past it emotionally, and now that I’ve finally found the healing I need I try not to pick at it. But some subjects, like the one of trust, require a little thoughtful contemplation. Call it a remembrance, if you will, not of what happened to me, but of what God did afterwards.
I was sitting on the couch watching television after a long day at work when my then husband walked in the door. Almost immediately he said with seriousness that we needed to talk, and after that conversation nothing was ever the same. Despite the poorly veiled attempt for him to call it a trial separation, it was immediately apparent that he wasn’t happy being married to me anymore. In fact he said, “I’m not happy anymore,” so you can’t really sugarcoat that kind of confession. My heart was broken.
The thing was that I loved him and I didn’t want a divorce. Regardless of how my eyes became opened in the aftermath to how toxic our relationship had been, at that moment I felt pure rejection. I was broken, and there’s no quick mending for a woman’s heart. Even when I later found myself cautiously transversing through a new relationship, I was held back by my past pain. I was held back by my lack of confidence in myself, as it’s common to feel like you’re lacking in some way or another after you’ve been found unlovable. Just being honest.
We didn’t talk about it then, but my husband mentioned it to me the other day.
“I know that was a hard time for you,” he trailed off, after the subject of our first year of marriage had come up.
Indeed, I had been an injured woman trying to move on with a life of happiness, but in full disclosure it had taken years for me to completely let go of the hurt my heart tried to hold on to after the dissolution of my first marriage. It was hard to entrust my heart completely to another man. It was hard to completely see myself as someone worth being married to. Much like the grief experienced at the death of a loved one (though not comparable), I had gone through all the stages as I maneuvered through getting over my divorce. It’s not something as simple as you sign the papers and the emotions are gone. You have to learn to trust again, learn to love again, and most importantly learn to love yourself again.
The next few years following my broken heart were much like a refiner’s fire. I had to face my pain, but also face my own faults. I had to take ownership of my wrongs, but I also had to realize that in the end, for my particular situation, there was nothing I could do to mend the relationship. I had to let go of sole blame, and I had to get past the blame I wanted to place. I had to forgive, and I had to learn to trust again. But here’s the thing about trust.
It’s even harder to rebuild after it’s been tarnished. Once you’ve been hurt you tend to build walls around your heart, and opening yourself up is a vulnerability you’re not eager to jump into. For me I had to understand my own imperfections, but also the imperfection of mankind. I had to understand that yeah, it was hard to trust another man to fully hold my heart, but I could trust the One who made it. I could surrender my heart to God, I could accept His healing, and I could trust His hand in my life. I could trust the future He had for me, and I could truly believe that it was a future of happiness. It was okay to be happy!
Psalm 37:4-6 ESV
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
I am married now to the most wonderful man, a partner that I know God intended for me. I have learned to trust love again by fixing my eyes on a Savior who shows us all His perfect love. I am able to see myself as worthy of very good things because I see myself through His eyes. Loving my spouse and being found attractive by him are just bonuses. Broken hearts can be healed. Trust can be found. Happiness can not only exist, but relationships can thrive, even after a broken heart.