Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Unhusband

Sacrifices - I have made many.

They seem to be attached to love, and loving others, even when every bone in my body was saying “are you crazy?”

I had to dig deep at first; bit my nails and forgive, but it was all for the good, for the sake of a friend. 

A friend I married and then we divorced. It was actually my decision and he didn't protest.

Yes we are Unmarried;not ex’s and yes; some of my deepest sacrifices were to my Unhusband; Forgiveness being the hardest.

My unhusband … it is the name I have given the man I am divorced from. It was the word that Kristin Armstrong used for her first husband, Lance, after their divorce. It was in her book “Work in Progress.” I loved that book, it was a healing book for me. I was glad I had something so uplifting and positive and nurturing during my divorce. It was like a balm to sooth the ache in my heart and drew me closer to God. That book stuck with me. It made sense to me. I still pick it up once in a while for a refresher. 

My marriage was not all bad – in fact it was great most of the time, but then little foxes came in and stole the low hanging fruit. I just wasn't being attentive to the right things. So it wasn't entirely my husband’s fault; I played a part in my marriage and its demise, so calling him an EX is to biting. Unhusband is much easier on the ears and on the heart.

initially though, I did fall to pieces. I felt like I was floating around outside of my body – watching myself go through the motions of everyday. It took a long time before any day meant anything to me again. I just "was," and there were days I found myself crumbled in the corner in my friends office at my job, crying my eyes out.

It was all I could do to get up and go to work and make it home again to bed. I did remember to eat, most days. I just “did” it. I thank God for guiding me and being my co-pilot. He is the only real reason I made it out of the divorce pit with all of my wits about me.

Divorce is so biting and it cuts so deep, but our divorce was actually the beginning of healing for the two of us; and it brought us back to being good friend.

That didn't surprise me, really, I had always wanted to reconcile. The waiting is the thing that tries your heart and makes healing seems to take forever.

Or so it seemed like forever.

Until I woke up one day and I felt nothing but good about him again. That was what I had been waiting for. That day was a good day. That was the day I knew all was forgiven.

But by all rights I should have walked away for good, leaving him with the decision he made; I should not have acknowledge him, but I couldn't forget him.

In my humanness, I should have slandered him and made him pay for what he did, him and his Affair.

But Love requires MUCH more than that. Especially love for my Unhusband.

This divorce was an emotional divorce; conceived in outright, in my face unfaithfulness, full of lies and slander; and name calling and a “paradigm shifts,” as he called it … but from a Christian point of view, it still deserved and required forgiveness.

It tore my heart out. It was a tear to my soul, and to his, though his Affair soothed it by feeding him stories of how she could take care of him better than me and that I was outdated.

But, he was my husband … the one I had waited for (through several other UN-relationships), he was the one who swept me off my feet; quieted all of my fears and put a smile on my face every day; he gave me a skip in my step and hope in my heart of all good things to come.

And in an instant - it was over. I saw a side of him I didn't know existed. None of the by-products of unfaithfulness were ever seen in the man I knew.

That is when I hit a brick wall, flat faced, unable to go on. NO one understood; how could anyone have possibly understood? I could have listened to a hundred testimonies of couples who had been divorced and to me, no one understood.

Your divorce is always the worst; no one else’s can compare.

But when it first happened; I despised him, to his core.

The energy used to fuel such hate; hate that can produce deadly venom; venom needed to back-bite and fuel the blaming that is caused by such an act of betrayal, to keep rekindling the “junk” that need to be left behind is exhausting.

It devastated me. This man that I loved so much and that loved me; how does one suddenly “shift” on a dime, throwing years, and me under the bus?
It was utter betrayal, and how do you love and forgive that? 

Is it really humanly possible?

I hated him and his Affair. She was shorter than me and had darker, longer curlier hair, with dark skin and more endowment than I had been given; and she was pushy and prickly and very abrasive and intimidating, a bully for sure … and beguiling enough to tempt a married man away from his wife.

I had dreams of doing terrible things to them, like, running them over with my school bus or running head-on into them at the red light in town. Or a variety of other things that are probably better left unsaid.

I chose to not cause a scene. I chose to be a woman of virtue and put my fists down, put my head up high, my shoulders back, and walk away from both of them.

I didn't look back.

I NEVER felt such passionate, intense feelings of hatred and bitterness toward two people ever in my whole life.

The Affair, you can expect that part of the equation to hate you, because when it gets right down to it, I was a threat to her; I was his wife; But my husband turning on me? That I didn't understand. He was not a hater. Having both of them turn on me … my humanness did not understand.

How does someone turn so quickly?

I will never wrap my mind around it.

And the hateful feelings I had, they were getting worse. I began to spiral backward. I was developing a biting tongue and I didn't want to live like that; life is too good and too short to be bitter and base.

I needed to do something, and I needed to do it fast.

SO … I called on my pastor for advice and a few women who had been through divorce to see if they had struggled with these things and how they dealt with it, and every person I talked to repeated what the one before had said … that I had to forgive them.

And to that I just said … “
, you are kidding, right?”

I was totally caught off guard with that response; but I took their advice and I started my forgiveness journey.

I was sure there was a lot in the Word about it, so I went there first.And sure enough, right there in black and white it was written that we must forgive.
REALLY – was Paul kidding? How did he expect me to do that?

So I read up on it some more, and prayed for understanding and sure enough, this is what I found.

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Also in Colossians 3:13 he says again;
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

I meditated on these verses for many, many days; days that turned into weeks; and weeks into months; and months into a few years. Meditating on the Word made me think about the kind of person I wanted to be, because I sure didn't want to be a nasty, unforgiving, bitter, slandering person going forward in my life.

I thought to myself, “Being that way could put me in my grave,” so I got to work.

I wanted peace in my soul. I wanted to be happy again and smile, not let the enemy steal my joy and take away my chance to be happy in my life.

I really believe that un-forgiveness is something the enemy uses to destroy people and I was NOT going to be destroyed. I had always been happy and joyful and I was bound and determined to be that way again.

Friendship with my Un-husband was my main goal. To talk with him and laugh with him again; To me, that would be a great reward.

And four years later that is exactly what happened. 

My first and only instruction on forgiveness from my pastor was to just start saying, “Jesus, I forgive them, and I am sorry for my part in it too.”

I prayed for their lives to be blessed and for him and his girlfriend to be in safety. I prayed they would realize that God does want them to know that he loved them, but mostly, that I did too. I spoke no ill will toward his Affair, and the fire of hate I felt toward her began to go out.

The first few prayers I felt like I had sand in my mouth, but after a couple of days the prayers got lighter and easier. And forgiveness felt less and less like a sacrifice and more like a gift.

I don’t know how God does the things he does, but within the last year my Un-husband and I have become good friends again; and he has ever stopped living with the woman he left me for. 

To me that is proof of answered prayer.

Forgiveness is a spiritual as well as a command. Jesus wants us to forgive for a reason, and that is for reconciliation, and to stop living in the past, because staying in the past will eat a hole in your soul. 

And no one gets anywhere when they keep looking backward.

I had to understand that Jesus forgave me when I sinned, and he forgives with no hesitation. And for me as a Christian; I had to forgive and love my Unhusband even when I still felt so terrible toward him, it is just amazing how it works.

I can honestly say today, I love my Unhusband with a love like no other; a pure love, a friend love, an “Agape” love. One that isn't selfish or unkind or full of expectations.

 It just is.

Praying the prayers for forgiveness that I prayed was a sacrifice. It was very hard to begin a forgiveness journey, and it took a long time (to me) to reap the rewards of them; but it was something I needed to do to make myself whole again, and my unhusband too. 

Forgiveness has allowed me to love someone I found very unlovable at one time, and that is a great gift from God, a sacrifices worth making.

One closing thought:

"Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Whoever Unknown is ... they were a very wise person.