When my divorce happened, I was initially in a state of shock and denial. I thought, “any day now, she’s gonna wake up, realize what she’s doing, and we can get into counseling and move through this!” I thought for certain God was going to swoop in, perform a miracle, and this was going to be simply a used altar someday. Make no mistake, God performed many miracles, but restoring my marriage was not one of them. And for a long time, I didn’t know how to handle that.
My first thought was, “I know how to fix this! I’ll get married again!” Ha ha ha. Well, if you’ve been single for long enough to clear your head, you know how bad an idea that is. This is not to say that it can’t work for some, but that’s a very small some…maybe 1% of the population. I kept trying to leap out of my deep place and find a replacement wife. People would counsel me, “well, you need to be sure you’ve healed.” And they’d throw around timelines, “at least 1 year…at least 2 years…it took me 4 years…I was single for 10 years.” GAAHHHH!!! Not only did I not understand why I needed to wait so long, I felt completely constricted, almost suffocated (LITERALLY!) by these timelines. I would actually feel the need to grab at my throat and “go get some air” when someone tried to give me a timeline longer than a few months.
I couldn’t conceive of what I possibly had to learn in this millennia of singleness. Ha ha. That’s how it felt, but now, it seems a little funny. As I have disclosed, it has been four years. And yet, it seems it has gone by quickly. Four years ago, the thought of four years was unbearable. Now, I can’t believe I don’t have MORE time with my children. It pains me to think that in just twice that time, I will be watching my first begin working on his degree or his own business. What an incredible concept and strange power time is!
But I digress. Why am I talking about all of this?
Well, I didn’t understand the purpose of this time-in-between (look up Francesca Batistelli’s song Time In Between…wonderfully insightful!). Over time, though, I have begun to perceive positive ways to use this time, as I wait for whatever it is God has in-store (though I hope remarriage is in the not-too-distant future). Here are a few…
There’s a difference between Attraction and Interest.
I had never really learned my relational emotions that well. I knew what it was to be friends with people, but I had never had mature enough friends (no offense, y’all!) to understand the difference between being intensely interested in someone and being attracted to them. More specifically, the difference between intense interest and real attraction was something I never quite identified.
Early on, I found myself intensely interested in anyone who showed me or my family kindness. As time passed on, these people moved in and through my life, and I held myself back because of the above comments. As I did, I found out something new about myself, these elements of intense attraction.
My emotions can really lie to me…really well.
I am a passionate person by nature. I have known this about myself, but I had never really had a chance to feel my boundaries in this way. Typically, the moment someone found that I was attracted to or interested in them, I would become a social outcast to them, a pariah. I didn’t have time to move past the feelings of attraction and understand that my feelings were lying to me. In reality, what I thought was attraction was intense interest. This person was incredible in my view, but they were not someone I should consider marriage material (simply because of other relational incompatibilities). Having never had the opportunity to find myself there, I married the first girl who returned these feelings of intense interest. Sadly, her intense interest was intense self-interest in that I was her springboard to the next thing. Still, this was partly because of this immaturity in myself.
Time heals wounds.
Yeah, well, don’t think that this wound is ever going to go away. Brother, this is less of a wound and more of an amputation. There are still times when I will have a dream or something will trigger, and I’ll think I still have someone there to reach out to. Still, like all losses, it gets easier with time. Easier, not necessarily better. Some days, I can climb Mount Everest with ease. Other days, I wonder how I’ll survive the next hour. Maybe this is my own short-comings or maybe this is normal. Either way, time helps!
And time gives you that ability to sort out some of what went wrong. It’s not so much that you’ll suddenly have an epiphany of “if I did X, my marriage would’ve survived.” Even if you are one of the many guys who fell because you didn’t keep it zipped, the problem still starts in your head, and that starts in your heart, and that starts with the Lord. But even if it is just one thing, it usually means a lot of rework in you by Him.
Jesus’ plan is better than yours!
As my last thought, I want to tell you that His plan is better than yours. And guard your hearts fellers. I know just as well as you do that there are some beautiful creations that are rotten graves on the inside, and I am not talking about the obvious ones. Some are externally beautiful, speaking the right things, moving the right ways, but their hearts are full of guile and bitterness. They have not been reborn by our Lord’s redeeming blood. Run away. Don’t fantisize, mesmerize, or be hypnotized by the external. Look straight at the heart; as a speaker named J. John said to me years ago regarding intimate relationships, “If a woman doesn’t have a real relationship with Jesus, I want nothing to do with her.”
Jesus has a plan for you, brother! If you are His child, having accepted His sacrifice for you, then He has a plan for you and for your life! You may not see it yet, but this time in your desert is here to bring about His redemption in your life. He is coring out the death and destruction that is inside you and replacing it with His Spirit. Like Moses, He is extracting Egypt from your soul so that you can lead your nation to the Promised Land. Like Jesus with Peter, He is preparing you, bringing you face to face with your sin (Peter’s denials) so that you can look into His eyes of forgiveness and declare “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you!” (John 21:17b)
Let Him guide you, direct you, and build you back up into His workmanship. He has a reason for this time of singleness! Let Him do the work.
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” – Luke 9:23
Vires et Honorem