Many problem relationships can be healed, but unfortunately there are irreparable situations. How can one recover after having been left by his/her spouse?
Scripture tells us that we become “one flesh” when we marry. When one chooses to leave the relationship, there will inevitably be intense pain, perhaps at different times for the two people. How can we recover from such pain? How do we find the strength to go on, to even love again? Fortunately, we have been created in such a way that loving again is possible.
Surviving the Loss of a Love
Know that this is a “season” of loss.
You have lost someone very important to you, with significant ramifications for your life. Many areas of your life will be affected and you must anticipate difficulty as you make sense of it all. Know, however, that your pain will not last forever. Grief has a beginning and an end, with predictable stages. You can expect your sadness and confusion to be more intense at first, easing as time goes on. If you allow yourself to feel what you feel, to “be with” your struggle, these feelings will dissipate over time.
We cannot expect to function as if nothing has happened.
With grief comes anger, confusion, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, and often retreating from friends and family. We often want to be left alone as we attempt to make sense about what has happened. Trying to be “normal” in the midst of this suffering is incredibly difficult. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to struggle.
Resist the temptation to blame your mate.
While you have been left to pick up the pieces, it is likely they too have gone through their own struggle coming to this decision. They are likely going through their own grief process. While their decision is immensely disappointing, don’t slip into making them a “bad” person or holding resentment toward them. Your healing depends on working through your intense feelings over time.
Every loss brings lessons.
While incredibly painful, every loss brings opportunities for growth. While you may be confused, in time you will come to understand why your marriage failed. If you pay attention, you will learn things about yourself and your contribution to the difficulties. As you seek understanding, however, be kind to yourself. This is not a time for blame and self-punishment, but rather for gentle learning and forgiveness.
While you may be tempted to retreat or “go it alone,” you will need extra doses of comfort during this time. Scripture encourages us to “comfort one another” as well as to “bear one another’s burdens.” Talking to others who have experienced similar challenges will be particularly helpful. Allow others to come alongside you and help you through these very challenging times.
Expect your faith to be deepened.
Scripture is replete with examples of God walking with his children through trials and challenges. God never promised us an easy walk through life. He does promise, however, that He will take us through the fires of loss. He promises to give us comfort, hope, and strength for every situation that arises in our lives. We must, however, trust in his providence. Nothing comes into our lives what hasn’t passed through His loving hands. Expect loss and hurt, but seek His guidance.
Risk loving again.
Don’t slip into the temptation to seal your heart against hurt in the future. Any time you risk loving, you risk hurting. We don’t get any guarantees in this life, as much as we might want them. Be wise in putting your heart ‘out there,’ but do allow yourself to care about others again deeply. It really is the only way to live.