by Cherise Holt, Brisbane, Australia
The definition, according to Wikipedia: ‘Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the final termination of a marital union, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage.’
To each individual, family and within society, the word divorce is laden with many beliefs of how it should be or feel, for self or for others… and in most cases emotional and painful events are greatly and personally associated with it.
Two years ago my marriage ended suddenly. I had gone from ticking the marital status box of ‘Married’… to ‘Separated’… and a year later, ‘Divorced’. I felt embarrassed to tick the latter boxes. I was dealing with the fact that my marriage was over, but I was apprehensive to let the world know that we had broken our vows which I had held so proudly for six years. Would this be the stereotypical label on me that I would forever want to hide – divorced, failed marriage, a woman with baggage?
As a child I attended church; I learnt that women who were divorced were once governed to wear a black veil to mass – a sign of continued mourning, perhaps? My understanding was that they were rejected within the community as failures. As a child I didn’t want this to be the case for me; I felt the hurt and humiliation that women must go through in these situations.
As an adult, I felt the stigma that comes with the term ‘divorced’. I also felt the reaction or discomfort of friends, and even strangers, when I would say the word: I too was once a person who would be stalled in sympathy, not knowing what to say if someone told me they were divorced. There is also that sense of judgment surrounding the one who departed the marriage, and the commiseration for the one left behind.
According to Australian statistics, every third marriage ends in divorce. That’s a lot of people potentially walking around feeling the shame, guilt or stigma of no longer being a part of a matrimonial union between two people.
As I have recognised my once held beliefs of divorce and ideals of marriage, I have felt to unreservedly discard them. I know my marriage could not continue, however I don’t feel to hold back from sharing great memories or experiences from a marriage I was once in: or how divorce has been a loving and grateful experience for me.
I listened attentively one day as Serge Benhayon presented how much true love he holds for his first wife… in fact the same amount he holds for his second. My first thought was, how can this be? In my experience, we live in a world where I have never seen this to be the case. I have since witnessed what a beautiful and truly loving extended family they share.
I felt inspired by Serge, and confirmation within me, that my experience of divorce is my own. My beliefs of how I thought marriage or divorce should have been were only ever derived from society or my perception of others’ experiences and opinions. But what is my own view on divorce? There is no such taboo of divorce for me; it is just a simple word with a simple meaning. Its use is nothing to be ashamed of, and its occurrence in my life is certainly nothing to be regretful for.
146 thoughts on “Divorce: Nothing To Be Ashamed Of”
Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, just another cycle of life, with the opportunities to learn, grow and evolve as you share Elizabeth.
When we realise we are love then being single, married, separated or divorced can carry the same quality of love, These things don’t give us love or take away love from us, it’s always up to us to be love.
It is amazing how we load a word with our beliefs and experience when it actually is something very simple. Unpicking of these beliefs frees us to move through life with joy and appreciation.
Serge Benhayon inspires me in many ways, ‘I felt inspired by Serge, and confirmation within me, that my experience of divorce is my own.’
Divorced, marriage, single, relationship and or engaged we are all one race at-least, so maybe as you have shared Cherise, we can treat everyone the same as the current system seems to be failing miserably.
Having been through a divorce myself I know where you are coming from Cherise. For me it was not that I had failed or we had failed rather I withdrew from myself and did some completely out of character things which led to the trust between us being destroyed. And so it was more of a reality check for me and learning about consequences of my actions rather than anything about our marriage. Effectively what I did was to dishonour the union and relationship we had, the actual divorce was honouring it by saying we are not going to accept anything less than the love we both know we are capable of individually and together.
If we let society dictate what we are to be ashamed of or not, we let ideals and beliefs govern our lives which leaves us not knowing what our own values are. We are rudderless in ever changing seas.
One day we will have a box named: de-forced. I will tick that one.
And I will tick the Im-Powered!
Regardless of which box we tick on the marital status list (even if that box changes) we are still the same person within.
Absolutely, the inner essence, who we truly are is what counts.
It’s true Elizabeth, just because we have not been married before does not mean we don’t have ideals and beliefs about marriage to work through and let go of.
There’s so many ideals and beliefs with regard to how we should be in life and it is so easy to judge ourselves and others not to be good enough. When it comes to a relationship status, anything but ‘happily married’ seems acceptable for a woman over certain age. I know I feel uncomfortable being single at times, but what I am learning is the discomfort/shame is more to do with how I am with myself in whatever status I am in.
Decades ago divorce carried a heavy stigma around it, I remember my mother being told that she should not get divorced for the sake of the children, thankfully she didn’t listen to them, and got divorced when many women remained in loveless marriages, it is so important to stand up for what you know to be true.
Having witnessed the divorce of people close to me when younger, I pretty much wrote marriage off as a no-go area. Going through a divorce was such a ‘drama’ – I didn’t feel marriage was worth the risk. Until recently that is. I got married for the first time two years ago at age 51. The marriage is founded on the understanding that even in such a commitment, there is a choice to be together every day and this is deeply honoured. This brings a freshness to the marriage and a high level of appreciation. Every day is an appreciation of that choice to be with each other. With this, I feel there is a level of awareness that if one of us chose not to be in the relationship, it would be honoured equally as a choice we have the right to make and in this awareness, there is no longer a feeling of the ‘risk’ of divorce, but a life of appreciation for the relationship – and this is very supportive way to be.
Wow, so that totally turns around the commitment. It is an appreciation of what you have which feels expansive and unlimiting, rather than a restrictive binding.
Thanks Richard for sharing so openly and congratulations on your marriage and new approach to being married. I also experienced divorce as a child and carried the idea that getting married was a risk, which I need to take a look at again. Divorce certainly hurt as a child but I don’t need to look at it this way again because my life now is based on love, and the understanding that anything I experience can be approached with love.
That’s awesome Cherise. Why we are made to feel bad about life’s events is beyond my comprehension. Why do we view such things as failures, why not learnings? Is there really any such thing is a failure, if we consider that the only reason something may not have had a great outcome was because we hadn’t yet learnt our way with it and in that there is something for us to learn from and take to the next step in our life.
Absolutely, divorce should not been seen as different to all other responsibilities we have.. As if we do we basically cut our life into pieces whilst actually it naturally is all One life. So this naturally needs honoring no matter the circumstances.
I too remember having all my fixed ideals and beliefs on marriage and divorce shaken up and reimprinted by the example and inspiration of Serge Benhayon and his family. Loving relationships with all includes all.