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.