How to Make a Life After Divorce
Inspired by a reader’s comment – and based on the Parable of the Flawed Diamond – these tips for making a life after divorce will give you hope and strength for healing and hoping in your future.
In Surviving Divorce: Your Guide To Finding Hope And Healing After An Unwanted Divorce, G.D. Lengacher says the realization that you are getting divorced is a devastating experience. He describes how to deal with custody and co-parenting issues, deal with feelings of betrayal, rejection, and anger, and cope with being single again. Lengacher also outlines issues about financial income, debt, and insurance – discusses the pain, guilt, and humiliation that often comes with life after divorce.
You WILL get through this, and you WILL survive! You just need to find the hope, strength, and courage that already exists within you.
This is my reader’s comment on What is Relationship Closure? How to Heal Without a Goodbye, which inspired me to find a parable and write about how to make a life after divorce:
“I have done everything in the book to heal from my divorce: therapy, depression treatment, etc, but as days goes by I feel worse. I want to make them hurt like I am hurting. I don’t even care what happens to me afterwards; it can’t be any worse than this pain I feel. My frustration is that I feel there is something wrong with me: after all this time I am getting worse, and I hear about people pulling it together in less time. What light? I can’t even find a doggone tunnel!”
If you can’t see any way to make a life after divorce, read this parable. Tell me what you think in the comments section below.
The Parable of the Flawed Diamond
Once upon a time there was a mighty Queen who owned the finest diamond in all the world. People came from far and near to see the precious stone, which sat glowing in a display case.
One day the Queen passed the case and decided she wished to hold the stone that had given her such pleasure. As she gazed at it, a flash of sunlight happened to strike at a certain angle, and the Queen noticed for the first time that her diamond had a flaw.
She was distraught, because the jewel was so precious to her. She called for her advisers, who agreed the Queen should offer a reward to anyone who could come forward and find a way to fix the diamond.
Word traveled quickly, and soon diamond jewelers from throughout the land lined up to offer their suggestions. Each viewed the stone and shook his head. The stone was permanently flawed, they said, and the only alternative offered to the sad Queen was to cut the diamond at the flaw line and make two smaller stones. She would never agree to this.
A poor bedraggled man caught the Queen’s eye; he had been pushed to the end of the line. She asked if he, too, was a jeweler.
“No, I am not, your highness,” said the poor man. “I am a lapidarist – I form jewels, precious stone, and minerals into works of art. I see beauty not only in precious jewels, but also in stones from the ground.”
The Queen hesitated a moment and thought carefully. She almost turned the lowly lapidarist away, but there was something that glowed in his eyes that held her attention.
The lapidarist said, “Your highness, if you will permit, I can not only restore your flawed diamond – I can bring it to even greater beauty than it had before.”
The Queen stood quite still, examining the poor man’s face. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she ordered the lapidist to begin his work.
Her advisors were aghast. “How can you trust such a man with such a jewel? Please reconsider!”
But the Queen held firm. “You may proceed,” she said to the lapidarist, “but I warn you that if you fail, you will surely die.”
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The lapidarist was given a special room in which to work, one that glowed in the sunlight from many sides. The Queen watched as the man examined the stone and began chiseling around the imperfection. Startled, she demanded to know why the lapidary was furthering damaging the stone.
“Please, your highness,” he said. “Wait until I am done.”
A week went by, and then another. Frequently the Queen stopped by the workshop, and each time the lapidarist assured her all was going well.
Finally, the day came. With a look of pride the poor lapidarist entered the Queen’s chamber and, kneeling, presented her with the finished jewel. She loved her diamond so much, she feared what she might see. She looked down at the gem, now glowing in the palm of her hand.
The Queen was stunned. A rosebud was engraved around the diamond’s imperfection – and the lapidarist used the diamond’s flaw as the stem of the rose.
She marveled at the magnificence of the diamond, and the additional beauty of the rosebud carved within. Not only did the Queen have her precious stone, but it was now even more special than before. The rosebud glistened from every angle of the diamond.
“What do you wish for, as a reward?” asked she. The lapidarist bowed and gratefully declined any compensation.
“I have no wish for wealth or fame,” he said, “for it will blur my vision and prevent me from seeing the beauty in the flaws.”
How to Make a Life After Divorce
The Parable of the Flawed Diamond isn’t a magic wand that will take the pain of your divorce away. But – if you do the work – it might help you see your problems in a different light.
Your life is the diamond. Your divorce is the flaw. Are you willing to carve a rose out of the ruins, and be happy again?
Decide what you want to focus on
In How to Survive Your Marriage Ending, family mediator and counselor Terry McGeehan says, “Don’t dwell on what is lost, gone and over. Don’t make your divorce the center of your life. It’s one painful part of your life, but it doesn’t have to overrule everything else.” Are you focusing on the breakup, and ignoring the beauty and healing that is yours for the taking? You’ll never learn how to make a life after divorce if you focus on the fallout. Damage, pain, and destruction are the flaws you’re left with, but they don’t have to overtake your life.
Find a new identity
Because she let it, my friend’s divorce ruined her life. All she ever wanted was to be a mom first, and a wife second. Her whole identity was shattered when her husband left her after 20 years of marriage. They’ve been separated for four years, and she is still freshly devastated about the divorce. She refuses to re-create her identity, which is preventing her from seeing how to make a life after getting divorced.
Trust, accept, surrender
God, the sweet peace of surrendering to what is! Accept your life, your work, your family, your relationships, your endings for what it is right now. Do you really want to know how to make a life after divorce? You first need to accept that your old life is over. I love the sweet release of acceptance. I find it much easier to trust, accept, and surrender when I connect with God. I have faith that He is with me – whether I’m walking in the shadow of death or standing victorious on the peak of a mountain. I trust He knows what He is doing, I accept whatever happens in my life, and I surrender to the sweet peace of submission.
Make a life after divorce
The best tip for surviving and thriving after getting divorced is to simply make a life after divorce. Be deliberate about recreating your identity, starting over. Find the joy in being on your own again. You might have to dig deep to uncover the beauty of your flawed life, but I am 100% sure your marriage ended because something wasn’t working. You weren’t happy, or your husband wasn’t happy.
If you’re still in love with your ex-husband, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
What do you think of my ideas on how to make a life after divorce? I welcome your comments below, but I can’t offer advice or counseling. Writing about your experiences and emotions can bring insight and healing – whether you write here or in your personal journal.
May you be like the Queen in the Parable of the Flawed Diamond. You may not have a lapidarist to turn your flaws and pain into beautiful stems on roses, but you have the power to make positive changes in your life. If you’re willing to do the work.
Diamonds are chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs. – Minnie Richard Smith.