When the love, admiration and “respect” in a marriage begin to erode and each person finds themselves with their hands tied, divorce seems like the only option. Well, if you’ve ever been down that road or danced on the edge of making that decision, take a moment and listen to our story. The only difference between my and my husband’s situation and as heartbreaking as it was, is that we went through with the divorce. However, our goal is to not have other couples go down that same road. Take a moment, sit back and watch our story! We hope it truly blesses and inspires those of you who are entertaining divorce or those of you who are simply going through a tough time in your marriage. It’s an inspirational story that puts God smack dead in the middle of your relationship/marriage. We pray it blesses you! Herman and April.
While Herman held up one end, I hefted my end of the sofa and started up the two flights of stairs. We were moving into our first apartment together. As we maneuvered our way along, one of our new neighbors came out of his apartment and saw what we were doing. “You need help?” he asked.
“No, thanks,” Herman told him. “She’s got it.”
The neighbor looked at me and shook his head. “Girl, you don’t need to do that,” he said, and he came over to lend a hand.
That little moment planted a seed in me. Maybe, just maybe, Herman and I had different roles to play. Maybe I didn’t have to do everything he did. It would take years for me to really get this, but that was the first time it even occurred to me that the differences between men and women might lead us to take on distinct responsibilities in our relationship. Obviously, I knew he was physically stronger than I was, but that didn’t stop me from trying to match him step for step in moving furniture, mowing the grass, landscaping the yard and even in our career aspirations. I’d watched my mother do it all as I was growing up, and I became convinced that was just the role of a wife.
Now don’t get me wrong, Herman had no problem taking care of the “heavy” lifting and pulling and dragging in our relationship when we first started dating but in the beginning, it was just the two of us, there weren’t any other people around to call to help us out, so I “pulled” my weight! We pushed, pulled, lifted and dragged everything, including our incomes, “together”! I think it didn’t bother me so much because I grew up watching my mom get down underneath cars to change the oil in them. I saw her dig huge holes in the ground to put in a fence, and so on and so on, therefore helping out and pulling my weight was nothing new to me. I thought, “this is what you do in a relationship, you help out”! Well, unbeknownst to me, we were all kinds of out-of-order. Now don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that everybody wins when “everybody” pitches in to get the job done, however for me, I honestly thought that going as hard as my husband did equated to me being a good wife.
This idea of the “go hard good wife” played out fairly well in the early stages of our relationship because quite honestly, there was nothing else to contend with. It was just Herman and myself, doing laundry, climbing on ladders to repair broken light fixtures, me holding a flashlight in the freezing cold of the night while he fixed something under my car, you know, the everyday, single people quick fixes. Well, after we were married and purchased our first home and our twins came, this is where the problems with the “go hard good wife” began to surface. I had always agreed to take care of the inside of our home as well as run outside to steady the ladder while he balanced himself on top to clean out the gutters or rake the yard while he cut the grass or even hold the limbs back while he chopped the trees and even sometimes just getting right in the bush to chop the trees myself if need be. It was my decision to always be there to do whatever needed to be done, after all, this was all I knew because as a little girl I had watched my mom do all of these things. Well, a clean house, loads of laundry to fold, prepping dinner, breastfeeding and tending to “2” babies at one time all the while holding down a demanding, full-time job was never apart of the equation when I made this “agreement” with myself early on.
I tried desperately to keep this act up after the kids were born but after a while I begin to become irritated easily and somewhat angry and bitter that I had to do “All” of this work. “Who’s going to help me”? Is what I began to lament constantly to my husband. The “go hard good wife” model was starting to unravel. I had no idea what was happening but all I knew is that I “could not” take on all of this work and responsibility alone. We began to fight and argue a lot about whose responsibility it was to do what in and around our home.
So fast forward from those really tense moments in our home to our counseling sessions that we were going through after we had decided to repair our relationship and were in talks to remarry. A very wise pastor in our hometown of Prattville sat us down after hearing about how we had messed up in the beginning with me trying to be all things to Herman in our marriage, and he said something to us that honestly changed our “Lives”! He looked at me and said, “this time around April, let him be the husband. God made him to take care of you, not the other way around. He was designed to protect and take care of you and the family you both created together. And then he turned to Herman and politely and quietly whispered, allow her to be your wife, nothing more, just your wife. She’s a beautiful, sacred gift from God, treat her as such”. We looked at each other and you would’ve thought somebody had just given us the cure to cancer! “We know the secret”!!! Lol! And we were ready to put this little information to work! We thought, “Wow, it really is that easy isn’t it! Why has no one ever said this to us before”! Well, we took that word and we were on a mission from that day forward to treat each other with the respect and care that each required. Not as our parents had done it but as we now knew how to do it. It was our goal now to take care of one another and to make sure the other wasn’t too stressed or too overwhelmed or too tired at any time in our relationship, well, as much as we possibly could.
Those words echoed in my spirit daily as we began on our new adventure as a newly second time around married couple. I began to embrace who God made me to be in our second marriage, my husband’s wife, nothing more. And as I began to loosen the reigns of taking care of everything and everybody and looking after every situation, which in the end, only made me bitter and angry and tired all the time, I began to see my husband easily take on all of those responsibilities of which he wanted to do in the beginning but couldn’t because I was the “Good Wife”. In stepping back and embracing who I am to my husband, he became so much more attentive to my needs as his wife, not “doer of all things”.
I found that as my husband’s wife, all of my needs are met but when I was playing his equal, it seemed as if I was never fulfilled. Always requiring or needing more. More time, more rest, more space, more money, more help, just more! The responsibility of taking care of, seeing after and providing for me and the kids ultimately falls on my husband. His job and/or role in this marriage is pretty significant and probably the most important. He is to ensure that “all” of us are okay, at all times. My role, ultimately, narrows down to merely making sure he is! When many of us begin to see that this is the true secret to a happy, healthy and thriving marriage, everybody Wins! I’m forever embracing my role as his wife, his “helper”, not his equal. #HowMyDivorceSavedMyMarriage #HMDSMM
When you grow up seeing things done, dare I say, “the wrong way”, you then tend to emulate that “wrong” thing. I grew up with both parents in the household but there was a difference in what I saw and what I guess I should have seen. My mother essentially ran everything that went on in our household when I was younger. My dad, was just the cool, fun parent. He didn’t really get down into the mud of the goings-on in and around the house but he was there and I’m truly grateful for that. I saw him everyday, I hugged him, I kissed him and laughed and joked with him and I also had little spats with him (that’s what we do as teenagers, lol), he was daddy but for some reason, he wasn’t the one I ran to when something went wrong or if I had a problem and needed it “Fixed”. It was Moma. She made the rules and called the shots and was the end all be all around my way and if you broke one of those rules, then it was “her” that you answered to, not my dad. So fast forward, 20 or so years and I’m married with an Amazing husband and 2 beautiful children and I am now mimicking my mother and father’s relationship…in my marriage. But now something’s very different. I didn’t marry my daddy! LOL! And I’m laughing because if you know my husband, you know that he’s very kind and humbled but he’s a very strong and confident man and he takes no back seats to anyone. So, for the most part, no, I didn’t marry my father. Unless of course, you take into account my husband’s very comedic side and his ability to stay calm and cool during moments of sheer “craziness” and how he somehow seems to never “sweat the small stuff”. So in those instances, yes, I guess I could say that I married someone very similar to my dad! However, I think those are just some of the amazing qualities that my dad has that I absolutely adore about him. I actually admire those things about my father but that’s about it as far as my husband being “like” my dad.
My husband grew up in a household where his dad was the one who called the shots, so to speak. It was his dad’s “wrath” that they feared when they did something wrong and it was his dad that they went to to help them handle certain situations. I mean, don’t get me wrong, his mom was a strong woman and didn’t play the radio with all four of her kids but when it came to respecting daddy and him having the final say about particular happenings, that was who my husband was use to dealing with, not the other way around like in my situation. So when my “Mother”began to rise up in me (during our 1st marriage) and her tendency to fix, take care of and handle “Everything” within our household and even beyond our household (with the kids, school, work, events, outings, etc), this is where the problems began for us…but I didn’t know any better. I hadn’t seen it done any other way. Therefore, I was only “mimicking” what I saw and how I thought marriages were run.
We went through a lot during those years, part of which led to our first marriage ending in divorce. However now, in this second chance we got, I had to learn to respect who my husband was in our marriage. Now granted, my mom only did “everything” and made all of the decisions because she had no other choice at the time. She was the breadwinner and the bread fixer. Even though my dad worked and he did his part, that was it. My mom, in my eyes and in the eyes of most of my siblings, made the world go round’ and during our first marriage, I had begun to take on that same “Superwoman-esque” mentality but the only difference in marriage was that, I didn’t have to. So we fast forward to now, after divorce and remarriage and alooot of “unlearning”, I distinctly remember my husband telling me back then, that “he was not going to be the type of man who just sat and waited to take instruction”. He had to remind me constantly that I was not my mom and he was not my dad and we didn’t have to take on our parents personas. We were who we were and this was our chance, our opportunity, to do it differently from what we saw. We live in that now! My husband has told me that even though his dad called the shots in his house when he was growing up, his mom was still where the ball dropped. And although he saw a much more “balanced” idea of marriage while growing up, he still admits that things were still lopsided and that his mom did probably way more than she should have been doing, but that that wasn’t our issue. They, both of our parents, did the best that they could with what they knew and how they were raised. This, now, is our opportunity to make our marriage and relationship different, better than what we saw as kids and by God’s grace,we’ve started on that path. Now this meant me stepping back, Lord help me, lol and allowing him to lead from the front. Something that made me very uncomfortable in the beginning, questioning his motives for doing certain things and making certain decisions but I knew that this man had my and our families’ best interest at heart and that God had truly ordained this union (the 2nd time around for sure, right, lol) so I had to be obedient…and faithful and learn to step back.
I’ve learned the second time around that Marriage, the way God intended it, is truly more about respecting one another in the roles that you’re in. For example, helping one another and being there for one another in whatever capacity you play in the relationship. My husband most certainly is the head of our household and I had to learn to accept and respect his role in our relationship. However, because he is the head of our family, he doesn’t take that responsibility lightly nor does he disrespect the position by “acting” in a way that’s contrary to how God intended. Therefore, head of household for us simply means, God’s desired role for my husband, a leadership position but still a role that involves joint discussions and decision making where it involves any member of our family. It means that my husband is essentially the burden bearer of our family and the responsibility to take care of and protect us, mentally, physically and spiritually falls on him but my role as his wife and help mate is to help him shoulder some of that responsibility. Marriage made me acknowledge his role as head of our family but divorce, made me respect it.
She came home the other day and said, “Moma, Alexis was crying all day today”. I asked, “Why was she crying”? She said, “her dad told her that he wasn’t going to be living with them anymore”. I asked, “why, are her parents getting a divorce”? And she replied, “yes moma and she is so sad”. So I began to comfort Asia’s friend through comforting Asia, even though her friend wasn’t right there in front of me, I felt like Asia was having somewhat of a difficult time with this as well, so I began giving comforting words to Asia, therefore by osmosis I guess she could pass them along to her sweet friend Alexis. I felt so bad for this little girl and Asia. I told Asia, “well honey things like this do happen but it will be okay. Let your friend know that these things sometimes work themselves out. I mean look at me and daddy, we got divorced and we wind up back together”. Asia looked at me very innocently and said, “I know moma and I get it but telling Alexis that is not going to make “her” feel better, her parents are getting divorced ANYWAY”. I stood there in awe. For 1., how is my child so calm and so wise about this topic. I know we’ve talked to them (her and Bryce) about what happened between mommy and daddy and we discuss a lot about the times when we were apart and all of what we felt and went through during those times. So I get it that this conversation would be easy for her to deal with but wow, I’m almost a little proud and a little shocked all in the same thought. But what really took me by surprise was what Asia said about her friend’s situation, “her parents are getting a divorce “Anyway” moma”. The fact that for this little girl, her parents’ story would more than likely end quite differently than Me and Asia’s dad. Yes, we ended up “remarried” after our divorce but listening to Asia and her sense of “Finality” about divorce made me realize that yes, sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. Sometimes it just wasn’t meant to be and there is nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to whitewash it and put pretty flowers around “Mommy and Daddy are getting a divorce” to make it more palatable for others to receive.
We have to get to a place where we accept the hand that’s been given to us instead of trying to make something work that was probably never really meant to be in the first place. Now I’m not at all referring to Asia’s little friend and her parents situation, I don’t know their situation in detail and however I still do believe that God can “Do Anything”, if we are willing participants. However, I do believe that sometimes, the relationship will not be saved and the best thing we can do is to walk away but with love and peace in our hearts for the other spouse. I was so very proud of Asia that day. As I know the topic of divorce is still a somewhat “emotional” topic for them (her and Bryce) because they actually experienced it but I’m more grateful everyday for my divorce because it has allowed even my children to come to the realization that “hey, things happen and people do sometimes stop loving “each other” and divorce is a real reality for some mommies and daddies”. How could such strength and courage (Asia’s ability to talk so candidly about divorce and her hurting friend) come out of something so very ugly and hurtful (separating your family)? My answer, God! And his amazing ability to make something “Good” out of something that was so “Bad”. My divorce not only saved my marriage but it has also given even my children the courage and strength to speak up about it and to even share their parents story but to also know that sometimes, it doesn’t work and that’s okay too. #My Divorce Has Blessed My Life For the Better, It Saved My Marriage.
I remember the day I finally left our marriage. It was the day that I had had enough of crying & praying & trying & talking & putting myself out there to my husband in ways that were not necessarily the norm for me. I gave it all up. I threw my hands up at God & told him, I can’t fix this. This is your child and your situation, have at it. Not realizing that that was the day God unfolded his arms, smiled a smug little smile, poured down something on the inside of me that gave me strength to walk away & he began his work on the both of us.
See, I had always figured that I, or “We” needed to be the ones to fix our marriage. You know, that thing that “we” put together (never even for one second considering God’s power in our marriage). I mean, I prayed to him & talked “at” him about possibly “assisting” me with my marriage but I don’t think I ever consulted him “specifically”. Because I realized that in consulting him, his will, which in my opinion, was very methodical and slow moving, would now be in play and I would have to relinquish my will and my desire to “hurry up” and fix this thing, LOL. No ma’am, no sir! “We” needed to fix this!
This was my thinking and God knows we did everything within our power to do so. And as I think back to everything that we tried, for example, the counseling, the talks, the walks, the dinners, etc., God purposely let every attempt FAIL. He (God) needed to bring us out so that everybody who saw us destroy our marriage, could now see God revive it & bring it back to life. God wanted the glory! He didn’t want Peaches with her strong prayer life to get it (because I would have been boastful and proud of that). Nor did he want Pondy with his great humility & willingness to work hard at his marriage to get it (because he would’ve had some swagger and proud of people saying that about him). No, God didn’t want anybody stepping up & taking credit for fixing this monstrosity of a mess but him because if man got the credit than that meant man now had the power to pick & choose who he would “help” with his message and story of grace, mercy and salvation. No, God wanted this Marriage to be saved by his might & his might alone!
When I walked away, God showed up & quite beautifully, showed out. He began to melt our hearts and remove away all of the coldness, bitterness and anger. We began to feel empathy for another & for what the other person had been enduring this whole time. We began to see each other as God saw us, humanly flawed but with so much love and passion for one another. I love my husband so much more today because God showed me that he’s human and flawed, just the way he (God) designed him. His weaknesses, that use to once upon a time send me over the edge with anger, now made me empathetic and understanding and more appreciative and grateful for even the smallest gesture of kindness. I am grateful for the day I walked away from my marriage! Because that was the day God was able to began the healing process in both of our lives.
We always talk about “giving it all to God & not worrying about it”. I’m gonna “leave it at the altar”. Child, bye! LOL! Whenever you hear somebody say that, go pray harder for them because if anything, they’ve actually picked up more that God was suppose to be handling & brought it back with them. Our intentions are truthfully well meaning to “leave it with God” but by nature, it’s so very hard to do. I wanted to fix my marriage but I didn’t have the power nor the capacity to do so, or at least I didn’t know how to tap into that power. Therefore God had to almost force me out of the way so that he could bring this thing BACK to where he desired it to be. And for that, I will be forever grateful for the day I left my marriage. It was the beginning of the best days of my life. #How My Divorce Saved My Marriage. #HMDSMM.
Okay, now before many of you “comment” on how cute this butt shot is of me & the hubby, LOL, that’s not what this photo is about…although, we do have 2 of the cutest butts ever, LOL! But seriously, the photo is a caught off guard moment taken by our kids who snapped this picture as Herman and I we’re standing in the window of the Drury Inn Hotel in Franklin, (Cool Springs) TN. We had just checked into the hotel preparing for our weekend of viewing houses. Yes, this was about to be our new home for the next 5-7 years and we were standing, quietly, in the window, taking in the view of the city but more importantly, thinking it all over. Unexpected Blessings…or was it? Were we making the right decision for our family? Had we prepared enough for the work load and the new roles of responsibilities that we were both about to take on? We had been through enough stress and uneasiness in the short little 12 years of marriage, we’re we at all ready to put our family through more? A lot of questions & wavering were going through our minds at that very moment the kids snapped this picture of us. I call it, “A Window Meeting of The Minds” because even though there weren’t a lot of words exchanged in this moment in the window, we were both grappling internally with the same questions.
We wanted to be sure that this was the best move for “Everybody”. And not however for just one person’s career or to afford the kids a more relaxed environment to grow up in, one like we had, or for someone to be able to “slow down” a bit since that person, whom shall remain “nameless”, LOL, was always complaining about, as much as “SHE” loved it, “Life being too busy”. This “unexpected” move had to be what everybody wanted. Was it a blessing or was it the end of us for sure this time because there were going to be many looong work nights for Herman & many daunting & tedious decisions & tasks that I was going to have to take on, alone. The kids were going to now be 4 hours away from our closest family members instead of 2. Could this be what God wanted for us?
Well, we talked about it, prayed about it and jumped right in head first! 3 months into one of the biggest decisions we’ve ever made as a couple/family and we haven’t looked back. The move, at the present moment, seems to be exactly what God wanted us to do. But I won’t lie, there are some days that we both miss home & the normalcy of “Life” as we knew it & the “comfortable” surroundings that we were accustomed to. Yes, we do have our moments but in the big scheme of things, we now know that “Change” is not always bad! Scary, definitely! But only because we wanted to be sure that this was in fact, one of those “Unexpected Blessings”! And at the present moment, I can confidently say, “we trusted him & he didn’t leave us”. So “Far” (literally, LOL), so Good yall!
Question, have you ever been faced with a decision that would have not only affected your career but your marriage (pretty scary if you ask me!)? However, you stepped out on faith & took the road less traveled (meaning, nobody we know would’ve taken the road 65 North to Springhill, Tennessee, LOL, kidding). And how did it turn out? #UnexpectedBlessings! #HowMyDivorceSavedMyMarriage #HMDSMM
What do you do when the “Roses” (your relationship) begin to fade? Divorce set in for us and it came a looong time after the roses had began to fade and die. We knew it was coming but we ignored the signs, hoping the hurt and pain, camouflaged as anger and bitterness, would eventually just go away but they never did. These were a gift from my husband for Valentines day, lol, yes, approximately 1 month and 3 days ago:). I know, I know, I should have taken “better care” of them while they were still “Fresh” & “Red” in color and in smell…but I forgot. I became so busy with the day to day “to do’s” of life that I just kept passing them by, saying to myself, “I’ve got to change the water & cut the stems on the bottom and even add more food to the water”…but I never did.
As I stared at the beautiful flowers week after week, “hoping” I would get some time during the day to just talk to them & pay them some kind of attention, it never happened. And then one day I looked up & they we’re dying. What was once a beautiful bouquet of brightly hued, deep red roses were now reduced to brown, shriveled up flowers. And be clear, you could still see some beauty in them, I mean after all, they “were” roses, the beauty that’s inside of a rose really truly never dies but they do fade & wither away because no one took the time to take care of them so now their beauty is a memory and it will now take a HUGE undertaking to bring the LIFE that was once pure and beaming and beautiful back to them. I wanted to take care of them & tend to their needs but I was just too busy to do so. So now, I either allow them to die & throw them out, or “STOP” EVERYTHING that I’m doing that doesn’t include the care & maintenance of them and do all that I know how in order to put life back into this beautiful and precious gift (my relationship/marriage) that was given to me.
What do you do when the “Roses” (your relationship) begin to die? Divorce Saved our marriage but this a phenomenon that rarely happens. Even before marriage, during the dating stage, when the joy leaves and the roses start to wither and fade, STOP! Take a moment to reassess what’s really going on because roses only began to fade and/or wither away and die when there’s a lack of attention given to them. Are you paying attention to your mate/spouse? Take away: if given the proper love, care time and attention (nutrients) needed in order to not only survive but THRIVE beautifully, the roses (your relationship) will live way past their expected shelf life! #How My Divorce Saved My Marriage. #HMDSMM.
I remember when I left my home with nothing but a couple of bags of my kids toys, their clothes, my clothes and my car, that was it. I remember a friend asking me, “Are you crazy? How are you going to start over with nothing (basically only the clothes on your backs)? Who walks away from everything”? I think I smiled and said to her, ” I’m willing to let it all go because at this point, all I want is to be happy again & whatever it takes to get to that place again, I’m willing to give it all up to get back there”. As I think back, that honestly had to be a “God moment” back then because there is no way any “sane” thinking woman with 2 children would’ve just walked away from “Everything”. Her home, her husband, her means of making a living, her friends, EVERYTHING. However God knew best because I sure as heck didn’t. All I knew was that happiness & peace were somewhere on the horizon for me again & it wasn’t at all tied up in the house, the cars, the broken relationship, the friends, etc. He (God) knew that I had to let it all go in order for him to restore it. By making the decision to give it all up, I was actually putting myself in a position to receive “All” that I had lost…and then some.
Now, as hard as it was to walk away from the home we had built together, the beautiful family we had started together, our mutual friends and what we thought was an amazing and unbreakable bond we shared, it didn’t matter anymore. The thing that I wanted most at this point was peace and Joy and happiness again. The “stuff” no longer mattered to me. The idea and the image of marriage that we were portraying was no longer important. All I knew is that I wanted to be happy again, so I let it go. I gave it all up not knowing that it was all a set up in preparation for the blessings that he was about to pour down in my life.
I didn’t realize that by giving it all up and deciding that my peace & happiness were the most important things to me at that time, that God was actually setting me up to have that and great deal more. He wanted me to have it “All” but he had to remove the “Ideas” and the images of what I had perceived marriage to be. Once he showed me that the “stuff” & the outside relationships didn’t make a marriage, it was that much more easier to let it all go, to give it up. Now let me clarify the word “All” for those of you who may be thinking that I’m referring to the material aspect of “All”. No. When I say that God has given me “All” in return for me “letting it all go”, I’m referring to the peace, the joy the amazing and indescribable love that I now have for my husband. He gave it “All” back to me and a little extra! I’ve most certainly been in love before, yes! What a feeling that is, right? However at this moment in my life, the love that I experienced back then has nothing on how I feel towards my husband today.
Because of my divorce, I now love with absolutely no guard up. There’s no, “if you love me today & show it, then I will too”. We both have decided that no matter what mood the other person is in, good or bad, “Stank” (LOL!) or indifferent, it doesn’t change how we feel about one another. We’re here for the long haul. Taking care of one another and being considerate is not an option based on how you treat me, it is the order of the day and we both realized that by responding to one another in that way (only doing based on how we feel), that that wasn’t a marriage and definitely not one that God had anything to do with. So we had to allow God to repair the broken places in us and in doing so, he showed us, me more specifically, that giving it all up, was the first step to having it “All” again.
God restored “All” that we lost in the divorce. We truly “thought” we loved one another back then but to have gone through what we’ve been through it makes you a little bit more appreciative of each other and it makes you love that much harder, the second time around. So yes, I gave up “Everything”, materially that is, in order to have it “ALL”, mentally, physically and spiritually. Knowing what I now know, I would give it all up again, to be in the place where I am today. Loving with no guard, no walls, no ridiculous expectations and no responding based on how I feel…okay, well not all the time anyways, LOL. Now let’s be absolutely REAL for a moment. Is life easy and is everybody walking around loving each other all day, everyday, ahh, No! LOL!! However, our marriage is so much more stronger and we’re convinced that nothing, not man created that is, can separate this bond that God has covered, “TWICE”. LOL. Yes, I walked away from everything, in order to have it all. #My Divorce actually Saved My Marriage.
As most know the story in the book of Ruth about Naomi, the woman who had lost her husband and both her sons in the country of Moab and was left alone with her 2 daughter in-laws, Orpah and Ruth. Well after the death of her husband and 2 sons Naomi decided that she was going to return back home to Bethlehem. She said that she “had nothing else” and urged her 2 daughter-in-laws to “go back to your mother’s homes, I have nothing for you”. Well after a bit of urging, Orpah, who would be “me” at the beginning of this story, lovingly kissed the cheek of her mother-in-law and left. But however Ruth stayed and she vowed, “as the lord liveth I shall not leave thee”.
Now, my story. I have to admit, if I could relate to any one of these 3 women in this story, it would be Orpah, initially that is. Now I know, most of us, when we hear the story of Ruth, do everything in our power to make some type of correlation or connection with who we are in our current situation to that of the likeness of Ruth. And let’s be clear, we can all understand why. Ruth is herold as “THE” woman in this book! She’s beautiful, faithful, loyal, strong and in the end, she gets the prize, Boaz! As well as a life filled with prominence and stability. Who wouldn’t want to be a “Ruth”? But if we’re really honest with ourselves most of us, especially in this day and age, are probably more like Orpah. Okay, I won’t put labels on anyone. I’ll just say, during my divorce, “I” was Orpah in every sense of the word.
Be clear, I had no ill will or vengeful intent towards anyone, of which I don’t think Orpah did either. However, she just didn’t see a future tagging along with her dead husband’s mother. Orpah’s husband had died, so she LEFT. In my case, my marriage had ended, so I LEFT. Once Orpah had received word that her husband had died, or in my case, the divorce papers were signed, there was no need, at least this was my thinking at the time, to continue on in a situation where the other person (spouse) was no longer there. Makes sense, right? so I, like Orpah, lovingly and graciously LEFT.
Now fast forward. In learning a great deal more about my own marriage (as it was restored) and Ruth’s story, I realized that yes, I was most definitely an Orpah, seeing no future in a dead thing. However, in looking back, there was a transformation taking place that I wasn’t even aware of. I learned that walking away (as Orpah had done to Naomi) was probably the easiest thing to do. However staying and deciding that I will stay committed to that which God had called me to was more than likely the hardest thing to do, especially when you’re already divorced. What are you staying for Peaches? Why?
As I learned more about the story of Ruth, I learned that Ruth was going to be a foreigner in Bethlehem (Naomi’s homeland). She didn’t know anybody (other than her mother-in-law), she didn’t speak the language, it was a different religion than what she had known, she was widowed, poor, tired and hungry but she was willing to stay and endure all of those hardships because she was committed to not only Naomi but to her late husband’s legacy. Ruth realized that the person with whom she was once loyal to and loved and honored and cherished (her husband), she was still “spiritually” tied to, even in death. However in my situation, there was no physical death which meant I was, even more so than Ruth in my opinion, still tied spiritually to my husband. And my destiny, as Ruth’s was, was tied to that which God had ordained and called to be, my marriage.
Now in realizing that my fate and destiny as well as the life that God had called me to was tied to that of my husband and the covenant of our marriage, leaving this covenant (as Orpah had done) would have cut me off from the destiny that God had already predestined for me. Meaning that, the divorce and the restoration of the our marriage was something “I” had to go through in order for my purpose and/or destiny to be realized. Ruth was not going to meet Boaz while her husband (Naomi’s son) was still living and they were still in Moab. There had to be a death and then a commitment of loyalty to stay and “go with” in order for Ruth’s destiny to be revealed. She had to go to Bethlehem which meant staying committed to the covenant of her marriage (hanging in there with her mother-in law) even though her husband had died. In my case, staying committed to the marriage/the covenant even though, in my eyes, the marriage had died.
Just like Ruth, there would be no Boaz and no story of restoration and of great lineage to tell, had she left. For me, I would not be sitting here telling the world how God saved my marriage and my family through, and as crazy as it may sound, the death of my marriage…divorce. Yes, I was an “Orpah”! Honey I was “Gone”:)! But in time God showed me that I possessed all the characteristics of a “Ruth” by later deciding to stay (and fight for the marriage). God humbled me and I got back in line with my destiny. I would have never walked in the fullness of what God had predestined for me until I had stood and “stayed” loyal to that which he had joined me to.
Bishop T.D. Jakes put it this way, “Nothing Just Happens”. There was a bigger plan in play, for Ruth and for myself and had I just walked away (as Orpah did) the plan, the ministry, the book, the fact that I’m speaking to you now from a place of healing would have never happened because “Nothing Just Happens”! Therefore, my marriage, subsequent divorce, walking away only to realize that my loyalty and commitment to my husband was tied to my destiny, none of that just happened. God allowed all of that so that I could be able to tell all of this and how, “My Divorce Saved My Marriage”.
At probably one of the happiest points in my life, probably right after Herman & I were remarried, I remember telling my sister in law that, “Pondy & I both agreed that marriage was probably one of the hardest things we’d ever done”. I mean harder than Business Policies with Dr. Self, your last semester, of your last year at Alabama State University, Lol! (That was for all of my fb ASU COBA Alum! Lol! Y’all know what I’m talking about, ugh, lol). Okay, I digress;)! Anywho, she looked at me & smiled & said, “Peaches, really? No? really”? And I could see the wheels turning in her head as she was “THINKING TO HERSELF” because she didn’t actually utter these words but I could see her “thinking”, “but you guys seem so happy! Y’all made it work”! I laugh at that comment now because I actually just made the statement and kind of walked off & got into another conversation. I didn’t get a chance to finish or clarify my statement. What I meant was, the hardest thing we had ever done…”WIDE OPEN & Exposed”!
We thought it was a sho nuff love the 1st time but we soon realized that it was “I can’t live without you…until you do something to piss me off type of love”. Lol! The first time, when we got married, there was no fear or thoughts of, “this thing may not work”. There was no real honest, genuine put my feelings & thoughts & concerns to the side for the sake of some one else’s…constantly. There was no constant concern for how the other person felt, for example, if you walked into the room & they were sitting there & they sighed too hard, your stomach dropped because you wanted to know, “are you ok? Do you need something”? There were no calls just to say, I had a very vivid dream & I just needed to hear your voice. No feelings of, as long as she/he’s smiling & her/his day is going good, no matter what craziness is going in around me, I’m GOOD! If we’re being totally honest, there was not a lot of that.
This time around, for us, is the hardest but only because we’ve had to learn true sacrifice. It’s honestly not about how we, individually, feel or what we, individually, want. We have honestly put all of our selfish ambitions and quests to be the BEST outside of each other to the side. The divorce made us stronger because we now realize that the “work”, now so effortlessly, goes into each other but in doing this, we found out that we wound up making ourselves “Happy” when we know that the other person is! Our motto is: if you’re good…I’m Great! Hard work, heck yeah! But so worth it! I wouldn’t change a thing! #HowMyDivorceSavedMyMarriage. Stay Tuned!