6 Steps When You Find Yourself Suddenly Single (divorced)
If you were like most married women, you never imagined when you said “I DO” that one day it would turn into an “I DON’T.” Maybe you’re the one who wanted out of the relationship, or perhaps you’re the one who was left. Either way, someone remains with the daunting task of keeping it all together and one thing is for sure: an emotional crisis is at hand. And, I might add, this situation is NOT for sissies! So what’s one to do when they find themselves walking through a fog of unimagined reality?
As is true with any healing process, there’s always a beginning point. For some, the following suggestions may seem elementary. But if you’re suddenly single and in a crisis mode, these ideas won’t seem basic at all. In fact, they might appear as impossible tasks. Yet with God at the helm, the impossible becomes possible when we lean into Him.
So take a breath and move forward into a few action steps.
l. Get yourself together. Your main priority needs to be to steady yourself. When I suddenly became single, I could not get to counseling fast enough. In these sessions I addressed my emotional instability and what I needed to do to endure and pass through the anguish. Seek a Christian counselor to offer well-trained advice.
2. Keep life as normal as possible. Avoid doing something rash such as packing up and moving, selling the house, or pursuing ways of escape. Your kids are going through enough without disrupting the world around them. Safeguard their mental and social stability as much as possible.
3. Acknowledge the hidden you. You are vulnerable?vulnerable to being taken advantage of, vulnerable to seeking whatever numbs the pain, vulnerable to being hurt by your former husband, your children, your in-laws, or others. It might be necessary to find a wise accountability partner in this new, unfamiliar setting.
4. Avoid faulty Band-Aids. I recall thinking early on, I need to fix the situation and find a replacement husband to fill the void. As women we yearn for a “complete” family, but I soon discovered that completeness is not found in another marriage. Only Christ could meet my need for wholeness.
5. Brace yourself for an extended period of recovery. People with good intentions will tell you to just get on with it, move past this, leave the past behind you. And although some of that is true, the deeper truth is this: the healing process can’t be hurried or rushed. Only Christ can walk you through the time needed for renewed emotional and spiritual wellness. I like what Dr. Jim Talley says, “Speed produces relapses. Reset your expectations for recovery.”*
6. Remember you are not alone. As great as that sounds, sometimes we just want to hear God’s audible voice. But He has already given it to us in His Word. Exodus 3:7 confirms that the LORD sees our afflictions. Isaiah 42:16 instructs that the LORD leads the blind along unfamiliar paths they’ve never been. Deuteronomy 20:4 promises that the LORD goes with us and grants victory. Philippians 4:19 comforts that the LORD provides all our needs in Christ Jesus. In other words, whatever you need today to walk through this current scary season, you already have it through Christ who gives you strength.
Yes, I found myself “suddenly single” years ago, but I learned this: There is no “suddenly” to God. He always knew my “suddenly” would come and He simultaneously knew what great things He would perform through it.
*Dr. Jim Talley, Life After Divorce (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1991), p. 15.