Our new dog Addison is adjusting to her new house and new routine but we haven’t gotten the potty training down quite yet. She’s a lot of fun and I’m really enjoying her.
I’m going to put some short, under 5 minutes, videos on my professional FB page addressing one specific question or topic that you might find helpful. Click here to see Leslie Vernick – Enriching Relationships That Matter Most
Some of the topics I’ve been working on are: “What’s the first step in rebuilding a broken marriage?” Or “How do you know someone is truly sorry?” or “What’s the difference between just an ordinary sinner who crosses the line and an abusive person?”
My goal is to do one a day for 45 days. Let’s see if I can do it. Stating my goal out loud keeps me accountable and more motivated to actually do it.
Today's question:Now that I recognize my emotionally destructive marriage, we have separated. He has already quit counseling; this is our 7th marriage counselor.
He denies any abuse and can’t handle that I see him this way. I have been in recovery for several years. I don’t see any remorse or reconciliation. He wants to split everything and get his own place. I guess I need to take the next step and get an attorney.
Any suggestions on how to do this peacefully and how do I let go after 33 years?
Answer: Your husband has made it clear to you that he doesn’t want to be married anymore. He emotionally exited your marriage (or never really entered) but it’s obviously a dead relationship. Now he wants to make it official and legal.
He’s offered to split everything 50/50 and if that’s true and he sticks with that agreement, what are your fears? What things might make it adversarial?
You’re correct. You definitely do need a good lawyer. Start there, and prepare for some conflict. But the harder part of your question is how do I let go of a 33-year marriage that’s dead? It’s painful to face the reality of death. If your husband physically died, you would have to let him go by moving through the grieving process. You wouldn’t cling to his corpse hoping to find signs of life. You’d have to come to accept it.
You don’t have to face his physical death but you do have to grieve the death of your marriage.
You’ve faced the truth that he’s done and doesn’t really care or want to work towards a true reconciliation in a factual way, but you haven’t accepted it yet emotionally. That work is the process of letting go and grieving.
Through grieving, you say goodbye to your dream of what you could have had if he been willing to change. You say goodbye to your ideas and plans of what your future might have been and grieve your change in status from married to divorced and single, as well as financial disruptions and possible losses.
Your losses are real and they do take time to emotionally process through to acceptance. But until you are able to let them go and put them in the past, you won’t have the emotional or mental energy to put towards rebuilding your present and future life nor will you even want to.
Moving forward alone can feel scary in this new season and sometimes it’s easier to stay stuck in what you wished would have been instead of figuring out a new normal in your present life. But I’d encourage you courageously face reality rather than resist it. Click To Tweet
Paul reminds us that when an “unbelieving husband wants to leave, let him go” 1 Corinthians 7:15. I don’t know if your husband claims to be a believer but he doesn’t sound like one.
But I think Paul’s words here are important. Marriage is important but it is temporal like all things and when we cling too tightly to things, even good things, we are depending on something other than God to give us what only God can give us: security, unconditional love,
Lastly, find some good girlfriends who can help you through this process. You might also want to consider joining a Divorce Care and/or Grief Share group to find some extra support.
Friends, what helped you to emotionally “let go” of a dead marriage?