"I don’t love you anymore.”
Those were the most painful words I had ever heard. My husband spoke them on a cold, rainy day in February. The day before Valentine’s Day. A day that is forever etched in my mind.
There had been a growing distance between us that I was hoping was just temporary. Two weeks later he moved to another state.
I was stunned. Our children thought we were happy. Everyone else thought we were the perfect family. So did I. I assumed we’d make it through this.
But as all the details became apparent, I felt increasingly hopeless. I spent days crying in bed, pulling the covers over my head so no one would hear. I pleaded with God to turn the situation around, to bring my husband back, to put our family back together. But after several months of mourning, I finally had to embrace my new “normal.”
Losses and Fears
This new normal brought so many losses: My children would not be raised in an intact family. My teaching ministry would look different as a separated, and then later, as a divorced woman. My social circle would be reoriented.
My biggest fear was that my divorce would define my life. Many women I knew whose husbands had left were angry and bitter, their pain etched on their faces. Years later, they were still eager to recount the sins committed against them.
I saw that I, too, was becoming so preoccupied with my husband’s sin that it consumed my thoughts. I thought about it constantly—standing in line at the grocery store, waiting at the doctor’s office, and even before falling asleep every night. I didn’t like the person I was becoming because all I could dwell on was the negative. Paul exhorts us to dwell on whatever is good and lovely, pure and honorable, and I was dwelling on quite the opposite . . . but I felt powerless to change. I threw myself on the bed and sobbed, “Lord, I don’t want to be bitter, but I don’t know how to stop this. Please, please help me.”1