Today, I’m starting a new series and would like to introduce you to Heather-Marie. By way of background, Heather-Marie got married right after she turned 18 and was married for seven years. Sometimes she jokes that it was really only three and a half years because her husband was in the military and was gone for about half the time. It’s now been 11 years since her divorce and like Elsi Dodge, she remembers grieving for the loss of the relationship . I asked Heather-Marie if she was surprised by the divorce. She said no.
I wasn’t surprised at all. Actually I wanted the divorce. I wanted it really badly. But I was so young and, at the time, I had this idea that I didn’t want to be the bad person, the bad guy. I didn’t want to ask for the divorce. I didn’t want to be the one causing the problems.
I was in law school at the University of Colorado in Boulder at the time and one day after classes, I drove up on the top of the Flatirons where you look out over the whole city. I got out my car and I prayed,
“Dear God, I feel like you want me out of my marriage but I’m not going to do it. So if you want it done, you have to find another way. Amen.”
Within one week of that conversation with God, I found out my husband was having an affair.
Sometimes you just feel like you’re going the wrong direction in life and you need to get turned around but you’re not sure how to do it. Then something changes and that’s what happened to me.
Even though I wanted the marriage to end, I was not at all prepared for the experience of going through divorce. I think wanting your marriage to end and wanting to go through a divorce are two incredibly different things. You might want your marriage to be over but nobody wants to go through the divorce part.
I think my divorce was comparatively easy. We had no children and we didn’t really have a lot of assets or property. We did the divorce ourselves without a lawyer involved. So it was amicable and we agreed on everything. Yet, it was still one of the darkest and most painful periods I can remember in my life.
I suspect that many of us empathize with what Heather-Marie expresses here. Speaking for myself, I had concluded my marriage was over and I wanted out but it was a long time before I bring myself to tell my husband. All the time, I was waiting for some cataclysmic event, that would give me an easy way out and I wouldn’t have to be the “bad guy.”
I don’t like to think of it as being the “bad guy” now. I think that often the person who pushes for divorce is the courageous one, the brave one, the one who’s willing to force a change. What do you think?