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Just Like That... A Divorce Story

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

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And just like that… with the stroke of a pen and our signatures, our 33-year marriage has come to an end. We've closed a chapter of our lives that spanned over three decades; raising three awesome children in three different states. Thankfully our divorce story isn't that of anger, bitterness, and hatred. But unfortunately, ours isn't the status quo either. That said, my ex-husband (wow, that sounds weird to say) and I are still great friends, who have mad respect and love for each other. I’ve got his back, and he’s got mine. Even now, his family is my family, and my family is his. I guess that still makes us family, huh? We were just mindful enough to realize that when something no longer serves you well… it’s time to move on. Maybe we’ll do a seminar on it one day. Who knows?🙂

(My apologies for the initial shock this might have caused some of you, but I had to get your attention from the start, so you'd actually read the post. The rule in marketing is, if you don’t grab the reader’s attention in the first 10 seconds or so… you’ve lost them.)

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's continue. For those who are familiar with my blog, this may seem a bit off topic. But, actually it's not. I do write about topics for women (mainly middle-aged women), and divorce is an issue some middle-age women face. I’m usually not this open about my personal life (well, not open at all... I'm a very private person), but if my situation and experience can somehow help someone else, then I’m all for it. Besides, that’s what Believers do, right; make ourselves uncomfortable and vulnerable, at times, in order to be a blessing to someone else.

I contemplated even writing this post, as I didn’t have the time nor energy to deal with the pearl-clutching, whispers, and negative comments that come when Christians divorce, let alone a pastor and his wife. And no, we didn’t want to take some more time to, perhaps, reconsider. It’s a decision we both came to an agreement on, and it doesn’t make either of us any less a Believer… I needed to add that part. I wrote this post to strip away the stigma Christians sometimes face when they divorce, and to reassure you that there can be a bright side. I also wanted to give you my version. I figured people will eventually find out anyway. And we know how that can sometimes go… they’ll tell their version of what they heard from someone else. Nope, I’m the narrator of my story, so you’re getting it straight from the source.

When you’re going through a divorce, the warfare can be intense. You feel the pressure and shame of not wanting to be that statistic or disappointing those you love and who love you; especially when you’re in a family where almost everyone is married… and married for a long time, at that. For instance, my parents were married almost 45 years until my mom passed away fifteen years ago. My sisters, my aunts and uncles, and cousins, yep, all married… for years. And let’s not mention the countless people we’ve counseled and married over the years (during our 25-plus years in ministry), our ministry friends, and the church members. What would they all think? Would they think less of us because we couldn’t stick it out, make it work, and make the best of it? Or avoid us altogether? If you’ve ever gone through a divorce, you know exactly what I mean. Because divorce is an individual's personal journey, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t worry about what others would think to determine my happiness or base my decision on how they'd feel. This was a choice we chose to make on our own terms. I can say, though, we're both better people, despite our divorce.

Instead of mourning what we’ve lost, we’re celebrating what we have!

Of course, we don’t take lightly the marriage we had. And I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when fear gripped me, or nostalgia sat in and I’d have a glimpse of what once was. Or I’d wake up and realize that I actually had to make a decision on my own, and thought to myself, ‘Oh God, what have we done?’. Then I’d remember—with the same assurance I have of knowing the sun rises every morning—that God’s got me. He always has and always will, and I totally trust every part of my life in His hands. I’m also reminded that this is what we both wanted. So instead of mourning what we’ve lost, we’re celebrating what we have! Because over the course of 33 years we did, in fact, create a beautiful family and loving home: raised three awesome kids, welcomed a wonderful son-in-law, and blessed with two fabulous grandkids. Our family dynamics may have changed, but we’re still a family, nonetheless. We are truly blessed and eternally grateful! I’d say we did a pretty good job and I’m thankful to God for entrusting us to do it. And yes, the kids are just fine.

I won’t go into detail about what led to our divorce, because that doesn’t matter. I only want to encourage others that it's not written in stone because you’re divorcing, you must despise the other person or feel as if you can’t be friends. To be honest, we're probably better friends now than when we were married (and that’s saying a lot, because we were pretty good friends then). Of course, you always want divorce to be the last resort, but if you must, I want you to know that there is a way to go about it without hurting each other. I also want to encourage you that divorce in no way means you are less than, or somehow flawed because you made a decision to move on. God loves you just the same. His love for us never wavers. Sure, there will be some who’ll say, ‘if you're such good friends, then why couldn’t you just work it out?’. And of course, others, who will turn their noses up and frown at our decision, and that’s perfectly okay. They’re entitled to their opinion. I thank God it has no bearing on us.

Listen, our marriage was similar to most marriages; in that there were ups and there were downs. There are always going to be ebbs and flows to every marriage. The key is learning how to ride the complexities of the wave. I’d also like to add; be honest about your feelings. Learn to have hard conversations without being offended. Learn to forgive. Learn to allow each other to grow, expand, and become who God called each of you to be without negativity or opposition from the other, because of insecurity or control. Never constrain anyone. But most of all, if you can no longer give each other what he/she needs to be happy, be mature enough to let each other go… without malice. Because the same grace and peace you give is the same grace and peace you’ll receive.

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To those who are divorced, I encourage you to make amends, live peaceably, and be cordial with one another. If you’ve both moved on, be happy. Bitterness is indicative of an inner issue, and despite what many people think, it has nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with how we allow any given situation to affect us. It’s always our choice to make—will I let this make me bitter or better? Sure, I know there are some instances where making amends isn’t possible, but if there is a way, give it a try. You’ll be happier for it. Besides, your peace is far more important. Shake hands, commend each other for the good years, and go live your next fabulous life. And even if the other person won’t comply, at least your conscience will be free knowing you did your part. At the end of the day, love must always prevail.

To those who are married, I wish you continued marital bliss and God’s blessings… for marriage is a beautiful thing. And to those of you who are giving it your all every day to do marriage well… I commend you.

You see, there can be joy on the other side of divorce; brand new horizons, newfound discoveries in this world (but most importantly, about yourself), fresh new beginnings and adventures, blossoming friendships, and more. I'm here to tell you... it doesn't mean your life is over. It's a chance for a new beginning and a new lease on life. I’m so grateful our divorce in no way hinders our capacity to serve the King of Glory together, as serving Him is our utmost honor. I’m also grateful to say that we’re both better versions of ourselves. We are happier people who love more now than we did before, and we genuinely care for one another. It’s just that we both wanted different things for our lives, without hurting the other. We only ask that everyone please respect our decision.

I hope this post encourages you—no matter the challenges you experience in life (and how many times you experience them)—to pick up the pieces, dust yourself off, will yourself to go forward, and allow His grace to carry you through. I promise you, the sun does shine again.

In the end, I pray my ex-husband (wow, I really have to get used to saying that, lol) and friend for life, has nothing but the very best and most fabulous future he could ever imagine, as I’m sure he wishes the same for me. Here’s to us and the rest of our blessed lives!

P.S. I know what you’re all thinking… yes, everyone… you can remain friends with the both of us.😊

Ephesians 4:31-32, John 13:7, Isaiah 43:19, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 43:2,4, Psalm 30:5, 1 John 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Romans 13:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9

All Rights Reserved copyright© 2012-2023 "The Cultured Life" blog by Michell Pulliam

Having a blast serving Him!

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