This past weekend I flew to Dallas to pack up my stuff from the apartment I once shared with my husband.
And today, I filed for divorce.
And it was HARD.
Not because I feel like I am making a mistake. (I know I’m making the right decision and doing what’s necessary for my mental health and wellbeing.) No, it was hard because this wasn’t what I planned. I didn’t get married with the intent to get divorced. No one does (I hope). You get married with dreams of the future and grand ideas about what your life will be like. You don’t plan for it to fall apart.
The reality is that 40 -50% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce and the average length of a marriage in the U.S. is 8. 2 years. The number one reason for divorce in the U.S is “basic incompatibility”. Other top reasons are infidelity, money issues, parenting differences, addiction, and abuse.
It’s quite easy to get married and a lot more difficult to walk away from it. Ending a marriage is HARD. Not just for legal reasons, but also emotionally. And making the decision to do so is even harder. Even after you decide, you fight with yourself constantly. Wondering if you made the right decision. If you could have or should have stuck it out. If you’re being dramatic by leaving. If you really did everything you could. What people are going to think. What people at church are going to think. Are you still considered a Christian? Does God still love you? And at the same time, you know that your mental health is more important. Your self-love is more important. Your peace is More important. And that’s all any of us want in life right? Peace. Peace in your relationships. Peace in your home. Peace on your ‘job. Just Peace. And we all deserve that.
Part of the reason that I stayed in an unhealthy situation longer than I should have is because I was scared. Scared of what people would think. Scared of the stigma of being divorced and a Jesus lover at the same time (IYKYK). Scared of starting over. Scared of never finding love again or having the family I so desire. Scared of being alone forever. Scared of doing something HARD.
But ultimately, none of those fears is reason enough to forsake my mental health and inner peace. Nothing is worth that. No relationship, no job, no family member, no living situation. Nothing should come before your mental health. I know it’s HARD to just walk away from something that was once important you, but as one of my best friends tells me, You Can Do HARD Things.
As other big changes are on the horizon in my life (new employment, new living space, returning to my hometown), I am choosing to focus not on the negative, not on what I am “losing” but instead on what I am gaining: Peace, love, joy, and the unconditional support of those who love me.
Here’s to doing the HARD things and coming out better on the other side.