Why a Post-Divorce Relationship Won't Complete You
- Elisabeth Klein Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 1 Apr
Okay, so having a boyfriend is awesome. No, but it really is great. Knowing there’s a sweet man out in the world crushing on me is pretty much one of the best things ever.
However, it’s not THE best thing ever. Hang with me…
I’ve been noticing something odd: people are happy for me and for us. Okay, that’s not odd in and of itself. In fact, it’s actually really sweet. It’s not like I’d rather have people, you know, egging my house now that I’m in a relationship, but it’s the underlying vibe that I’m getting that I’m a tad concerned about.
Some of these well-wishers seem almost too happy for me. As if romantic love – let alone the gift of a second chance – is the ultimate goal in life.
Don’t get me wrong. Finding someone of the opposite sex – who you’re compatible with, who makes you laugh, who treats you really well, to love God with, among many other things – to walk through life with is pretty amazing. I’m grateful every day for this sweet man, no matter how this all plays out.
But I feel like I’m being ever so slightly gushed at. As if something had been missing from my life and as if my happiness depended upon finding a man and as if my happiness were supposed to be my main pursuit.
Because let me let you in on a little secret… even though I’m coming to terms with being happy in this sweet season, I couldn’t give a flying fig about my happiness.
Again, don’t get me wrong: being happy is great, but it’s not the pinnacle.
And again, don’t get me wrong: being a part of a couple is great, but it’s not the all in all.
I’ve heard everything from, “Whew… we were worried you had closed up your heart and you were going to become a nun.”
Really? It’s called I was in a very hard marriage for almost two decades. And it’s called I went through a really painful divorce. And it’s called I needed to heal.
Or, “I’m so happy for you I could just burst.”
Okay… But please don’t.
He’s a boyfriend. But he’s not my Savior.
And he’s not my knight in shining armor. In fact, he asked me a little while ago if I felt I needed to be rescued. And I said, “Not anymore. And not by you.” “Good answer,” he said.
He and I don’t make each other happy. As he put it, I add to his happiness. Yes, exactly.
We should have both already been living full lives on our own before we met. And I totally was before he came into the picture.
The pinnacle – and you might think it’s easy for me to say now that I’m in a relationship but I would swear by this truth whether I were in one or not in one – the pinnacle is my relationship with God. That’s what is life-changing.
Listen to God’s word: "Your unfailing love is better than life itself" (Psalm 63:3a).
GOD’s love is the pinnacle; not human love; not even the love of a really good man, as good as that gift is.
Has this sweet man swooped into my life? Yes.
Is he a gift? Absolutely.
Is he my everything? No. And I shouldn’t be his either.
Would we both be sad if things went south? Of course.
Would it kill either one of us? It sure shouldn’t.
In this man, I haven’t found my meaning and purpose. Jesus did that for me a long time ago, and continues to refine it.
In this man, I haven’t been completed, Jerry Maguire. Jesus completes me.
In this man, I haven’t found my raison d’etre. Jesus gives me a reason to get up each and every day. He’s also the one who actually, you know, literally gets me up each and every day.
So all this to say… if you’re happy for me, thank you. It’s very sweet and I appreciate it.
If you’re too happy for me, maybe look at why. What in your thinking perhaps needs to be tweaked to be reminded that our standing with God is way, way more important than what box you check under “relationship status”? Or as Paul says in I Corinthians 7:17, “God, not your marital status, defines your life.” (MSG) Are you, perhaps, living vicariously through those of us in relationships? The grass is not greener, sweet ones, it’s just a different shade.
And if you’re divorced and single and wanting to be coupled up, trust me when I say that as good as it is, being okay with Jesus is better. Walking closely with him – even alone – and knowing you’re being obedient, and I say this from true, deep experience… THAT is the pinnacle.
"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love" (Romans 8:38).
Elisabeth Klein is grateful wife to Richard, and mom and stepmom to five. She is the author of Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage and Dating after Divorce, among many other titles, that can all be found at Amazon.com. She moderates private Facebook groups and e-courses for women in difficult marriages and those walking through divorce. You can find her on Facebook.
Publication date: April 1, 2016