This is for the women who are experiencing the shame and guilt of being forced to go through divorce/separation and for those who have had to make the decision to go down this road because of their unique circumstances.
And the shame that comes from being stigmatized for being a ‘scarlet’ woman, and the feelings of guilt for having ‘failed’ in your marriage.
Why You Should Never Feel Ashamed to Get a Divorce
If you decide to bring your marriage to an end or find yourself at the end of a forced separation or divorce, you might feel a sense of guilt or shame. You are not alone. For many, divorce can be a shameful public admission of defeat – a failure to remain true to vows that were said when first getting married.
Because divorce is considered a “shameful” thing especially in African society especially if you are a woman, it can lead many women to fall into depression. But if you feel ashamed of your divorce, keep these four things in mind as you move forward and heal:
Avoiding a Cloak of Shame
People will always hold their own personal beliefs about divorce. However, if you choose to end your marriage, or find yourself in marital separation you have no reason to feel ashamed. Those that make comments will always be on the outside looking in and have no idea of the facts and your reasons for ending your marriage.
Be assured that marital separation and divorce is not a sign of weakness, it takes strength to walk away from a marriage. It’s the right thing to do if the marriage is an unhappy abusive one, as staying together can do all kinds of damage, not only to couples but especially the children.
It’s worth noting that most shame associated with ending a marriage can also be self-inflicted. Avoid revisiting the mistakes you made and harboring regrets. Instead, surround yourself with people who you know will support you and cut yourself off from those who balk at your decision to end your marriage or in the forced separation you find yourself in now.
Society attaches shame to divorce, but that’s not something you can control. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel shame or guilt about doing what’s right for you or your children, and if it is forced upon you, that’s probably a blessing in disguise.
You have to refuse the emotional cost of divorce that other people try to put on you and focus on taking care of yourself, your children, and your future.
Separation and Divorce IS NOT a Failure
You may be feeling the shame of your marital separation and divorce. You may be feeling that the marriage failing is a sign that you are inferior. It’s not true. The reality is that we all have failures in life. Some are in relationships. Some are in jobs. Some are in academics. Some are physical. Some are financial. Some are in health. This is what makes us all different, alike — and human. To deny failure is to deny humanity. When you look at divorce that way, you may not feel so ashamed.
Ending a marriage is a sign that your relationship is over.
But instead of viewing that as a bad thing, you need to focus on the positive: You made a choice or a forced choice was imposed on you, that was likely best for you, your ex, and anyone else involved in the decision, such as children.
Divorce is a new phase of your life.
I have spoken with ladies, urging them not to waste this season, it comes with many blessings that you cant immediately see. When shame is removed from the equation, a powerful shift in attitude and future behaviors can result. There is a new dawn up ahead…..much as you may not see it now, your future will be even better than the past.
It can show you the toxic people in your life.
If you’re around people who are shaming you for your divorce, you need to ask them to support you, be there for you, and stop their negative comments. If they can’t, the takes a lot of courage to admit that something just isn’t working, even when you have been forced into it. We can often be too stubborn to admit that, but through a divorce, life can actually be better than the deep unhappiness you may have been living in.
In removing the shame-based ideology from marital separation and divorce, you’ll come to realize that divorce is not always a negative thing. In fact, divorce can be a powerful tool throwing you into the next season of your life. I know it can be hard for some people to drown out the comments/looks/gossip of others — but these people are not their friends, and what they think doesn’t matter.
You can’t help how you feel, but if you are feeling shame, guilt, or ostracization following a marital separation or divorce, it helps to know that you are not alone. Speak to a trusted therapist or find trusted friends, family, or your pastor which can help you take some of the shame out of the equation.
The supernatural gift of divorce
Please know that there is a supernatural gift in divorce, a unique experience of beauty and identification with God that can rise out of the ashes of devastation in your life. This does not mean that I am advocating for divorce – but if this is where you are – then know that there is HOPE for your future.
When you feel most abandoned, most shamed, and most betrayed in your life, that is becomes the doorway through which we realize the depth of God’s profound provision of HIMSELF for us in the place of those who have left us. Not only is God here to meet you in your abandonment, but He identifies and understands that abandonment better than any other.
I would not have recovered from the trauma and pain of my Broken Dreams for my family if God had not walked with me.
As I wrap these thoughts I must stress that I believe God created marriage as a covenant to last for the lifetime of the couple and family. I believe God would have wanted my marriage to be healthy and remain intact but life happened.
But he picked me up and carried me, giving me a new life. I know without a shadow of a doubt our heavenly father has big plans for me and I will remarry one day in his time his way because he’s a God of New Beginnings.
So get up and out and hold your head up HIGH!