Give Love Another Go

 
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I wrote this article on remarriage for a popular marriage blog right after I got re-married in 2017. I loved the piece so much I recently went back to find it and made the big ol mistake of looking at the comments. Rookie mistake! 98% of the feedback was incredibly sweet and super encouraging. The other 2% was negative. People thinking I was delusional for getting a divorce. People thinking I was changing the bible because of my emotions. People thinking I was making decisions to make myself feel better, not because they were the right ones to make. 

Welp, this all abruptly reminded me that these were the people in the cheap seats. The ones who don’t get an expensive opinion of my life. Remember one of my fave quotes by my girl Rachel Hollis. “Don't let someone in the cheap seats have an expensive opinion in your life.” Anyhow, for those of you are are not in the cheap seats and want to read about the beautiful restoration of re-marriage please see below.

For those of you who’ve followed me for a while, you know the nitty gritty of my story and where I stand present day. If we have not yet connected, hello and thank you for reading! For my full story, head over to amazon and give my book a read! As for now, I will give you a brief synopsis so you can have some background on just how I have the insight to share what you’re about to read. 

At the start of 2013, the unthinkable happened to my picture-perfect marriage and family. On paper (and from where I stood) we had it all. The love, the kiddo, the faith, the fun, annnnnd … turns out, the affair. Well, didn’t see that coming! With any hardship that comes your way in marriage, one must decide, will you fight or will you give up? For us, I decided to fight and he decided to give up. And after two and a half years of on my knees prayer and pleading for restoration, our divorce was final. 

As harsh as the divorce was, God always, always gave me the steadfast reminder that this was in fact HIS will. We all know that divorce is not how God intends marriage. At the same time, He didn’t intend it to bring emotional trauma and an affair. My encouragement for those of you in that time of limbo is to pray from the depths of your heart to “let Thy will be done.” There’s nothing easy or smooth about divorce, but sometimes it IS the Lord’s way. Saint Therese of Lisieux says it all, “Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wants us to be.” 

During the two and a half years of fighting, praying, and healing there was a lot God did to restore my heart. The support I had from family and friends was huge. It helped me not be destroyed by the blow of divorce. Their continual encouragement, my deep grieving, and God’s supernatural hand really partnered in making me whole again. In hindsight, this was preparing me for a beautiful future, better than anything I could have ever imagined. Now, I don’t say that lightly or to be cliche. I had my doubts that I would ever find love again. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why someone would want the damaged. Even in the healing, triggers would come and I would second guess trusting again. What if he came home later than expected? Would I always assume he was cheating? How jumpy would I be about his cell phone? And what guy would actually sign up for these issues? Then there were the depressing and disheartening doubts ... Will I ever connect with someone in the ways that I did with my first husband? 

There were so many hypotheticals to surrender if I was ever going to continue my life in a healthy fashion. Had I let them, the hypotheticals would have weighed me down hard. In my healing, day by day, I chose to not let the hypotheticals win. My past was not going to define my future. It’s incredibly freeing when you give your future that chance. I took the chance on a new love. And a new love I found. All of my fears were quieted by his refreshing demeanor and stable confidence. The start of our love was exciting, yet guarded. When you go through the trauma of an affair and divorce, cynicism will creep in. Yes, you know the depravity of humanity and yes, you know what sin can do to a marriage, but you don’t have to let the skeptic stay too long in your mind.  

You must keep your focus on the chance. You gave your future the chance it deserves, don’t self-sabotage. Yes, things will come up and they will trigger really hard emotions and insecurities. The first time I experienced a trigger from the past in my new relationship, I thought for sure, my now-husband was going to bail. But guess what? He didn’t. He understood, of course, I feel the way I do after everything I went through. And the next time it happened, it phased me less. Yet he was still understanding and reassuring. Our love was stronger than another man’s mistakes.

Why second marriages have such a stigma I am not sure? All I see is what God protected me from. God spared my heart from a marriage to a man who didn’t respect me or our covenant. What I can share with all of you is the hope of a wonderful square one. My second marriage is a true dream come true. An unceasing love of me for him and him for me. Our marriage and family have never looked sweeter. I joke that God often tells me, “I am real sorry for all you had to go through, but hey! look at what you have now!” 

If you’ve experienced the devastation of divorce, please know that life will go on. It will go on restored and rebuilt in a beautiful way, a way you never dreamt or imagined. Promise me this though, give your future the chance it deserves. Cope with the triggers as they come, but don’t give them too much handle. Embrace the bliss of starting your life over. Let it be all the beauty you deserved the first time and then some.

Lauren McKinleyComment