I have been going through the book called Chicken Soup for the Soul for some time now. If I continue to go at the pace I have been going, we may never finish, so I have decided to pick up the pace a bit. Instead of reading one sub-chapter each time, I have decided to attack a few sub-chapters at a time. Today let’s take a look at pages 17-35, which contain sub-chapters 6-11.
The YouTube Version
Chapter 6 is titled “A Win Win Situation,” and the author is Beanie Baldwin. This chapter starts out with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt…
“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that
you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.”
Here we find a woman that was married young and was unhappy in her nearly 20-year marriage. She describes her marriage as him being in control, “he was the operator, and I was his passenger.” It sounds as if she had lost who she was in this marriage. She went on to leave him and found happiness in another relationship where she felt she was living her best life.
I struggle with this one. If someone left a marriage anytime they were unhappy, there would be no marriage because I think you go through phases in your marriage. Phases where you are happy and phases where you are not. I understand her wanting to leave because I have experienced her exact emotions; maybe I shouldn’t have stayed.
In this situation, unless there was an abuse of any form or adultery, or some other blatant act against the marriage, I would have stayed to fulfill my promise to my husband and to God. This may not be the right response, but it would have been for me.
Did you lose yourself in your marriage? Do you feel like your marriage strengthened who you were or diminished who you were?
Chapter 7 is called “Home is where your heart lives” by J P Shaw. This story is about a young woman who is unhappy in her marriage because she feels alone. She is exhausted, but she struggled on to take care of her kids and her work in the home, all the while being basically ignored by her husband. she did not quit; she keeps trying even though she was unhappy.
One day she came home, and he was gone, and she was abandoned. She was fortunate that she had her family to turn to. She returned home, where her parents accepted her with open arms.
I am so glad she had a family to turn to in her time of crisis. Not all of us do, especially those of us going through a grey divorce. My parents were both gone when my husband abandoned me.
Were your parents still living when you went through your divorce? Did you turn to your parents for help during your divorce? If your parents weren’t around, who did you turn to for help?
Chapter 8 is called “Disconnecting” by Vera Jacobs. Vera’s story is a painful one but a courageous one. She was married and had 3 young boys when her husband just walked out. Even though he left them and damaged both her and the boys emotionally, she still attempted to do what she thought was the right thing, and she allowed him to see the boys.
It seems her husband had a substance abuse problem. Even with this issue, she felt she needed to allow her boys to see their father for their benefit. Over time as he continued to break promises and as she saw the boys being further damaged by this lack of care toward them, she had had enough. She took it to the court system. The court said that he would not have visitation rights unless he drug tested negative. Her ex would call requesting to see the boys, and all she had to do was say, “have you been tested?”. As of the writing of her story, he was never willing to take the test and thus was never able to see the boys.
I love how strong this woman was and admire her strength in protecting her boys and herself. She held unto scripture just as I did during my divorce. Here is one of her favorites…
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm.”
Did you have a mantra or scripture that helped you through your divorce? Write the scripture or mantra and explain what it meant to you?
Chapter 9 is called “The Heart Knows Best” by Kiera Peltz. Kiera talks about her parent’s divorce when she was just 13 years old. She speaks of how even though her father had cheated on her mom how her mom decided to stay and fight for the marriage. It was not long after when he cheated again, and her mom decided enough was enough, and she left. Even though leaving was difficult, it ended up being the best thing that could happen to them. Kiera and her mom left an emotionally disconnected and adulterous husband and father and were able to find happiness.
I like her quote, “If, in your heart, you can feel something is not right, then follow your heart. In the end, it’s going to be your only true guide.”
I can relate to her quote. There were many times in my marriage that my gut would tell me things are just not right. I did not listen to my gut, and I suppressed my feelings as ridiculous, but in the end, my gut knew more than I did, and I wish I would have listened.
Did your inner voice, your gut feeling, or whatever you want to call it ever warn you that something was not right in your marriage? Did you listen? Why or why not?
Chapter 10 “Repossession” by Anne Marie Wagner. This is a tongue-in-cheek letter written to her mother-in-law as to why she is returning her son. She lists all the reasons for the return, including the neglect she encountered. She was ready to be rid of him and wanted his mother to take him back. She did have a son in her marriage and decided to keep him.
All of the pain wrapped up in a darkly humorous letter. I thought this was very clever.
Did you ever want to return your husband back to your mother-in-law?
Did your mother-in-law see her son as perfect, or was she able to see his flaws?
Chapter 11 “An End is Also a New Beginning” by Carol Randolph. Carol does not talk about the reason for the end of her 17 yr marriage, but she recalls the pain. She talks of the apartment she moved into during her separation and how many years later she went back to see that apartment. Even though things have changed for the better for her, and she is happy in a new home and new marriage, returning to the apartment brought back the ‘terrible pain of that horrific pain” of that time. She speaks of the intensity of going through this separation and how, after this experience, she went on to help others going through something similar.
Describe your level of pain during your separation.
Next time let’s cover chapter 2, Forgiving and Letting Go, subchapters 12-16.
God Bless You on Your Journey