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Divorce — death of a marriage

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How many of us have experienced the heartbreak of faded love? When a love dies, one feels flung into a world that seems precarious and empty. We feel at a loss, and we go through grief, but we may not recognise the signs. Divorce carries with it all sorts of connotations.

Unfortunately, divorce is a fact of life, and like death the end of a marriage causes mental and emotional grief. The dream of a future together has come undone. The house is empty. We no longer feel complete.

Just like losing a spouse to death, we go through much of the same emotional pain because an intimate life shared together is over. Suddenly a life that once seemed so secure has come to an end, and you must cope with this devastating change.

Couples with children feel the added loss of no longer sharing in the hopes and dreams of their children’s future. On top it all, you must also face your outer family circle, friends and acquaintances and deal with their reactions.

Blame is usually the first response to divorce, and various family members and friends usually take up sides with one spouse or the other, which makes matters worse. So not only have you lost you spouse and feel alone, but soon afterwards relatives turn a cold shoulder and married friends no longer include you in their circle of activities.

Your hurt is compounded. The isolation seems monumental and insurmountable.
Unfortunately like all losses, divorce never happens at an opportune time. Often a divorce occurs just when we buy a new house or new car, start a new job, or even have a baby. When a couple meets individual goals, and they feel they are headed in the same direction, then all is going well.

However when they feel they have outgrown each other, or have opposite goals or direction, they often think divorce is the only viable choice. A divorce is usually the end result of years of unhappiness and dissatisfaction in a relationship. Often one mate feels he/she hasn’t grown emotionally with the other.

One of the partners may have pursued different interests and goals, or her/his dreams and desires have changed, and he/she feels they will not be realised in his or her present situation.
One or both could lose sexual interest in the other, or they realise they were never suited for one another in the first place. The dissatisfaction may also result from the various stresses of our society through jobs, children and aging.

It is natural that people going through a divorce to experience withdrawal, hurt, sadness, anger and despair. These same feelings occur when a loved one dies. It is also typical for a husband or wife to feel betrayed. How could she? Why did he do that to me? They usually experience some kind of guilt.

So many individuals identify divorce as a failure because they believe they could have done better. They will blame themselves and create all kinds of scenarios.

Divorce usually occurs because one partner has made the decision to end the relationship. In his/her mind, it is over. Off course, couples should seek counselling before they make a final decision.

If we had little emotional support as children, we may not know how to support someone else. If we were abused physically or emotionally, we carry the pain inside us and may transfer it to someone else. But, God has mercy and we can undo what we were taught, and it is always wise to seek help before we take the ultimate step toward divorce. Yet when one partner decides to end the relationship, it usually comes after much contemplation.

If one partner feels unfulfilled, it is likely that he/she becomes very rigid and has uncompromising expectations of the other partner. In situations where one partner has outgrown the relationship, she/he tends to internalise feelings and not express them verbally.

At this point usually all communication breaks down to such a degree that anger and blame are the only emotions left. From a human perspective, reconciliation, even with the best therapist, is highly unlikely.

If you are the one being left behind, you will more than likely feel hurt. In some cases the individual tends to hold on to the relationship, denying that it has come to an end. Unfortunately, this only prolongs the suffering, as denial bottles up deep-seated feelings of anger and shame.

About the Author
Chomi Makina is the president of the Zimbabwe Association of Funeral Assurers (Zafa) and group chief executive officer for Moonlight and Mashfords Contact: clmakina@yahoo.com
Divorce counselling sessions are held every Tuesday at 18:00pm at Celebration Centre, 162 Swan Drive, Borrowdale West,
Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: 00263 4 850881-9
Email: info@celebrate.org
Website: www.celebrate.org

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