(Left to Right- Me and rainbow baby, my ex-husband, his girlfriend, and our three kids)
I left my ex-husband 4 years ago this April. When I left him, I never dreamed I would actually like him again one day. At our marriage’s very worst I wished him dead. No, we are not best friends and I still have to be skeptical of his honesty and transparency. However, the communication we enjoy now is unparalleled with the communication we slaved to express when we were married. Just last week I was on the phone with him for 15 minutes talking about the kids. On a regular basis back in the day, only sporadic remarks of irritation and disgust would pass between us. Now, we speak at least once a week, discussing cub scouts, school projects and doctor’s appointments.
Anyone who knew me when I was still married to him can attest that where we are now is a miracle. Only it’s not a miracle and has only been cultivate through hard work and restraint. I had to let go: of everything!
Letting Go Of Control – I thought when I left my ex that I would gain control back over my life and the type of mother I wanted to be. That was half true. I gained control over my life, but I was still at the mercy of another person’s schedule and willingness to cooperate. He was not willing to cooperate; at first. I realized that in certain areas I had actually lost ground rather than gained it. Fifty Percent of the time, I wasn’t in control of the kids and their lives. I couldn’t control what he did when he had the kids and unless I wanted to take full custody and remove him from their life, and never have time to work to support us, I was going to have to let Jesus take the wheel. So I did!
Holding My Tongue – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give that man a piece of my mind, especially when I first left him. I had stopped caring about being nice and could have said much more than I did, but he had no reason to listen to me, so I had to play nice. I knew one thing when I left him to be undeniably true; He loved his kids! I had to help build a bridge, not keep torching the one already burned to the ground, ashes still smoking. We had said a lot of hurtful things to one another while married and nothing would change if that continued now.
Minding My Own Business, most of the time! -what he does when he’s not with our children is none of my business! (Within reason obviously)
Love Him-I’m talking agape love here which has definitely become easier over time. I realized that “loving” him was also an extension of loving myself. He gave me three beautiful children who give me purpose and because of them I have evolved into a better person.
Forgiveness- Allowing myself to forgive him allowed me to move on.
Expectations- Get rid of expectations. No expectations, no disappointment.
Self-Reflection – Most people have a hard time seeing themselves as they are. Being honest about one’s own faults is difficult. I had to look inward to be better. It really changed the way I interacted with him.
Appreciation- I appreciate what he does for the kids and the role he plays in their lives.
Delegating Responsibilities- I’m pretty clear about my expectations for his conduct when kids are there and when and what I need his help with.
Thankfulness – this isn’t the choice I would have made for my life, to be divorced and my children live their lives between two homes. BUT that’s what I should be thankful for. My kids have two homes (not just houses) and a father that loves them. Not many divorced families can say both of those things!
Understanding- everybody makes mistakes. I have sure made many that I am not proud of. I give him the grace that I would want in my own life as a parent who, at times, fails in one way or another.
Prayer-Whatever I couldn’t control or allow myself to let go of, I gave to God. At the end of the day, my kids are in God’s hands!
I chose to build a bridge over the ashes of the past