Facing Divorce – Segment #2

I love this family photo in AZ.  My parents (newly married) are on the right and my grandmother and two uncles are on the left.

You ready for another huge list of tips??  Here we go with the rest of the line up.  Again, a lot of these can also be helpful IN a marriage, during a divorce, or during any relationship or break-up.

GET BACK TO YOUR ROOTS.  During my first marriage, at times I became distant from my family because I was so preoccupied with my crumbling marriage – it was all consuming.  And for nearly all of that experience, I hadn’t told my family what was going on, which only increased the distance.  But after my divorce, I became soooo much closer to my family and it was really wonderful.  It was an amazing experience, I think, for my entire family as they joined together to support me.  My parents & sisters called all the time to see how I was doing.  Cousins flew out.  My mom & dad always called & had to be on the phone together cause they didn’t want to miss a thing.  🙂  I know I was really lucky, but they gave me all the encouragement in the world.  They always helped to ground me if I needed it.  And they later heard about all my dates & just laughed along with me because of all my adventures.   Now, If you don’t feel you have a family that can support you in a healthy way during this time, adopt one that will!  Reach out to any family you love & admire.  Choose to surround yourself with people that will UPLIFT you.

 Here we all are (minus one sister & brother-in-law.)

MAKE A LIST OF EVERYTHING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF – During a challenging marriage, it can be really easy to forget who you really are or who you want to be.  It can really do a number on your self-worth / self-image, etc.  So – think hard and write down everything you love about yourself.  I hope you’ll make a loooong ol’ list!  DO IT.  🙂  I promise – this helps.  This list will put you in your place whenever you are having a bad day or feeling insecure about your new situation.  I started my list in some of the darkest moments of my life, yet I could see that life still had so much beauty & that I could still offer the world so much good!  Once you have your list, look at this list often & remind yourself often that you *are* that woman!  After my divorce, my Mom said she felt like she had her real daughter back.  But it was because I was reminding myself often who I was.  I actually wrote my list in the contacts of my phone under “Gratitude”.  And so when I was on the subway or whenever I just needed a little boost, I’d read that list for an instant boost.  I sometimes even read this list on my way to dates.  🙂

WORK TO FORGIVE.  Forgiveness is essential to healing & moving forward.  There is nothing I could recommend more.  It will liberate you.  Delaying it will only make your insides rot.  I still need to write a whole post on forgiveness, but for now – listen to this.  I posted it already, but it is just that good.  It reminds me of what human beings are capable of.

START NEW NORMS.   Marriage has a tendency to form old habits that you may not have previously engaged in i.e. my former husband loooooved to clean.  We used to spend so much time cleaning! 

[Below is my bathroom.  See what I mean?]  But when he left, cleaning went down a notch for me, intentionally.  Saturdays were like a whole new world!  It was kind of fun to reassess how I wanted to use my time (yes, there are some perks to divorce.  Hey, we gotta look on the bright side!)    If you previously never went to the gym, maybe you want to give that a try.  If you previously never went to church, go for it!  Try new things, new perfume, new toppings on pizza, and even a new way of interacting with others & family, etc.  One friend said she bought a ruffly, girlie bedspread from Anthropologie after her divorce.  It’s like you have a clean slate.  I felt this newness very powerfully when I found myself alone in NYC.  Two weeks after my husband left, I started HARVEY FAIRCLOTH with a friend.  Haha.  Why not?  🙂

REDEFINE GOALS –  What are your lifetime goals?  Whether it is finishing school, focusing on a career, starting a business, getting healthy, traveling, etc….GO FOR IT WHOLEHEARTEDLY!  My two thoughts were – – – start a business or move to Africa and volunteer my time to an orphanage.  I ended up starting a business.  Think about what is on your goal list and use this time to maybe redirect some energy towards a major goal.

(Poster designed by Abby for Harvey Faircloth)

GET NEW MUSIC.  Music can be so much a part of a marriage.  My ex-husband and I listened to loads of it.   But, it was really great to get NEW music after he left.  Just having something new playing through my soul was a little way to mark the beginning of my new life.  

GET SOME EXERCISE.  No matter who you are or how crappy you feel, force yourself to go walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, or do yoga or pilates, etc.  Do it at least a few times a week and ideally every single day.  It will change your world!!!!  I promise.  I have no doubt that exercise endorphins can do amazing / immediate things to your outlook and also your self-image. You’ll feel vibrant as you go out there and face all your trials and later as you try to meet people.  I cannot recommend this enough!!!!!  My friend took a spinning class – which she said was hard for her – – but she said working hard helped her to get all that angst out & helped her to feel strong and empowered.  I loved that!  After my divorce, I power walked my butt around the loop at Prospect Park just about every day.  It was glorious and despite the fact that the world as I knew it was crashing in, I FELT ALIVE!

SEEK PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING.  Don’t be afraid to seek this out.  So many people can benefit from this greatly & I highly recommend trying it.  For me, by the time I got divorced, I had already gained so much strength & wisdom due to the infertility, etc., so I already had the tools I needed to face my divorce.  But I know my situation was unique.  The key is making sure you have the tools to handle your life in a healthy way!  If you think you could use a little assistance, that’s OK!  :)…seek the help of a professional to guide you through it.  Anyone seeking help of any kind should be wholeheartedly commended for trying to improve their lives.  And if you feel inclined, you know me….I can’t recommend enough to supplement with some spiritual healing.  🙂  🙂  I know not everyone is open to this, but for me, getting in touch with my spiritual self & realigning my life was the ultimate source of my healing.

EMBRACE YOUR TRIALS – Easier said than done, I know.  But it’s very possible. The minute you do this & stop resisting your trials, your life will be changed forever more.  Even if your circumstances don’t change, just the mere change in your perspective can help the burden to be lifted.  All you have to do is get into your head that trials have a purpose in this life.  God sent us here to learn and progress.  We could not progress without trials.  So seek to get over being a victim to your trials and decide to BRING THEM ON – they are the reason we even have an opportunity to become better women and men.

ENVISION YOUR NEW LIFE – This is HUGELY powerful.  Awhile back, a dear reader wrote in and said that after her divorce, her older sisters would go on drives with her and point out things about what her new life could be like – where she could go to school, nice looking men she could date, etc.  I loved that.  My friends & family would do the same for me and talk about all the great experiences I had ahead and all the guys that would be pounding down my door.  Ha!  Now, did I really believe it?  Not quite, at times.  But it got me thinking as I laid in my bed at night.  I began envisioning what kind of husband I would want to be with & what kind of marriage I wanted.  Luckily I was surrounded by the amazing marriages of my friends.   They all gave me so much hope that I could have what they had, too.

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  1. Kathryn December 2, 2011 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Still love reading and love seeing your family on the blog. I'm going to have to share this post with a friend that is now going through a divorce.

    Did you know I wanted to name one of our girls Mara – not only because it is a family name but because of the drug Femara that gave us both sets of twins. Something about the alliteration with our last name just didn't sound right this time around. Maybe next time:) (And I so wish it could be the wonder drug for everyone, but darn if our bodies are all different.)

  2. Anonymous December 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    I love to clean too. :))) I love your bathroom. It is my kind of bathroom, simple, functional, and modern.


  3. Janna December 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    MarMar…golly golly…love your writing, you've got it girlfriend, love you too! I hope you can come visit us soon, would be wonderful to spend time together.

  4. mwoodall December 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    During my marriage I became distant from my family too because my ex-husband kind of cut me off from everyone and kind of turned me away from my family. I didn't tell them what was going on. But when my husband left me while I was the ripe ole' age of 19… my family was there for me. We grew so much closer during that time. And now I know they have my back no matter what! 🙂

  5. Meg December 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I love this advise! I think that each of these things can apply to anyone who has been through a life changing experience. Though I'm not divorced I've been through my own life altering trials over the past few years and I've found myself doing many of the things you've listed. There are some that I should be doing more of… like exercise and seek out my dreams more. Thanks for the great inspiration today.

  6. -Maria- December 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Again, so good. I think a trial is made tremendously lighter by doing it creatively. New music, new routines, new dreams and relationships help bring the focus to creating your new life instead of focusing on what was lost/ destroyed. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Creole Wisdom December 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Love the idea of embracing trials. So hard, but you again, are so right.

  8. Jan December 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    I loved this post. I did many of these things when I was going through my divorce. It was amazing what little things like a new perfume or some fresh air could do to lift my mood. I also got a blessing from my brother during one of the darkest times that reminded me that God still had good things in store for me. I drew so much strength and hope from that–I still do!

    Have you ever thought about writing a book? when I was getting divorced, I tried to find something I could read that had an LDS perspective but there is NOTHING out there. I think you and Danny could write something that would be amazing and help so many people. Just food for thought. 🙂

  9. Jordan December 3, 2011 at 5:29 am - Reply

    Hi Mara!

    I'm not going through a divorce (recently engaged, actually) but your blog, what you're sharing, your experiences, are helping me personally. I struggle with mental health issues and your advice about loving yourself, being positive & kind to yourself & others, just living & experiencing, in general, is speaking to me. These are things I need to be doing.

    So, thank you for sharing your life so openly. And for genuinely wanting to help people. There should be more people like you (and Danny) in this world.

    P.s. I love New York! Only visited once (this past June) but have been in love since I was a child. It is magical. Swoon! 🙂

  10. Taylor December 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    This has nothing to do with this post. But thanks so much for the guitar advice. My cousin said the same thing about yamahas. I think I'll go with that to start. Thanks again! Best to listen to the pros! 😉

  11. Abbie December 19, 2011 at 1:30 am - Reply

    I'd just like to say, "Amen!" I am freshly divorced and so many of the things you talked about have really helped me through the past 10 months. I was told that when I could say "Why not me?" instead of saying, "Why me?" then I would know that I'd turned a corner.. that's when I knew I had embraced my trial.

    You gave me some new things to do that I think will help me continue to progress through this… especially Making a list of everything you love about yourself and envisioning a new life. I often think there's something wrong with me because of divorce and because of that this new life I so desperately want is too far off. But I think if I actively try to practice some of these things, I'll be okay.

  12. Yellowbird December 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    This is where I am now in my post-divorce healing..


    Thanks for the tips. I feel like they are real and attainable. And THANK YOU for not having a bitter-blog. This is the first divorce blog I've found that hasn't enraged me. : )

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