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Category Archives: Separation & Divorce

There’s Nothing Embarrassing About Reconciliation

We’ve all heard it, “You never miss your water, until the well runs dry”. And if you’ve ever had something great and that great thing went away, then you certainly know that old adage rings true. So it shouldn’t be a surprise, if your spouse wants to reconcile your marriage up until and even after the divorce has been final. I’ve had several people approach me about it and ask me my take on the reconciliation, hence the reason for this post.

I’d first like to go on record as saying that although I am divorced, I am a huge advocate for the institution of marriage and the importance of a strong family unit. I know that under the right circumstances, it is certainly a great relationship to have. However, I don’t think it’s something to enter into lightly, because it has and always will require a great deal of work to keep it functioning properly. But it shouldn’t be a surprise when I say if reconciliation is offered in sincerity, I believe it should be considered…..OK, before you get upset. I want to say that if abuse, especially physical abuse, is ever a factor, I would frown upon it unless for certain they had gotten professional treatment and was showing favorable behavioral changes. I believe that safety should always be considered first.

But for those cases where abuse wasn’t a factor in the divorce, I whole-heartedly believe that if the two of you are both dedicated to making it work, by all means proceed. Let’s face it, sometimes we actually need that break to wise up and truly re-evaluate what we have and work on overcoming the weaknesses we had, which may have caused the rift in the marriage in the first place. Now, I’ve never been a big proponent of couples living in separate residences when they’re considering a divorce (You’ll have to follow this blog, as I’ll be posting about this on another day). But I’m certain and have witnessed God take people whom I was sure were not meant to be married, re-unite them and it was better than it ever was before.

The one thing I will say is never allow anyone to discourage you from fighting for what you value? Anything you love and care about is more than definitely worth fighting for. The appreciation you have after you win the fight will be so much greater. It’s amazing how we’ll go to the depths to get those material things (the house, the car, the clothes, the career) most of which depreciates over time. And when we fight to keep those things, we don’t feel anyway remorseful about it. So why should one feel that way about a person, a living being, who’s value often can’t be quantified?

Lastly, I know some people will say that once this person has done something, they can’t ever be reformed. I don’t believe that at all. Only because I know of my past transgressions and I’d certainly hate for anyone to refer to me from it. I have been made new through Christ and certainly work hard to renew my thoughts daily (Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 4:23). And because I know of my evolution, I don’t have a right to believe that others can’t be renewed too. I try not to interject myself into my friends relationships. Mostly because we all have different levels of tolerance to pain. And what bothers one, may not bother another. So, if a friend of mine had dated a guy that I thought was a jerk in 2000 and they re-unite in 2011, I may think about his tendencies in my mind. And if she asked me about it, I may briefly mention it. But I wouldn’t talk against her getting back involved with that person. Because time truly does have a way of maturing most people. So I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Make no mistake, there’s nothing embarrassing about changing, which is really what reconciliation is all about. But most importantly, I encourage you to reconcile to God, once again and it will definitely provide you with the strength to make the relationship everlasting.

God bless you all.

 

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Lesson Learned #6: Accepting Your Contribution

This lesson is a tough one. No one whole-hardly believes that they shared in the demise of their marriage. Yet,  I’m so blessed to be able to realize this lesson and share this with those who may be struggling with their divorce. Because the truth to the matter is everyone plays a role in their marriage’s demise, whether you choose to accept it or not. I know for certain what things I did or didn’t do that helped cause strain on my marriage and ultimately led us to divorce. I am not in anyway, form or fashion saying to take ownership of the divorce in totality. But it takes a strong person to acknowledge, accept and get help to overcome their weaknesses.

I’ve heard people who have spoken about their marriages and they have went as far as to say, “I didn’t do anything!” Never stopping to think that them “not doing anything” caused just as much of a rift in their marriages as them doing everything, could have caused.

If you’re already divorced or in separation, take a long hard look at ALL of your actions, not just those you CHOOSE to remember. Were you supportive? Did you speak to your mate, or at them? Did you feel the need to point out your mate’s flaws or be overly critical, all in the need to “Be right!”. Did you pay attention to what your spouse communicated to you, or did you rewrite it so that you heard only what you wanted to hear? THINK ABOUT IT!!! There are more things to think about?

Did you make your home a haven of rest for your mate or a den of doom and gloom? Were you eager to be a part of the solution or quick to point out all of the problems? Men, were you considerate of your wives’ feelings and women, did you console them when they came in from the world which had already beat them up? Or did you add more insult to the injuries? Women were you keeping yourself presentable, or did you grow comfortable in your frumpiness! Yes, that’s a contribution too! Men, did you help put the kids to bed or wash the dishes after your wives had prepared a hearty meal? Women were you trying to drive the car, when you should have been willing to be the passenger? Think closely!!!

Still can’t think of anything, what about those things you overlooked in your courting phase of the relationship, knowing that those qualities you didn’t want nor need in your spouse, but you chose to marry that person anyway. Guess what??? That’s your contribution!!! Your lack in judgement! Acknowledge it, learn from it!!! But wait there’s more!

Men did you make quality time for the two of you and women did you make quality time for just your spouse, outside of the time you spent with the children? These are things you have to ask yourself! And don’t be ashamed to admit them!!! Because as in any recovery program you attend, the first step is to admit your problems.And then once you’ve confessed them, ask God to help strengthen you in those areas you’re the most weakest? Don’t allow the same poisons to cause you to make the mistake again or to hold on to unnecessary bitterness towards the other person. You can do it! (Phillipians 4:13). With God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). But you have to acknowledge and believe that he can make you a better person from it.

You can’t imagine how much greater you will feel and heal once you’ve taken responsibility for your contribution. To those who are newly divorced, I know it won’t be easy. This takes time. But you must know that it’s a necessary part of moving on in a healthy manner. You’ll be better in time from it.

It’s my prayer that those of you who have found yourselves in divorce unwillingly, do heal in a healthy and positive manner. Your life isn’t over because your marriage didn’t work out. And just because your marriage didn’t work out with this person, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a better healthy marriage with anyone else in the future. But the work, begins with you!!! It’s your responsibility to acknowledge your weaknesses and short comings (that we ALL have) and strive to overcome them. Work to make it better for the next one!!! And it will be. With God ALL things are possible!

With so much love,

Tanisha Rankins

 

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5 Reasons I Should Have Known It Wouldn’t Last

I’m honest with myself these days. Going thru a divorce encourages me to make sure that I don’t repeat the same mistakes that I made with my first husband. I ask that you do a personal inventory to assess your contribution to your marital demise. (Hate to say it and it may sting to know that you played a part, no matter how small). Hindsight is always 20/20. But looking back there were key contributors that I myself did that actually may have contributed to my divorce. Disclaimer:* In no way, does this excuse the divorce nor make it acceptable for anyone to cheat. I just hope that you pay attention to certain warning signs.

1. I wasn’t willing to follow. This should be the first sign that you probably shouldn’t be getting married to the man who’s proposed. God instructs the wife to submit to your own husband and know that the husband was the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:22-23). He leads you follow. I wasn’t willing to be lead. Honestly, I didn’t trust that he could lead me in the right direction financially. I trusted that he’d be able to protect me. But if you don’t trust a part of your potential spouse, you definitely shouldn’t be marrying that person. If there’s no trust, there’s a great chance divorce is inevitable.

2. I called everyone but him first. Yeah, sure there will be times that you may want to tell your girlfriend about non-critical events in your life. But it should be a sign that when major events in your life occur, and you rarely, if any, consider contacting your spouse first, something is severely wrong. I know it was for me. It meant that I didn’t regard him enough in my life to share the biggest moments with him. I remember contacting my mother and my girlfriend about most of the stuff that I was going thru. They were my support. But when you marry, you are to cleave to one another. And honestly it wasn’t something that I wanted to do…NEWSFLASH: Here’s your sign!!!

3. We couldn’t hold a conversation for longer than 30 minutes at the time. When you’re planning on spending time with a person for the rest of your life, you kinda need to be able to communicate and enjoy talking to your mate about a variety of things. Sex can only keep your attention so long, before you realize that you have to be in each others presence for long periods of time. And if you’re struggling to make up stuff to talk about, BEFORE you get married. You may want to reconsider taking each others hand, let alone last name.

4. I was a dream crusher. This one is huge. For the most part, I was taught that all men really need is great sex and the remote control. So if you’re not prepared for nor ready to stroke egos…don’t take the plunge just yet. Yes, what Michael Baisden says is true…”Men Cry in the Dark” and some of them out in the open. What I mean is they’re emotional too! Maybe not the extreme of some high maintenance women. But they require a good amount of attention and they need to be stroked to. Here’s my true story: My husband gets a new job. He does pretty well in the first few months of employment and he receives a mini-promotion. I say mini, because it’s not a huge promotion. But it allows him to get a slight pay increase. Nonetheless, he comes home to tell me about it. I say something. I believe it went like this. “That’s good, Baby!”. And I roll over and go to sleep. As he tells me, “My manager says if I keep this up, I could be manager in about a year or so.” I say, “That’s nice, Baby!” all the while thinking…(That’s what all companies tell you to keep you. I hope he doesn’t think he’s special). OK, so I know you’re thinking…Wow, how insensitive. But honestly, it’s the truth. I didn’t think men needed the encouragement and applause for doing what I consider the norm for all of us. Thankfully, I know better. And the next and final man I marry, will appreciate my maturity and new found growth:)

5. We couldn’t travel without an argument. I remember taking several road trips that would end up or begin with an argument. And it wasn’t just after we married, many of these disputes took place before we married. It says a lot when you can’t go 2 or 3 days even in a relaxing setting without it being confrontational….Once again: Here’s your sign!!!

Honestly,I am learning more and more the signs that were there. But like countless others, I refused to acknowledge them. If you notice or feel a particular kind of way about someone you’re about to marry, you should do a full evaluation. It’s easier to overcome a simple break-up, as opposed to a divorce. Take heed to the warning signs that could ultimately cause you more grief than happiness. If you notice some signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t marry that person. But instead you should address them first. They may actually be things you can overcome.

Love and kisses,

Tanisha

 

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Knowing When You’re Healed- Part 2

Regardless of the situation, every one of us must endure the healing process after losing those things we value the most. Yesterday, I started this post about knowing when you’re healed from your divorce.  I will conclude with the following reasons why I know I’m healed from my divorce.

#4. I am comfortable seeing him with someone else. To be honest, a great length of time had passed before I witnessed seeing my ex with someone else. I remember late last year having been thrown into a situation, where I was forced to confront this fear. I didn’t know how I was going to feel. I was thinking to myself, “Will I just break down in tears? Will I run? Will I faint?” Yeah, you’re probably thinking it can’t be that deep. But for me, it was THAT deep. This was the man I had vowed to love and cherish, to be with for better, for worse. And who had made that very same promise to me, but broke it. And so, I pondered over the idea that I wouldn’t even go, because I feared that he may have brought his new lady of his life.

And amazingly God is so awesome to his children. Because when I went to church that morning, the Sunday morning bible lesson was on fear. And how you shouldn’t let it overtake you, that you should be able to approach all of your fears head on and trust that God will see you through it. So that afternoon after church, I went to the place that I had been asked to come and sure enough he was there to with his new lady friend. And as quickly as my fears were up, God removed them and an overwhelming calmness came over me. There wasn’t anything to fear. I remember smiling and thanking God under my breath for the peace that he provided, which surpassed all of my understanding. It was such an amazing feeling. I’m healed because being in his presence with his new lady friend, doesn’t plague me any longer. Like everything else, God has blessed me with the strength and serenity to accept it and move forward positively.

#5. I have never tried to seek revenge on my ex-husband. I believe Madea said it best…another quote from Diary of a Mad Black Woman (I told you I was angry in my past, if you had read the previous post. LOL! This was my life put to the big screen…but I digress:)) “How do you know if you’re not over someone? If you have a chance to get back at someone who’s hurt you, and you take it…you’re not over them. But if you don’t take the chance, you’re over them”

I remember once, one of my ex-husband’s co-worker/friends approached me about dating after we separated. I could have been really spiteful. But I never even considered it. In fact, I told the gentleman that it was completely out-of-place to even ask. It may or may not have stung my husband a little. But I wasn’t willing to compromise the core of who I am, for what may or may not have caused a small amount of pain to my ex-husband.

#6. I continue to pray for and love my ex-husband. Yeah, I made up my mind to pray for him a long time ago. Nearly every time I say my prayers, he’s included in them. Although when I first started praying for him, it always went something similar to this (paraphrasing) “Lord, please bless my husband to come back to me. Bless him to recognize the error of his ways and return to my arms.” LOL!!! I can laugh now….because I’m healed. When I thought I was praying for him, I was still praying selfishly asking for MY will to be done. But because I’m healed, I understand that our marriage, although it may have been short-lived, served it’s purpose. I actually give thanks to my ex-husband for the experience. Because it’s contributed to my growth in a major way. Now my prayers, are indeed unselfish. They go something like this now. “Lord continue to walk with my ex-husband daily. Bless him to grow closer to you. Be long-suffering and forgive him of any short comings. Bless the lady in his life to be an encouragement to his growing even closer to you…”

You see, I will always have a love in my heart for my former spouse. You don’t make that type of commitment to someone and lose your love completely unless you never loved them to begin with.  I have forgiven him for all of those things which transpired during our marriage, those he admitted and those he didn’t. I want nothing more than my ex-husband to grow his relationship with God (not that he may have not). But there’s nothing wrong with anyone praying for someone to grow closer to God. I will solicit those prayers all day, every day. But because of that love for him, I’m more concerned about his soul.

I had a divorced gentleman ask me how I could truly say that I’d hope my ex would find someone to make him happy. And I told him that I simply loved him that much.  I also understood that the gentleman hadn’t been completely healed from his experience. However, I do know that in order to seek God’s forgiveness of our shortcomings, we have to be willing to forgive others’ of theirs too. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, all I desire is for my husband to have learned from his mistakes, just as I have and to grow spiritually and lovingly with someone else. And just like God answered my prayers of healing. I’m sure he’s answering the prayers that I pray for my ex-husband as well.

#7. I’m able to genuinely smile thinking about the entire experience. This sums it all up for me. My marriage was like the Batman Rollercoaster at Six Flags Atlanta. It’s full of its shares of twists and turns, ups and downs and nausea. But at the end of it all, you’d still ride it again. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It’s taken me ALL of those hardships with the good to get me to this place right here…right now! Looking back, I smile and laugh when I think about the turmoil and the grief. I chuckle, of course at the really good moments. It’s been a long, tumultuous journey. And the only reason I can laugh and smile is because I know 100%… that I am healed.

Tanisha Marie Rankins, Healed 2011

 

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Knowing When You’re Healed- Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post for Divorced…But Not by Choice. There have been a number of reasons, the first being when I started this blog it was therapy for me. It was my way to help others, like myself cope and get thru the ugliness of divorce in a positive way. I wanted to show people that God can use the worst of a situation and make great things happen. (Romans 8:28).

Today I’ve come to the realization that I’ve achieved everything that I had set out to do through the creation of this blog. And I’m appreciative of the opportunity to do so. Without a shadow of a doubt, I’m healed from the experience completely.

By now, I’m sure you’re asking how do you know that you’re healed. I’m sure many people may feel differently, but here is how I know that I’m healed.

1. I don’t have any ill feelings toward my former spouse. When divorce was initiated, I was hurt immediately. I couldn’t truly understand why my husband was betraying me. I could name all of the things he’d done to me verbatim and I wanted to cash in on all those things. I wanted him to hurt. I even remember telling my minister that I wasn’t going to be happy until I saw him in pain. His response to me went something like this (paraphrasing) “You’re going to lead a miserable life if your happiness is contingent on someone else’s unhappiness.” You see I was having a Madea moment, I wanted wrath issued on my ex-husband. I wanted to see him hurt and I wanted God to allow me to witness it. In my head, I reenacted the scene from Diary of a Mad Black Woman multiple times, only thing is I let him stay under water a little longer. YES! I was that woman! I wanted to avenge the death of my marriage, hastily and drastically. YES, I admit it!!! I had those feelings too! But the difference was…I NEVER acted on them. I was angry, but who wouldn’t be? If you truly loved your spouse and wanted your marriage to work, divorce is going to pull out pure and raw emotions you never knew were within. And there’s nothing wrong about the emotions that you feel. The key is to not allow the emotions to take over and cause you unnecessary grief in the end.

#2. I’m able to reflect on the lessons learned through my divorce and react positively about them. This was a tough one for me. Because going through my divorce, I wanted nothing more than to be out of it and the emotions that came along with it, as soon as possible. I wanted to believe that I didn’t play any part in the demise of my marriage. Initially, I believed that it was all my ex’s fault. But after seeking God to take over my life and studying his word. I was and am openly honest about my contribution. And because I know what they are and appreciate them, I don’t feel any need to hide them at all. (S/N: I keep hearing a dear friend tell me to write from an honest vein and in this post I couldn’t be more honest) I’m so honest and open about them. I am going to list them. Because I’m so much more aware and diligently working to make sure I don’t repeat those same things. (Stay tuned to the following post, because I’m going to literally list those things that I did to contribute to my marriage. Hopefully, those who are married will read them and make sure not to do those things. And maybe those who are divorced will search deep within themselves to evaluate what their real contributions to their divorce were.) I know everyone of my flaws and I am taking the steps and precautions to ensure that WHEN (optimism at best) I get married again it will be for LIFE!

#3. I can appreciate the good times/memories we shared, laugh and move on. In the past when I used to talk about the good times, my ex and I shared, it used to make me cry. The disappointment I felt was unbearable and I’d rather not even talk about it. I’m sure my closest family and friends used to hate to see me coming (I can laugh about it now). But indeed it had to weigh heavy on them, when they’d mention my ex in a sentence and I’d break down. I couldn’t even look at the photos without tearing up, because I was enwrapped in the past. Not considering what a beautiful future I could still have if I just had the faith to move forward. Today I can speak about my ex spouse in a positive way and share the fun times we had with others. It doesn’t hurt to know that we won’t be able to have those moments together again.

This is just 3 reasons, I know that I’m healed. However, there are more to follow. Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I post the conclusion to “Knowing When You’re Healed”.

 

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Why So Many Men Never See Divorce Coming

I read this blog written by Judge Lynn Toler…you know, she’s the judge from Divorce Court! It was a shocker to me, because I originally thought that more men filed for divorce than women. But apparently there is a group of men, whose wives file for divorce and apparently they feel blindside. I’m reposting part of the blog she wrote for the Huffington Post here. I’d love to know what you think about it… 

//

Lynn Toler

Divorce Court Host and Author of My Mother’s Rules

Posted: February 2, 2011 10:53 AM

I first heard it from attorneys who typically represent men in a divorce. I then began to see it in the cases that came before me. I remember the attorney who first mentioned it to me some ten years ago, he leaned back in his chair at a conference on divorce and said, “It never ceases to amaze me how many men come to me with their jaws on the floor saying they never saw it coming.”

Now, I am witnessing it in my own social circles. All around me long-term marriages are coming to an end. And as the studies show many of those jumping ship are women.

Not only am I seeing a rash of fleeing women all around me, I also see what I first ascertained years ago: That a fairly significant number of men–especially in longer term marriages–never saw their divorces coming. There was, they say, no warning, no build up, no escalating tensions, just an unexpected, non-negotiable and seemingly unprovoked decision to leave.

Of course, this is not the norm. Most marriages careen into a ditch after traversing a noticeably bumpy road. Likewise, there are women who are surprised when their husbands decide to leave, but what I am talking about here is that not-so-small group of guys who are caught flat footed by their wives sudden and seemingly unexplained departure.

As with everything involved with the human condition, there is no one reason for any trend. But after having witnessed it from the bench and in my own backyard and from reading what I can, I do see one common mistake both men and women are making that seems to rear its head in a number of these unexpected abandonment cases. I mention it here because I think it ends some very salvageable marriages…

For the rest of the article…click here! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-toler/why-so-many-men-never-see_b_815502.html

 

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A Marriage Built To Last: Lessons Learned From My Grandparents

I ran across this amazing website entitled “Black & Married With Kids” . They recently posted this amazing blog written by Edward C. Lee that I just had to share with you all. It shares some awesome words of wisdom that would be helpful to apply to your marriages, those new and/or reconciled. I hope you will please take the time to read.

Grandparents

A Marriage Built To Last: Lessons Learned From My Grandparents

December 21, 2010

The Christmas holiday season always makes me think of my grandparents.

My grandfather, Buddy, and my grandmother, Thelma, were married on New Year’s Eve, December 31st 1935. They had been married 59 years when my grandfather passed away in his garden with his hands neatly folded on his chest and a smile on his face in 1994. With a nickname like “Buddy” it goes without saying that he was the friendly, giving type of person that everyone loved.

For as much as we all loved him, his passing gave the family time to really get to know my grandmother in deeper ways than we had to that point. Of course she dealt with her bouts of loneliness without her soul mate of almost 60 years by her side. But in those years she did not just survive but she thrived and grew in her independence until she passed away in 2008. One minute she was laughing with some friends at her assisted living facility over lunch and minutes later she had a stroke and was in heaven.

I love the way they died: happy, fulfilled, well-respected, well-loved and content. I aspire to live a life so that one day I might die as well as they did (think about that one for a minute). Yet as thankful as I am for how they died, it is the way they lived that has shaped me and my views of what is important in marriage.

So as I reflect personally, as I always do this time of year, I want to share some of the lessons my grandparents modeled in front of me as they persevered through their 59 years together.

1. Maintain a Light Spirit in Heavy Times

In the later years of my grandmother’s life I would take every opportunity to find out what life was like for her and my grandfather through the 1930‘s, 40‘s and 50‘s. She would often share stories of traveling from Pennsylvania back through parts of the South to get to Florida. She would tell of the network of people and lodging arrangements they would have to make to ensure that her, my grandfather, and their two small children were safe as they travelled through the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida during the 1950s. Yet, given the backdrop of every story – danger, near misses, hiding, racial cruelty – she always told them with bursts of laughter woven into the seriousness. She could laugh because in the seriousness of what they faced they learned to remain light hearted. They did not turn on each other, but they stayed together and found ways to laugh through the heaviness of what they experienced. They never allowed the oppression to press them out of their character or turn against each other. In retrospect it fits with the advice my grandmother would always give me, “Give your wife a kiss, everyday, just love her even when you are mad, hold onto each other and you can get through anything. A hug and a kiss every day. Just hold onto each other.”

2. Avoid the Urge to Blame

In the mid-1980’s my grandfather was fixing the lawn mower in his basement and noticed some water from a recent storm had gotten into the basement. So he went to get a rag to wipe it up. Unfortunately, what he thought was water was actually the gasoline from the lawn mower. As he returned and knelt down to wipe up what he thought was water, the furnace exploded in his face. The force of the blast was so powerful that it knocked down my grandmother who was all the way up on the 2nd floor. Yet my grandfather whose face was inches from the blast did not have even a hair on his head singed. It is pretty amazing that he made it out of there alive. Perhaps even more amazing that there was never a word of blame spoken or expressed between them about the fire.

For the next year they lived in a cramped two-bedroom apartment. Every thing that could be salvaged from what remained of their three bedroom 2 story with a basement home was jammed in this tiny two bedroom apartment – box upon box, from floor to ceiling. Yet there was never a word of complaint. My grandmother never said, “How could you have burned down our house…” not a word. She never blamed him, instead she supported him, cheered him on and just forgave. She later shared with me that she was more concerned with getting through the ordeal together than placing words of blame. Her reflection of what was most important to her at that painful time has been a point of challenge to me. There have been times in my marriage when I just want to say, “this is your fault!”. But grandmom is right, love and support are far more productive at keeping the family together than blame.

To read the remaining portion of this blog, please click… http://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/2010/12/21/a-marriage-built-to-last-lessons-learned-from-my-grandparents/