When the Glass Slipper Falls Off

Several years ago, two of my friends, Karla and Claire, wrote a great book entitled When the Glass Slipper Doesn’t Fit or When the Silver Spoon is in Someone Else’s Mouth. These were real life experiences that explored the notion that life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan. I love the book and still read from it occasionally. However, like me, these ladies have been married to the same guy all of their adult lives and don’t know what it’s like to have a husband walk out on them. I haven’t had that experience myself, either, so I can’t speak to that issue with authority. But I can imagine that being single again sends severe blows to a woman’s self-esteem no matter the situation that caused the divorce.  I have many friends who have had husbands abandon them and so I thought I’d let you know their thoughts of a couple of them, with their permission and cooperation of course, on this image busting event.

Nikki’s husband, just after their fourth child was born, left her for another woman. Here’s what Nikki writes:

“When my husband left me for another woman, I was completely devastated.  For so many years, my identity was completely wrapped up in the fact that I was someone’s wife.  Being someone’s wife meant that at some point someone had chosen me.  It comprised a huge part of who I was.  The fact that the person with whom I had chosen to do life had decided to ‘unchoose’ me, sent me spiraling down a deep abyss.  I felt like trash that had been thrown away.  I felt completely unloved and unworthy.  I now had the overwhelming task of trying to figure out who I was since my husband didn’t want me to be his wife.  I spent many days comparing myself to this other woman…”

Becky was married many years with almost grown children when her husband “unchose” her. Even though her abandonment happened several years ago, she’s still reeling from the stigma attached to this tragedy and the loneliness that has ensued. Here’s what she said about her life now:

“Rejection is an ongoing problem for the divorced woman who is a believer. Gone is that circle of friends that you ‘did life’ with because it’s mostly couples. You no longer live in their world.

“The hardest place to fit in is the local church. ‘God Hates Divorce’!!  It’s true!  And, therefore, there is a certain place where the divorced reside. I already feel less holy and it’s obvious that others feel the same. My small group doesn’t fit. I’m immediately an outsider.”

I happen to know that both of these women are attractive, brilliant women, and yet their self- worth meters dropped considerably after their husbands left them. They both have struggled with worthlessness as a result of this betrayal. That, of course, is understandable and no one would fault them for feeling that way. So how do the “unchosen” cope with such humiliation and isolation? Nikki still has her children with her and that gives her a sense of duty and purpose for now. Becky, however, is a grandmother with her brood living their own independent lives—not needing her for their everyday needs.

In both lives, there is little or no hope of reconciling with their husbands. That’s off the table. How do they deal with the loneliness and the feelings of being marital misfits?

Nikki’s words of wisdom continue:

“… I had to realize that long before my husband chose me, the Creator of the universe had chosen me to be His own.  I didn’t have to be someone’s wife.  I didn’t have to be someone’s mother.  I was His and unlike my husband, God would never send someone to knock at my door and send me papers saying that He didn’t want me anymore…”

I’m not into simplistic answers. I’m also not a stranger to the pain of betrayal, but I agree with Nikki that marital status—never married or single again—doesn’t define who we are. Like any other earthly pain, this struggle needs daily attention and surrender to survive it. Address the pain with daily dialogue with God.  Psalm 147:3 promises,

“He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.” (The Message)


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