Coaching the Newly Divorced Woman, by Lynn KinnamanMay 1st, 2009 | By Kimberly Dinsdale | Category: Coaching Women - Guest Posts
The woman who calls you is angry. Her husband left her, and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do. It’s not the divorce that’s making her mad, she insists. That was a relief. Her life will be better, she explains, because he had been distant/unsupportive/abusive for the last few years anyway. She’s just upset because of how he did it, or when he did it, or why. She just wants to put it behind her.
If you’ve never been through divorce yourself, you might be tempted to believe her. If you do, you’ll miss the chance to help her in a meaningful way.
Anger and denial are common ways to mask the hurt and ignore the panic she feels. They are emotions she understands, as opposed to the reality that she’s not ready to accept.
She wants to believe she will be fine. Immediately. Her friends and family, who don’t know how to deal with her raw emotions, want the same thing. They’ll offer misguided, but well-intentioned advice, encouraging her to start dating and get on with her life.
The problem is, that’s the worst thing she could do.
She needs to acknowledge her true feelings. She needs to grieve. The newly divorced woman is in mourning. No matter how difficult the marriage, in her heart she believed things would work out. The sorrow from the loss of that dream is as intense and final as if her husband had actually died.
She can’t avoid it. She can’t pack up her pain the way she did her belongings. Just like with physical trauma, healing is a process. Finding another man and entering a new relationship at this point will cause more damage, actually prolonging the time it will take to get better.
How long? A rule of thumb is one year for every four years married. If she was married for decades, the idea of waiting five or more years to be restored is devastating, creating even more urgency.
Understanding this, you can help her set realistic expectations so she can assess her situation, accept the changes and embrace her opportunities. This season of her life can be a rich and rejuvenating experience, a chance to develop an intimate relationship with God.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
God can work all things to His glory, and by building on God’s foundation she will not only recover, but also be able to live her new life to the fullest.
Lynn Kinnaman is a certified coach with Life Purpose Coaching Centers International® and a DivorceCare facilitator. She’s a published author, most recently in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery, and specializes in coaching women who have life experiences similar to her own, such as: divorce, death of a loved one, financial setbacks, challenges of mentally ill family members and aging parents. To contact Lynn, please visit www.QueenOfPossibilities.com