Hey all—As we wrap up our singleness series, I’m delighted to introduce you to Deborah Schultz. She writes honestly and with intimacy about her divorce experience. But, before we get there, I wanted to update you on a couple of things:
1) I got all of the stickers on my mommy chart and bought myself a personalized mug from Shutterfly. Yay mom!
2) I’m speaking in Texas in a couple of weeks, so will be taking a “summer vacay” from the blog to prepare for that. (Unless something horrifically shameful happens—then you know I’ll blog about it.) Be back online in September with a series on Adoption. Can’t wait to catch up then. In the meantime, if you’re feeling like, “Oh, I really wish Aubrey would write about THIS on her blog,” Would you let me know what THIS is? Otherwise, we are left to my crazy whims…  
3) WAR international is doing a formal dress drive. The dresses are donated to rescued women in other countries in order to help them start their own rental businesses—these women can rent out the items at a very good rate, and earn some steady income to support themselves and their loved ones. You can donate any type of formal gown 10-years-old or newer to our program by dropping it off or mailing it to WAR’s headquarters: 2790 44th St SW Wyoming, MI 49519. Check out Warinternational.org Garment of Praise program for more info.   
Now…for Deborah.
Deborah is a single mom and freelance writer who values the gifts of self-expression and discernment. Having been raised by a Catholic mother and Jewish father, she attended Catholic school and now attends Community Fellowship Church, a Judeo-Christian non-denominational church.   

Eight years ago, Deborah grew in her relationship with God while going through divorce and breast cancer. A caring friend she considers part of her extended family brought her to church. The experience gave her hope, which also happens to be the middle name Deborah’s father blessed upon her.
Just a Piece of Paper

Our wedding brought over 100 people of various ages and relationships together for a ceremony.  It was a blessed event followed by good food, drinks, music, dancing, and celebration.

Marriage is an acknowledgement of one’s love and lifetime-commitment to another person before society and God. It’s a legal institution. On that blessed day we received a piece of paper stating we were officially “United in Marriage.” A lovely young couple made family in a moment. 

That was 30 years ago.
Our divorce brought with it three years of formal battle and stress. There were two attorneys present and a judge, who asked why I wouldn’t close the deal. When it was finally over, I actually had to ask my attorney if I was divorced.  No formal proclamation sealed with a kiss. Just another piece of paper for my files. A new piece of paper that reversed the first and all the relationships that went with it.

July 2nd would have marked our 30th wedding anniversary if not for that second piece of paper. 
It would take a book to express the harsh realities and misgivings surrounding divorce, the angst produced when a life-changing process seems out of control. I could write chapters covering the feelings I’ve experienced. Divorce is a never-ending process. Feelings ebb and flow. Life goes on and brings new experiences, “for better or for worse.”
At the end of it all, the loss remains and the family unit is forever changed. I am not bitter, but it saddens me, as it would anyone, that the person who was supposed to be a lifetime partner has become my adversary. But, that’s divorce.

Do I have positive feelings or moments of enjoying a new singleness? Sure. There’s the nervous thrill of a new relationship, or discovering that you’ve “still got it!”  There’s the feeling of accomplishment in learning to do new things on your own.

However, none of that measures up to everything that marriage and a twenty-five year commitment was supposed to bring. The once-sturdy table developed a wobbly leg, and it fell.

If I have any insight to offer, it’s that unless there is physical or real emotional abuse, or multiple acts of infidelity, divorce is not a good answer. Get help before initiating a divorce. No relationship is perfect; but marriage and family are worth saving. However, that gets back to the fact that it only takes one person to divorce; that person must also want to save the marriage.

A piece of paper can’t define or carry the weight of what it means to have been married, to have a child with someone you committed to forever, or to have lost a relationship and the surrounding friendships. It does, however, make a legal decision final.

Our wedding ended with the traditional words, “What God has put together, let no man put asunder.”

That statement was overruled with just a piece of paper.

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