What can you do when your marriage is over?

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Troy B Thompson

Someone very dear to my heart called today and told me that her husband of twenty-one years had asked for a divorce.

I was floored.

It took me a few minutes to make sense of what she was telling me.

I tried to internalize how two people who have been together for so long, who have two children and three dogs, and who just last summer vacationed with us, had suddenly decided to call it quits.

As I heard my friend weep on the other end of the line, I wondered why she had called me.

Having known me for a long time, I was certain she knew that I wasn’t the comforting type.

Nor was I the savvy financial adviser who could instruct her on how to get her affairs in order.

Even worse, I couldn’t even give her the name of a trustworthy lawyer.

And then it dawned on me; she already knew this.

So why was my friend calling me, of all people, to tell me about her marital woes when she knew how prickly I was in all things deemed “affairs of the heart?”

I struggled to find the answer to this question and suddenly, there was silence on the other end.

“Bella, are you there?”

Without hesitation I answered, “Of course I am. I’m here. Go on.”

I smiled slightly, realizing I had discovered why this heartbroken soul had called me: She needed to be heard.

She didn’t need financial, legal, or marital counseling.

She just needed to be heard.

As our conversation continued, I could hear the pain, the confusion, the anger, and above all, the uncertainty.

Her uncertainty regarding, what would happen now?

How would she survive? How would she make it on her own? How would she raise her children as a single mother? How would she make ends meet?

While I didn’t have all the answers, I was able to say something that appeared to bring her solace.

I said, “You’re going to be okay. I believe in you.”

And like magic, I heard her exhale.

Even now, I’m amazed at how a handful of words hold so much power.

I believe it’s because in our darkest moments, when we’re held hostage by fear, what the majority of us want to hear is that we’re going to be alright; that there’s no turning back; that all we can do is move forward.

The fact that someone believes in us, in our ability to jump back from tragedy, is in itself a great comfort.

It saddens me that society has led us to believe that happiness is achieved when we snag a man, buy a house, have 2.5 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence.

How can we be so gullible?

I wonder if what throws us into a downward spiral is the realization that this arrangement is crumbling.

Is our self-belief so weak, that we lose control and power over our lives the minute we learn our status will undergo change?

And if this is the case, why?

Is it because we stop believing in ourselves? In our ability to survive? In our resilience, our perseverance, our fighting spirit?

Yes, there’s no denying that the news of “I want a divorce” can have a devastating effect on even the mightiest of women.

I’m not stating the contrary.

But really, ladies, must we stay in the stronghold of tragedy forever?

My friend is crushed; she’s struggling to find her inner strength; her ability to fight.

I hear what sounds like a broken woman, but I know that deep down lays a force to be reckoned with.

All she needs is for someone to remind her; to validate the fact that yes, she will get through this; that she’ll be okay.

Because while there are circumstances that floor us, it doesn’t mean we have to stay down for the count.

We have the choice to get up.

After all, defeat does not lie in the outcome of being knocked down, it lies in your inability to get back up.

So friend, I believe in you.

I believe in your ability to come back from the dark place you’re in now. Because you’re strong. Because you’re resilient. Because you’re a fighter.

While you may think you’re broken, nothing could be further from the truth.

You’ve been given the opportunity to reinvent yourself; to tap into your inner diva; the one that reaffirms that you’re worthy, beautiful, and above all, courageous.

I’m here for you. You’ve got this. You’re going to be okay.

In the end, you’ll survive and look back at this as another opportunity for growth; a way to find yourself again; the strong soul that you possess and which allows you to battle anything that stands in your way.

Repeat after me, “Bring it!”

Food for thought, ladies. Food for thought.

How much of a fighter are you?