Several years ago, I brought my then five-year-old daughter to the doctor for her annual physical. She was due for a couple of immunizations, and I was trying to find a delicate way of answering her repeated question, “Am I going to get any shots?” I managed to avoid answering the question directly with responses like, “I’m not sure.” and “We’ll see.” When the moment of truth arrived and the nurse walked in with a tray containing two needles, my daughter buried her head in my shoulder and started crying and screaming, “It’s gonna hurt!” over and over. Wisely, the nurse proceeded quickly to give her the shots. It was all over in about 15 seconds. However, my daughter, consumed with her fear, just kept right on screaming, “It’s gonna hurt!” Finally, I gently hugged her and said, “Honey, it’s all done.” Immediately, she stopped crying and said, “Oh.” giggling with a mixture of relief and embarrassment.
I think that story illustrates well what we all tend to do after our divorce is over. Divorce, and the period leading up to it, is such an intensely emotional time. We are consumed with defending ourselves, fighting for what we believe is right, and dealing with the emotional fallout of life shoved into chaos. For many of us, it is hard to switch gears when the divorce is finally over. We tend to keep swinging like a punch-drunk prizefighter long after the bell has rung.
Put down the gloves and stop the cycle of anger, bitterness, and resentment. It’s the only way for healing to happen and peace to return. And don’t be surprised if your former spouse follows your lead and becomes more civil and cooperative in return.
A person gains honor by avoiding strife, while every fool starts a quarrel. – Proverbs 20:3