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How to Handle Weddings After a Divorce

We are deep into wedding season. This is a beautiful time of hope and dreaming for many couples. For some, it’s a painful reminder of all that they’ve lost. It’s also an opportunity for growth. How does one handle weddings after a divorce? Here’s how: finding the hope and innocence in weddings can help you reconnect with the part of you that has been damaged or lost after a divorce.

Let me get real: I hated weddings after my divorce. I felt anger, bitterness, jealousy, and other things that I can’t quite name. They were painful. Why? Because my own dreams of love, being loved, having a family and a partner were shattered. It wasn’t just about the loss, it was about coming to terms with the loss. It was about grief. Death. Yes, I went there. It was about letting something I loved, a piece of innocence, die. What are those stages of grief? I didn’t want to budge from the first few.

But I loved my friends and family, and I also didn’t want to be the one ruining anything, or sobbing uncontrollably in a corner. How did I come to a place of hoping and believing with them, for them? I had to let go.

I let go of what I wanted for my marriage. I processed the loss of what I’d thought was a life of love and trust. As I began to forgive, forgive myself and my former spouse, I found that there were little spaces opening up where the anger and hurt had been. In those little spaces, I put love and joy. Over the years, they’ve grown. I can watch people I love fall in love, lose their heads in the intoxicating power of first finding someone; I can rejoice with them when they get engaged, and I can embrace their dreams of a lifetime together; I can help plan and organized their ceremony, and I can cry out of joy for what they’ve found in each other. I’m much happier, better person now.

One of the most important keys to enjoying the summer wedding season is love. Just because my marriage didn’t last doesn’t mean someone else's will fall into charred ruins. Learning to believe again in love not only saved me from a lifetime of bitterness, but it has helped me as a person. Like the Grinch, my heart has grown several sizes. I’d rather have a heart too full than a heart to small. Celebrate with your friends and family this summer. Believe again in the power of love. You might find it painful, but incredibly healing.