When you do everything right, but it all goes wrong, there’s only one thing left to hold on to…

In the beginning

I grew up in a two parent home but at some point my parents got a divorced. I was 7. Even though their relationship ended my father, was very active in our lives, as well as my mom. My idea of marriage was more so of both parents being in the house. And since I didn’t have that, I decided to look at models of homes with both parents. I was always excited to see the family structure of father and mother coming home to have dinner together, I wanted that for myself. So I looked at some people that I could look up to as an example.

 Jumping the broom

I was a virgin when I got married. I was 22. She was a virgin too.  Marriage is something that I always wanted. It’s also bible based. I didn’t want to just be in any kind of relationship and not be married. To have a healthy family is something that I believed in. So I decided to follow that. We were married for 13 years, and it was great. Then one day she told me she was leaving.

All Falls Down

So what happened? People have been asking me this question forever and my response is never good enough, until some begin to realize that it’s possible. The answer may shock you. You would think I would know what happened and when. But the truth is I didn’t see it coming. We were in a lovely relationship. When you’re in a relationship for so long you don’t go around looking for things to happen. You’re in it until death do us part. I would see it coming if we were fighting constantly. I did everything I could do to be the best husband and father possible. There might have been some signs If I wasn’t treating her right, or if she was depressed. Then you know something is missing. But what if, there are no signs?  And in my case, that was it. There were no signs. She told me she was going to leave me, and I joked about it. I wasn’t expecting her to do that. I thought she was joking. She said no I’m serious. I said give me one reason why you are leaving. I said whatever I need to do, just don’t go. She left the following morning. And it hit me, that she was gone. Here I am with our two babies, and this was my reality. I had no one, except my church family, but they were already divided, because they didn’t know what to think of me. A lot of people condemned me. I was the monster because my wife left.

 Making Sense of It

Its ok to ask God questions, like why did you let this happen to me? He could have prevented it. If Jesus could ask God questions so could I. I questioned God a lot. I was expecting some answers. But even if God came down from heaven and spoke to me, I wouldn’t accept his answer. I wanted him to prevent this from happening and make this thing right. I would go with it because he is God, but that’s not what I was looking for. I begged her to come back. I plead, I cried, I fasted for 21 days. 21 days came I said I’d make it 40 days. I was fighting for my family and for my wife.

Lessons Learned

You know the TV show A Different World? That’s marriage. It’s a whole different world. It’s nice to have marriage seminars and conferences and all the great books, and bible scriptures. It’s all great but when you’re in it, it’s a whole different story. Marriage is more so the understanding of a relationship. These are two people from two different backgrounds who came together, and unite to become one. Going into it, I gave myself enough time to learn about marriage and the responsibility that comes with marriage. I felt like I knew a whole lot but I didn’t know what I know now. There are certain responsibilities that come with marriage. If we’re boyfriend and girlfriend forever, I don’t have certain responsibilities. I don’t have to come home at night. If I don’t feel like hanging out with you one day, I don’t have to. We don’t have to eat together, we don’t have to dine together; we are not husband and wife. The responsibility of a husband is not on me, the responsibility of a wife is not on you. So we are free to do whatever we want to. Some people want that freedom. It’s not a burden, but people see it that way. Marriage is a beautiful thing because you become one with a person, and instead of just you, there’s someone else.

I think that we don’t want to adjust after marriage. We have to compromise but we are refusing to. I am me, you are you and I can’t change you, you can’t change me. If we decided to do this together, we have to make the right changes to accommodate each other. In the beginning when we started, we changed our environment, our program, our schedule, to accommodate each other. Now that we are together we have to continue that. But that part stops, because we feel like we are in already. Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to be on time? You were on time in the beginning. As a matter of fact, you were waiting for me. Now there’s no need for it anymore, because why should I? Things don’t change. WE don’t want to change to meet each other’s needs, or meet each other half way. We can’t do that unless we realize how important it is to have a healthy relationship. Complacency is the byproduct of mediocrity. We become complacent because we think I’ve arrived. I’m already there. There’s no room for complacency in a relationship. I wish everybody could understand this. We take each other for granted.

Forever Faithful

I never lost faith in God I understood quickly that this is my only hope. I cannot lose my mind. I have two kids to take care of, so my faith was very strong. I knew I couldn’t play with this. I can’t do without God and I need his help. People do a lot of crazy things when they go through this. The whole time I was seeking God. He was my only hope. The two things that kept me together was my faith in God and my children. Not having God in my life at that moment would be dangerous.

 Moving Forward

This experience was an eye opener. It was a painful experience. Never in a million years did I think I would go through a divorce. Going through a divorce was the most painful thing in my life, because I lost somebody that I loved. I had to give myself enough time to recover. To grieve is a process and the grieving process is not easy. The first year, I didn’t date. I was fighting for my family and for my wife. It gave me time to pray, to reflect on how I could have done things better. I decided to put a lot of things on the back burner, and take care of my children. I realized that I could do ministry and everything else, but what about my family? If you want to date, you have to heal from your past. Don’t bring old baggage into the relationship. Sometimes there is some residue that you have to do away with. I’ve recovered from the past completely. I have moved on. Do I want to get married again? Of course. I gave myself enough time.

 Love Never Fails

I still believe in love and I want to get married again because I’ve discovered love is not the only component that keeps a marriage together. I believe there are 3 things that keep a marriage together, and those three things are love, communication, and loyalty. You have to feed love. The moment you stop feeding it, it departs. I hear people say all the time I want someone who can make me happy, someone who can make me laugh. I say no, you have to be a happy person in the first place. If you are not a happy person, there is no way in this world I can make you happy. Period. So think about what you need to do to be happy. Your spouse should contribute to your happiness, but it’s not their job to make you happy. If that’s what the expectation is, then it’s unrealistic.

 A New Perspective

It doesn’t matter how right we do things. There’s a journey called life. What you do out of respect for God, will be rewarded by God. However God can allow anything he wants. We are still in a world where people are evil.  We don’t have control over other people’s actions. My ex-wife decided to do what she wanted to do, and it affected me. That doesn’t mean that God is the one who did this to me. We made a mistake. God was there to help us and uphold us, but it didn’t happen because we failed, not God. If you do what is right you will succeed in life. But just because things happen, doesn’t mean that God is not good. Things happen because of our own error. Things happen that God allow and we don’t know why. You can be the greatest man or woman of God; you are not exempt from calamity or divorce. And just because everything is ok in your life, it doesn’t mean that you are above anyone else. If someone were to tell me 6 years ago that I would go through a divorce, and that I would be able to help a lot of people, I would rebuke them and say Satan get thee behind me. But this is what happened, and sometimes we have to learn to embrace the unfortunate situation because we come out from it victorious. What I am learning is that a lot of people that I’ve talked to had their lives transformed based on my story, based on my calamity. With all that I went through, I am well equipped to help other people. I know what it is to be married, to be divorced, to be a single parent, and to be single. So I will make my story known. Most of the time, when we go through hardship it will make us stronger. Sometimes this is just the process for us to go higher. We will have a testimony, and it will produce the best of us.

Dr. Daniel Domini is a minister and author. He holds a Ph.D. in Theology, and is a Doctor of Ministry Candidate. He has a talk show called “Singles Impact” in the works, and  currently resides in Florida with his two children. Stay in touch with Daniel here