Christi Krug is one of my angels. A writer, teacher and friend of epic depth and grace, Christi’s potent insight about the human experience and the divine has given me hope and courage over the years. And seeing Christi thriving on the other side of her own divorce precipice has always been a beacon for me. I am so thrilled to offer this beacon to you.
- How did you know your marriage was over?
I had an extremely difficult time realizing my marriage was over. Then one day my then-husband took action that showed our values were clashing in a severe, painful way. The values I held and developed were being broken – and I could only change myself, not the other person.
- How did the needs of your children impact your decision to divorce, and/or your experience of divorce?
I kept reminding myself that more than anything else, the children needed to see me living out my highest, best self and values. This was far more important than the shattered ideal of the two-parent biological family.
- What inner resources / strength / courage did you discover through your divorce process?
I don’t even know where to begin, answering this. I discovered I could make a very human, grown-up mistake and recover. I discovered I could disappoint everyone around me, and survive. I discovered that following that inner truth would always bring light, joy, and layer upon layer of self-discovery that helped me navigate the waves of heart-crushing pain. I discovered my most important relationship is always the one I have with myself and my Divine Source. I discovered I am forever fallible, no matter how hard I try not to be. I discovered I will bring damage to my children one way or another, despite my longing to raise them perfectly. I discovered that relying on this Divine Source could bring grace to my family in the midst of crisis and change.
- What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Great question! I know that forgiveness and understanding can return to two people who have divorced, even when there has been bitter conflict. You can forgive at any point in this lifetime and find wholeness through this act. In the middle of the pain and conflict, however, it feels as if it will go on forever. It won’t. You need to distance yourself from it somehow, find something healthy and happy in the moment, and know that one day you will be grateful you didn’t react to each slight and perceived injury.
- How has your divorce contributed to the healing / learning / evolution of you, your children, your family?
Both of my daughters are people of compassion. My oldest daughter is an incredible leader who shows understanding across cultures and populations. She is currently a missionary in Africa who makes it her daily work to reach out to the hurting and needy, and she has a special gift with children. My youngest daughter is a college student and artist. When in fifth grade, she was honored with the highest achievement of her school, a citizenship award honoring two students who had shown the most care and consideration. Both she and the other recipient were children who had experienced divorce. The other mom and I talked about our daughters’ trials, and how they had become a touchstone for their sensitivity and kindness.My now-husband, also previously divorced, says that divorce helped him stop judging others. I, too, feel that divorce has destroyed my own judgmental attitudes. Once I accepted the inevitability of human failure, I was able to explore new ways of relating to others. I found new avenues of faith and culture, and a much bigger playing field, as many of my old settings, environments, and beliefs no longer fit.I also gained two stepsons who are the most incredible, talented, delightful human beings I have ever known. They enrich my life in countless ways and have helped to make my husband who he is.
- Have there been any surprising gifts for you and your children on the other side of divorce?
Every gift has been a surprise!
- What is the strategy / attitude / approach that has served you best while divorcing or co-parenting?
It was absolutely indispensable learning that a child’s self-esteem is formed of concepts of both parents’ identities. Every time I was tempted to say something negative about their dad, I had to realize I was only hurting my kids. I worked very hard to steer my focus away from mistakes that my own wounds would amplify. By the same token, I had to face that my children needed both parents to be actively involved in their lives, and once we both got this message, my co-parent and I became a supportive team who enjoyed meeting for parent-teacher conferences or saving each other seats at our kids’ concerts or plays. It was no longer about hoarding the girls for myself, once I understood how selfish and destructive this would be. The support circle widened to include their father’s wonderful family. Without their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, the girls wouldn’t be the amazing people they are today.
* * * * *
Christi Krug is an author, artist, writing coach, story maker, journal keeper, poet, presenter, outdoor girl, and everyday contemplative. She writes about relationships human and Divine at afirebynight.blogspot.com; more about her at www.christikrug.com.