An Open Letter from a “Child” of Divorce who Still Believes in Love

This is an open letter from a daughter of a broken relationship. I have wanted to write this blog post/open letter so many times, but I was always afraid of how it would come across. I don’t want it to come across in a negative light toward my parents whom I love very, very much. I also don’t want it to hurt their feelings or make them feel bad. Therefore, I have begun to write it many times only to delete everything I’ve written and close my computer. Tonight alone, I’ve written a couple paragraphs only to delete them and start over more than a handful of times. This time is different though. This time I am going to write this blog post/open letter and I’m not going to look back, because it needs to be written and because I’ve read several “open letters about divorce” lately that have really made me want to write my own. So, here it goes.

 

Dear World,

I know I’m not the only “child” whose parents have divorced. I also know that I was born into a generation with some major trust issues—it’s actually a matter I discuss somewhat frequently with a friend of mine from work. I know that being a “millennial (born between 1980 and 2000)” puts me in a category of people who will almost always commit to living with their significant other before every considering committing to marry him/her. My friend and I talk about this somewhat frequently as well and she tends to say something along the lines of, “As much as I wish it did, I don’t think monogamy exists. I think people are only as loyal as their best option.” I think that’s the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Sure, if we look at the statistics of how many millennial’s parents are still committed to their first marriage, then maybe it makes sense to believe monogamy is a myth, but that’s only because too many people have bought into this lie that love is 50/50. No! Just, no! Love is NOT 50/50! Love is 100/100. It’s two imperfect people giving their very best to each other and loving each other despite their shortcomings, because, guess what NOBODY IS PERFECT. You may think I’m “cute” or “naïve” to think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to love and relationships, because I’ve never actually been in a relationship myself, but there’s a reason I’ve never been in a relationship and it’s because I DO believe in monogamy and it’s not something I’m going to find by being in relationship just because I can be. Again, that may sound “cute” or “naïve,” but I know what I’m talking about.

In nearly every memory I can remember about my parents, they were not happy together. I can’t count how many nights they ended yelling at each other because they were fighting over the absolutely stupidest things. I also can’t count how many nights I stayed awake at night drenching my pillow in tears as I begged the Lord to change my parents’ relationship. When I was in high school, mostly during my eleventh grade year, I felt nearly emotion a kid could possibly feel about her parents’ broken relationship. I felt like I was the blame, I felt anger, I felt resentment, I felt sadness, I felt it all, sometimes all at once, sometimes in floods that lasted long stretches of time, and sometimes alternatively on different nights. And eventually, I got to the point when I didn’t feel anything at all. All I wanted was them to get divorced already, instead of threatening it all the time, so that we could all just finally move on with our lives. In the end, they did get divorced, and you know what? It didn’t fix everything like I hoped it would. In the beginning, I was so angry with them, because I was already twenty-years-old, so I understood that they broke the ultimate vows and promises by divorcing instead of choosing to work things out and love each other—through better and through worse. Then, I felt resentment, because they finally started to get along after the divorce. Finally, I feel hope and even a little bit of happiness, but to be honest, also still a little bit of resentment.

 

Dear Dad,

I want to confess something to you. I know our relationship has really sucked over the last several years—probably the entirety of my teens years and maybe even before that. I know you think that it had to do with the fact that I chose mom’s side over your side, because she was the woman and I was the daughter, but that’s not true, and least not mostly. Our relationship has sucked because for as long as I can remember, I have always been so mad at you. You made a promise to mom, God, and everyone who gathered to witness your wedding that you would always love mom, through EVERYTHING NO MATTER WHAT. You didn’t do that. I know this because love isn’t always a matter of the heart, in fact, it’s almost always a matter of choice, and choices are reflected in actions. If you had kept your promise to always love mom, y’all wouldn’t have fought with each other all the time and you would have been someone whom everyone in the house wanted to follow as head of the household. You weren’t though. You were grumpy and argumentative, and you left us at least a handful of times, only to come back, swearing to change, but never really changing, until finally you left for good and everything ended in divorce. You like to tell me that when I was a little girl, I was always so excited to see you, but I don’t remember that. I only remember being disappointed because you were supposed to be the head of the household who was an earthly example of who God is—loving and caring and always there. You weren’t always there. You left. You were also supposed to be someone whom I looked up to as an example of someone I might want to marry someday, but you weren’t, not when you were angry. Not when you argued with mom, and not when you left.

I say this publicly, because pretty much everyone who knows our family knows the story, and because I also want to say the following things publically. I forgive you. I forgive you for breaking your promise to always love mom. I forgive you for not taking the highroad and choosing not to argue with mom over the stupidest and pettiest of things. I forgive you for taking the multiple chances you were given and not using them to change until it was too late. I also forgive you for divorcing mom. I want you to know that not everything was bad. You weren’t a horrible father and I really don’t think you were a horrible husband. I won’t lie and say you couldn’t have been better, but who couldn’t be better? We could all be better at everything we do. I appreciate and love the memories we have of watching Disney Channel shows and movies together. I will always remember the goofy times in which we would quiz each other and try stump each other with the most random of trivia questions from Disney Channel shows and movies like, what was Lizzie McGuire’s middle name (I don’t even remember, but I do remember that being one of our questions.) Even though we never really had a great relationship and it still needs a lot of work, though it’s being mended slowly every day, I look forward to the day when I one day find a man to marry so you can walk me down the aisle.

 

Dear Momma,

My confession to you is that I have always held a sort of resentment toward you. It’s true what they say, the apple doesn’t far from the true. Children get many of their qualities from their parents. I have resented you because I am my mother’s daughter, which means almost all of the qualities I hate in myself are qualities I have gotten from you. You and I are both stubborn and strong-willed with a need to be always right. We raise our voices when we get angry, but refuse to admit that we’re anything less/worse than simply passionate about what we’re discussing—let’s face it, we are not simply being passionate, we are angry and yelling. We stress about every little detail about everything even the stupidest detail that have no weight on the final outcome of whatever it is we’re stressing about, but it doesn’t matter, because it exists, and that means it’s supposed to be stressed about until we’re on the verge of having a breakdown over stressing over so much at one time. I’ve also resented you for giving dad so many chances even though every time he left and came back the results were always the same. I’ve resented you because you would always threaten divorce but would never really do it. I never really wanted you to get divorced, but you threatened so much, it got to the point I wished and waited for it to actually happen so that I would have to hear you talk about it anymore. I’ve also resented you because anytime you’d ask for someone’s opinion on something, you wouldn’t rest until they said what you wanted to hear, or until everything blew up and out of proportion.

It’s such a shame we couldn’t grow up like Rory and Lorelai Gilmore, but you know what? It’s okay. Mother-Daughter relationships like theirs are few and far between, if they really exist at all. Most mother-daughter relationships, like ours, are like Emily and Lorelai’s relationship—strained, but only because we always want what’s best, even if we don’t always agree. I “forgive you” for passing me some of our worst traits, because sometimes they came in handy as some of our best traits also because you also passed on some of your best traits. We’re rather quiet and reserved in a large setting, unless we have one of those special people around us who bring out our social side, but in one on one situations, we’re more relaxed and at ease. I also have your pretty eyes, pretty hair, and adorable dimples! Oh, and your laugh, which I’m still trying to decide whether is a blessing or a curse since it’s so loud! Ha, ha! I hope that as we continue to grow close and get past the teen angsts and resentment of our past relationship, we can become more like friends now that your job of disciplining me is finished.

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

Sometimes, I still feel resentment and anger toward you both because I was always so proud to know that even though you were both always arguing and fighting and that that brought out the worst in all of us sometimes, you still stayed married, and thus technically still fought for your marriage. I mean, who can argue as passionately as y’all did and as we all did as a family and not do it because we love each other? I don’t remember what the exact quote is and I can’t remember where it’s from, but there’s a quote from show that I like that basically says, “They fight because they care. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t fight,” and I really like that because that’s how I always felt about our family. Then, you finally got a divorce though, and I sometimes thought that that would make me happy, because it would end the fighting, but it didn’t make me happy. It made me sad and I grew even more resentful toward y’all, because it was like y’all gave up on everything you ever fought for, thus, putting the family through drama for no reason. Then, when I learned that after getting divorced y’all finally decided to start working on your relationship together, I grew even more resentful, because it was a waste of time and resources to get divorced only to work on your relationship anyway. You could have just separated for an undetermined amount of time and then worked everything out. I was also resentful because you finally decided to try to get along when I was twenty-something and living on my own, so I don’t really get to see much of the evidence of y’all working things out.

Now I’m happy though, because I’m a firm believer in “better late than never” and I also believe in monogamy, which to a certain extent, y’all are keeping by working on your relationship. I can only hope that working on your relationship will lead to a recommitment to each other and your marriage, because if not, what’s the point?

 

Dear World (Part Two),

So, now you know. I’ve seen some of the very worst things that make love so hard, but you know what? Even though my parents are divorced, I still believe in love, I still believe in monogamy, and I am still a hopeless romantic. Why and how? You may ask. Because love and monogamy are daily choices to stay committed to this one person no matter what life may throw at you. Love and monogamy are the daily choices to say that, sure, maybe that person over their looks better or acts better, but I don’t care, because the grass is greener where you water it. So, yeah, I am twenty-two-years-old and I have never been in a relationship, but it’s not because I haven’t had the opportunity to and it’s not because I’m naïve. It’s because I believe in love and monogamy and I’m not going to be in a relationship just to say I’ve been in a relationship, because those are the kinds of relationships that break us and make us afraid to believe in love and monogamy—no, I’m waiting for someone whom I can call friend, before I call him boyfriend, someone who I can feel comfortable with, before getting comfy with him. I’m looking and waiting for someone who is a trustworthy friend whom I am as comfortable sharing my deepest thoughts and feelings with as I am with my closest friends with, because if I trust him as much I trust my closest girl friends, then I’ll know that I can trust him with my heart and my love life. I am the daughter of a broken relationship, but that does not define and it does not keep me from believing in trust, true love, and monogamy/commitment.

CRAZY–Discernment, Guns, and God’s Protection

When I’m nervous, anxious, and or afraid, I write. This morning, I’m still feeling some nerves from one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me in the, two weeks short of, 22 years I’ve been on this earth. Therefore, I’m going to write about it and share about it on my blog, because my God is awesome and like Kari Jobe sings in “Keeper of My Heart,” “From the first to the last breath I breathe, the Lord watches over me.”

According to Merriam-Webster, discernment is the ability to perceive (feel, sense, or become aware of) and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently. Generally speaking, I have very strong discernment, and unfortunately, my discernment was spot on this morning on December 10, 2015 at approximately 12:15am at Walmart.

My coworker, Anna, and I are friends and we like to have dinner together on Wednesdays. When we’re not busy and working the same shift, we like to go to Walmart together. This morning, a light-skinned man with thick facial hair, who was dressed in all black walked into the store while we were walking out. He had a very series look on his face that troubled me, but he also wasn’t bad looking, so I made a passing comment to Anna, once he was out of earshot, that he was attractive in a dark and brooding kind of way, but also kind of mysterious and creepy. She laughed, I laughed, and we walked out to our cars where we stopped and had a nice a heart to heart conversation that was long overdue.

About fifteen minutes after we passed each other, the man we passed on our way out came running out of the store with a couple of employees chasing after him yelling. Anna and I recognized him and noticed that he had at least two guns on him—rifles, possibly assault rifles, idk if those are even sold at Walmart though? Anyway, scared beyond belief, Anna and I stopped in the middle of our heart to heart conversation, and I told her we needed to go home. Before we got in our cars, I told her to text me when she got home.

When we pulled out of the parking lot, Anna went first and turned right out of the parking lot, which was in the same general direction that the man ran toward. Already scared, I almost began to freak out, but my heart knew better and started to cry out to the Lord, so instead of listening to Justin Bieber like I had been planning to before the incident, I turned the radio on to the Christian radio station and listened to like-minded people praise the same God who saved me and Anna from potential danger.

When Anna and I were both safely home, we text messaged each other a few times and realized it might have been a good idea for us to have stayed and talked to the employees in case they needed us since we were eye-witnesses, but as young 20-somethings, we also realized we were too terrified to think clearly enough to have thought about doing that. I did however try to call them to see if we should have stayed, but since it was 1am, they didn’t answer.

I normally work until 1:15am, so I typically do my shopping at 2am after work, because it’s easier to do it then than to wake myself up to do it before work, so Anna and I had talked earlier that night about how I was going to go to the Walmart closer to my house after we separated, because I needed to buy a couple things that I didn’t find at the Walmart closer to work. So she asked me, “You are home already, right,” too which I answered, “Absolutely! I’m not gonna watch a guy run out of a store with at least two guns and not go straight home! I’m crazy, but not that crazy!” A couple of text messages later she said, “That’s crazy because you noticed him out of everyone at the store and said he looked creepy… you noticed something wrong before it happened.” This gift of discernment sometimes means that I feel like something is going to happen before it actually happens, not in like a supernatural, “I can see the future” kind of way, but in a very strong sense of “what if” kind of way.

More importantly than my gift of discernment though is the protection I have from God who according to Psalms 121:7-8, “keeps me from all harm, watches over my life, and keeps watch over me as I come and go, both now and forever.” For a passage that was written thousands of years ago, those words “keeps watch over me as I come and go,” seem to be strikingly specific for the situation Anna and I faced this morning.

If you’ve ever watched an action flick or show, then you’ve seen at least one scene in which the bad guy runs out of a building with guns, notices someone who could be a witness to his crime, and shoots them to avoid being caught. I can’t help thinking of those kinds of scenes tonight as I think of just how blessed Anna and I were to have been so close to this man not just as he walked into the building, but also as he ran out with at least guns, and are now safely in our beds physically unscathed by what could have potentially been a deadly situation had this man been like the thieves in movies and crime shows.

Now, I don’t know why God saved Anna and me from the potential danger of a man crazy enough to steal large guns, but we are safe and sound and to me that says God isn’t done with us yet. It says, God wants to use us and our lives for at least another day. Maybe He’ll even use this post for His glory and to be something positive in someone else’s life. Idk, but I do know, I’m here because God kept me and Anna from harm and He has a plan for our lives just like He has a plan for everyone else’s life.

I just wanted to share this crazy story with the world before going to bed, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep without writing about it, and also because the world needs to know about how awesome and protective my God is! Like for real! I can’t think of any other reason why I would feel such a strange feeling about a man I’d never met, only to have him run past me with at least two stolen guns fifteen minutes later without caring that the two girls who looked him straight in the face were standing in front of him yet again, unless it were to praise God for His love and protection in a situation that could have been very dangerous, especially considering the society that we live in!

Dear Tim, Men Like Tim, and Future Husband

Part 1

Dear Tim Tebow,

           I don’t know what happened between you and Olivia Culpo. Maybe the headlines are right and she broke up with you because of your abstinence, or maybe it was something entirely different. I don’t know and quite frankly, it’s none of my business. There is something I do know though and that is that you are a stand-up guy. You’re the kind of guy girls like me dream of finding and falling in love with one day. From superficial standpoint, you are very attractive with your beautiful blue eyes, often scruffy facial hair, adorkably smart-looking glasses, and well-built physique. From a monetary standpoint, you’re a famous football player, so I’m sure you’d be a very reliable financial support for whichever lucky lady wins your heart and hand in marriage one day. Most importantly, you have a heart of gold.

I’m not normally one to judge a person based on who they are as a celebrity, but I am one to judge someone’s character based on their heart, which is why I don’t judge most celebrities’ character, because you can’t normally know someone’s heart without personally knowing. I am confident though, that I don’t need to know you, Tim (can I call you Tim?), to know your heart. You’re barely twenty-eight years old, so you’re still fairly young; therefore, it would make sense, since you’re only in your twenties, if you were still trying to figure out what it is that you believe and stand for in this life. Isn’t that what our twenties about—discovering who we are and what we believe? You know who you are though, and you know what you believe. You’re a godly Christian man whose heart knows what it believes and is willing to give up anything in order to maintain those beliefs.

I’m a twenty-one-year-old female virgin (*collective gasp* yes, I said the “V word.”) and I just really want to thank you from the bottom of heart for being one of the few but proud Christians in the spotlight (not including those who are in the Christian spotlight) who has claimed a life of purity and actually acted on that promise, even when it means possibly losing girlfriends because of it. I want to thank you for being a visible reminder to girls like me that guys like you really do exist. Sometimes it’s hard being someone who has sworn to save themselves for marriage, especially when it’s such a rare thing to do, even (unfortunately) in the Christian community. I can’t imagine how hard it must be not simply to be a virgin in the spotlight, but to be a practicing Christian in all areas of your life. Furthermore, thank you for being an example, not only to me and other girls, but to practicing Christian men like you who have made the promise to stay abstinent until marriage.

Part 2

Dear Men Like Tim,

I will be twenty-two in three weeks, and I have never had a boyfriend or any kind of romantic or physical relationship with anyone and that’s why I’m writing this open letter. I know what it’s like to be judged in a society that focuses so intently on sex that people like me, people like Tim, and people like you are stigmatized because of it! At best, we’re treated like children who just haven’t grownup yet, and at worst we’re mocked and scorned for thinking we’re holier than thou or something. Honestly, why does my sexuality have anything to with your happiness? If I shouldn’t be judging people for who they want to you love, why are you judging me for when I want to “make love?” Guys! You deserve a round of applause because as bad as it is for me to be a twenty-one year old virgin (yes, I said it again), I’m sure it’s much worse for you, because in this society, it’s not okay for men not to be sexually active, so thank you! Thank you for waiting! Y’all are the real MVP’s, because you have beliefs and you stand for them, even though they are some of the most unpopular beliefs of our generation!

Part 3

Dear Future Husband,

Thank you for waiting for me. Thank you for being the reason why it’s so easy for me to wait. I know that one day we’ll find each other, fall in love, get married, and find that the wait truly was worth it. I know that we won’t ever have anything to regret in at least this one area of our lives because we didn’t waste time on people who would ultimately disappoint us and leave us. Sure, we won’t be perfect and yeah, we’ll regret other things in life, but it feels so good to think that somewhere out there, maybe even reading this post right now, there is a man who is wearing the letter “A” for abstinence like a scarlet letter on his chest, because he’s made the same commitment to wait until marriage that I’ve made. I know it seems strange, even a close friend of mine was genuinely shocked to hear that Tim Tebow at 28 still hasn’t had sex. She knows I’m almost 22, still a virgin (wow, three times in one post? I’m on a role with this strange word) , and planning to be one until marriage, and I really think at least a part of her, if not all of her, respects me for making such a crazy and weird decision in this day and age. Still though, the shock on her face and in her voice could not have been hidden. She thinks Tim Tebow is crazy, I’m sure she thinks I’m a little crazy too, and if she ever meets you, she’ll probably think you’re crazy. I mean, heck, even I think we’re crazy! That’s what makes it so beautiful! We’re willing to look crazy in order to keep the promises that we’ve made to ourselves, to each other, and to our God, to save that special moment of love for each other. So thank you, future husband, for looking crazy and waiting for me!

Always with Love,

Brittany, the 22-year-old virgin