Life is difficult. Those words---the first sentence in the book The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck—were ground zero for me in 1989 as I began a new journey as a single woman. I was drowning in a puddle of self-absorption and pity when my future therapist (she had no appointments available until the next week) suggested that I read this book. After seventeen years…my marriage was over… I was grasping for anything to hang on to as my life was spiraling out of control and I felt like a boat with no rudder or sense of direction. In the beginning, this book was my lifeline…then my compass…and finally the foundation that Mike and I used to rebuild our broken relationship into a healthy re-marriage guided by the grace and love of God.
In previous articles, I have talked about the brokenness of our marriage and the tools that we acquired through subsequent therapy sessions which allowed us to work around and through specific obstacles blocking our personal and relationship growth. What I have not talked about, however, and what I intend to address here---in this article—is how we started this new journey by allowing our faith to take center stage. Those three words “life is difficult” gave me the catalyst needed to look at life differently and thusly to take a new path…a path away from self-loathing and destruction and toward new growth and possibilities. Of course those words were just the beginning, but they were enough to snag my heart and shake me up so that I continued reading into the night and the following day.
The Road Less Traveled is about spiritual growth….a topic that I admit, wasn’t even on my radar until I opened the book. By the time I turned the last page on the final chapter however, I knew that The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck would change my life. For the remainder of that week and before I began formal therapy, it was my lifeline. It gave me hope by offering a new and different approach to life. Instead of complaining about the unfairness of my problems, and then ignoring or running away from them to seek immediate gratification elsewhere, I accepted the universal truth that life is difficult and that life is full of problems. Those problems do not go away by themselves nor do they disappear if not addressed. Instead they linger…they grow bigger…and they follow you forever.
In the following weeks, this book became a compass or a roadmap of sorts as I attended a myriad of therapy sessions and countless unscheduled….spur of the moment rap sessions with like-minded friends and acquaintances who were all struggling with the same issues of separation, divorce, hopelessness and pain. As we discussed each problem and then explored healthy coping skills, The Road Less Traveled was an invaluable source of additional information…and always confirmation… which then deepened my belief system and allowed me to continue on this path of personal and spiritual growth.
Mike and I married in 1971, separated in November of 1988, divorced in November of 1989 and then remarried each other in August of 1990. This does not happen often…this occurrence of remarriage to the same spouse. And I have been asked many times throughout the years how we did it….specifically, how did we let go of the pain and choose to love again? That answer is two-fold and the first part is therapy. Mike and I would not be married today if we had not made a conscious decision to begin therapy. New Hope Family Life Center* provided a safe haven for us to grow as individuals, to learn from other folks on the journey with us and to be supported each step of the way. But that is only part of the answer. Why choose therapy at all? Why not just accept that the marriage is over and find someone new? After all, therapy is a lot of work, but a new relationship is exciting and feels good. And so…this is where the second part of the answer becomes important. As I stated earlier, The Road Less Traveled changed my life. It was a lifeline as I struggled to move away from the devastation of a ruined marriage and destructive path. It was a roadmap of knowledge that distinguished dependency from love and above all…it was a foundation that Mike and I used to guide us through the hard and often painful process of change toward a higher level of self-understanding and spiritual growth. And it was this foundation of love, forgiveness and God’s grace that tempered every therapy session, every chat with friends and every step that Mike and I took on our journey of faith.
For specific information on the therapy sessions that helped Mike and I to overcome multiple obstacles and remarry each other, read my other articles found right here in this website. And please leave a comment if this article or other articles are helpful. I base future writings on the wants/needs of my readers. You can also find more details about our journey through therapy at Amazon.com where you will find my book The Amazing Journey of a Relationship. This book takes the reader step by step through our entire journey and also includes questions at the end of each chapter for a reading or study group.
*Details about New Hope Family Life Center can be found in “The Three Stages of Every Relationship”, “ A Healthy Relationship Requires Two Whole Persons”, “Relationships—How Men and Women Problem-Solve”, “A Journey to Truth” and “Love is a Choice, Not a Feeling”—all articles found under the "Relationships" tab in this website . Thank you for your support of my writings and God bless you on your own personal journey to spiritual wholeness.