Secondary Losses

I was at a retreat for writers and had a delightful roommate. In our conversation she had mentioned that her therapist had been talking to her about secondary losses. Now I’ve just re-blogged the last four weeks on secondary gains. Losses, while I understood them, I had not necessary written about. So here goes.

For my friend, being a widow, there were so many things that come along with the loss of a spouse – but she had not recognized that there were things she gained as well.

Being in a difficult marriage sometimes all we see is our losses as well. What have we lost? Maybe we’ve lost the security we had hoped to have in marriage, financially, or relationally. How secure can one be when a spouse is drinking or drugging the paycheck away? Or sleeping with a coworker?

I think too often we soldier on and try to gloss over the loss but it eats at us from the inside out.

We have lost, and along with the hope of a healthy marriage where we feel loved, we have lost even more.

Perhaps your children don’t feel comfortable inviting friends over.

You would love to have company but your spouse offends people too often and you often get “I’m sorry, we can’t make it, thank you very much,” When you make your invitation.

Maybe you have lost the hope of buying a home due to a spouse’s financial mismanagement.

Or lost the opportunity to serve in a way you would love to – because you cannot depend on your spouse to support you and be there to care for the children. Or his behaviors reflect negatively on you because people don’t fully understand what’s happening.

Maybe you’ve lost the comfort of your spouse worshiping alongside you on a Sunday morning.

Or he is with you but the verbal abuse you got on the way to church interferes with your ability to focus on God as you desire to.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my confidence in my ability to make good decisions because they’ve been so often questioned and condemned.

Sometimes – we lose hope.

I think it’s good to recognize our losses and acknowledge them, because grief can hit us from out of the blue and knock us off our hard won stride as we try, step by step, to move forward and to stand firm.

So how about you? What losses have you had as you have chosen the path you are on?

Lilly Grace



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