Columnist Betsy Hart on Life After Divorce
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CBN.com FROM BETSY’S HEART
Betsy writes on love and romance, and says women too often pine for the caricature of romance found in chick flicks. The too often don’t ask what they want from a man – the commitment of marriage. When it comes to love and romance Betsy says our culture is thoroughly confused. She writes to set things straight, and she definitely knows what she is talking about. In 2004 she was devastated when her husband left their family. She became a single mother to four young children – ages 3-10. Yet she remained a believer in lasting love. In spite of her own unwanted divorce and what the culture preached to the contrary, Betsy grew increasingly convinced that men and women are wonderfully different and really do need each other. That lifelong marriage matters profoundly to the well-being of women, children, men; and that real romance is so much better than anything found in the movies. Happily Betsy is now engaged to Tom, who she says she’s been waiting for her whole life! God surely works in mysterious ways, she says. This collection of columns is distributed by the Scripps Howard News Service and dated when published.
SETTLING FOR TOO LITTLE
According to Betsy, these days when it comes to romance, too often women ask for too much, and settle for too little! Though it may not be as evident, it’s the same for men. Betsy sees women essentially holding out for the caricatures of men that they see in chick flicks. This consists of the sensitive male always talking about his feelings. An example of this is Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle – Betsy says, man created in the image of woman. In this instance, women expect too much and it is probably not what women want in a man in real life. Few women insist upon a real suitor – a good man who wants the woman he loves to know that she is wanted. Fewer and fewer women are expecting it however much they might want and hope for it. Betsy has also observed that men and our culture have firmly established the expectation that women will make themselves sexually available to men outside of marriage. Betsy cites the late Dietrich Bonhoffer’s view that marriage is about holiness, not happiness. Betsy continues that marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the Church. Love is in doing. If we keep that in mind we will have happier marriages.
COMMITMENT IN THE MIDST OF DIVORCE
Even in the midst of her divorce, Betsy was “more committed than ever to the sacredness and significance of marriage – what she had written about so many times. She was passionate about the importance of marriage, but sadly, her husband had ended their marriage. Betsy says she worked hard to save her family and to help her husband stay. She loved him and believed they were close. However when he finally left, Betsy’s shock and grief were full. She remembered Joseph in the Bible who was able to say to his brothers that sold him into captivity, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” She fully believed that God could use those terrible events in her life for His honor and the ultimate wellbeing of her and her children. With her ex-husband’s permission, she moved from Virginia to her hometown of Chicago with her four young children where they were surrounded by Betsy’s large family and many friends. Betsy says her children did well and she began to find peace. There were many times that her shock, pain, and anger were overwhelming to her but through that suffering she came to see that sin is powerful and blinding. This convinced her that her husband chose to leave his family not because he could see clearly, but because he couldn’t. She had genuine compassion for her husband which she says was completely compatible with her appropriate anger over what he had done. Everything she had said about the significance and sacredness of marriage and the tragedy of divorce was more tangible to her. Betsy knew her tragedy did not have to define her or her children. She knew that God’s mercies are new every morning and she could look forward to every new morning with increasing hope in the future. Betsy has not looked back and blamed herself for the divorce. Looking back from God’s perspective, she does not regret being married to her first husband.
FINDING LOVE AGAIN
When Betsy was a newly single mom a close friend of hers encouraged her to be thankful for her children as she entered the dating world for a second time. Her friend’s reasoning was they would be a good sifter for, not a barrier to, a good man. Betsy says her friend was right. In early 2011, Betsy wrote a column that it was time she tried online dating. By June she was frustrated but she was automatically renewed to the site. She met Tom (now her fiancé) that June. He had noticed one of the photos Betsy added of her in Madrid - he told her her smile caught his attention. He contacted her and, Betsy says, they haven’t stopped talking. In early 2012, Tom asked Betsy to marry him. She said yes quickly. She’s also been smiling ever since, Betsy adds. It was a long wait, but Tom was worth waiting for. Betsy says Tom pursued Betsy and her children and was “all in” from the beginning. She also says they have a lot of challenges. They have eight children between them and are aware that second marriages are more likely to fail than first. Tom was also devastated by a spouse leaving the family and neither of them chose for their marriages to end. Both Betsy and Tom desire to be better spouses for this second (and final) union. They see each other as imperfect people that they are, not as fantasies. They have gone through premarital counseling and are working on their blended family.
MORE ABOUT BETSY
Betsy’s column on cultural and family issues, “From the Hart,” is distributed each week to hundreds of newspapers across the country. It regularly appears in The Chicago Sun-Times, The Boston Herald, The Washington Times, and many other major papers. Betsy’s first book, It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting out Kids and What to do About It, was released in September, 2005, and was a top seller for its publisher, Putnam Books. It was endorsed by Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Kate O’Beirne, and other leading public figures, and received tremendous media attention and praise. Echoing the acclaim, Sean Hannity told his audience when Betsy appeared on FOX’s Hannity and Colmes show to discuss It Takes a Parent, “I love this book!” Betsy also hosts the popular daily feature, “The Parenting Minute,” in which she gives parenting and family tips, on WYLL/AM1160 Chicago (a Salem Communications owned station.) Betsy recently made entertainment news headlines when she announced a partnership with Towers Productions in Chicago, a leading television production company, to develop a television program centering around the themes of her columns. Betsy is already a regular guest on television and radio. She is a frequent panelist on the FOX News Channel. (“The Great American Panel”) and often appears on other television and radio networks offering her insights on the news events of the day. She was a regular guest on ABC’s long-running hit show, Politically Incorrect. (Bill Maher told his television audience of Betsy, “She is one of our favorites here on the show!”) Articles about Betsy have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Times, Maclean’s of Canada, The Ladies Home Journal and other publications. And in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Betsy was featured as one of America’s top five women columnists.
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