I've met Elisabeth (Beth) Corcoran two or three times over the past few years. I knew of her blog and of the jagged, difficult journey she had been traveling as a woman who was quite certain that she should not stay in a damaging marriage -- but also as a person who had been taught that divorce was not (ever) an option for her.
What a tricky and painful road to walk.
And yet - when I was with Beth, she surprised me. The pain she had been through didn't leave her jaded. In her open gaze and smile, I saw a woman who seemed filled with hopeful expectation. She shone. (People like that always impress me.)
Beth’s new book about her marriage and divorce, Unraveling: Holding on to Your Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage (Abingdon), was released yesterday.
Learn more about Beth and her book, below:
Tell us what Unraveling is about?
It’s basically a road map of emotions taking women through the really hard journey of a Christian marriage coming to an end. I encourage women to feel every single feeling they’ve got, pretty much for as long as they need to.
Talk about what inspired you to write it.
I was in a difficult marriage for almost nineteen years, which included a separation and fifteen-month church-led reconciliation attempt that unfortunately ended in a divorce.
My divorce didn’t just break my heart: it broke my life.
And writing this book was part of my healing.
Tell us what’s different about your book - different from other books about divorce.
There are a ton of books on divorce: I read most of them! But each one I read was written after the fact. And don’t get me wrong -- many are great. It was good and important for me to see that there was hope and joy and light down the road for me.
But I began writing this book at the beginning of my separation and all the way through my divorce. I put the finishing touches on it one year after my divorce was final.
So it was me – raw, uncensored - through the entire journey and not six months or longer after the fact.
I had been looking for a book that would sort of hold my hand through being handed the divorce papers, to walking out of court unmarried, to lying in bed all day. to finally, maybe, getting back on with life a little bit at a time.
And when I couldn’t find that book, I wrote it.
Tell us: what are you reading these days?
I’m in the middle of Tomorrow There Will be Apricots, and I’m loving it, which is interesting, because I don’t read a lot of fiction, and because my grandfather just passed away, and one of the main characters reminds me of him, and I’m picturing the apartment in the story as my grandfather’s place.
It’s funny how we do that…overlay our own experiences into books like that.
Got a favorite song right now?
This is embarrassing, but the one you’ll hear my blast the most these days is Taylor Swift’s "22." But I sing it this way:
“I don’t know about you…but I’m feeling 42…”
I think I’m hysterical and so clever every time I sing it that way.
My teenagers just wish I’d stop.
Is there a movie took you by surprise lately, either touching you or making you see red or making you laugh.... something you didn't expect to feel?
I made myself watch The Quartet about retired professional musicians living together in an elderly community. But by the end, I was so inspired by how their love of music filtered through all the aspects of their lives and lasted well past the point of what our culture would say is their usefulness.
It sort of gave me hope that I get to be a writer for basically as long as I want...there is no cut-off date.
Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage. Beth speaks several times a month to women's groups and is a member of Redbud Writers' Guild.
During her time at Christ Community Church’s Blackberry Creek Campus in Aurora, Illinois she began and led their women's ministry for ten years, prior to moving to the city’s Orchard Community Church.
She lives with her children in Illinois.
Visit her online at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/difficult-marriage-divorce/ or https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran. She is the moderator of two private Facebook groups: one for women in difficult Christian marriages, and one for Christian women who are separated or divorced.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in joining.
by Jennifer Grant
I'm a writer (two works of nonfiction are out; two more will be published in 2014.)