Lessons Learned from the end of a marriage: my review

Lessons from the End of A Marriage


Lisa Arends



Deceit, lies and deceptions come easy for some men as they lure their spouse into a false sense of security and then find a way to cut into their self-esteem and chip away at their dignity the same way a sculptor chips away at the marble, clay or granite they are using to create their work of art. But, this is different as each chip or piece of the person is worn away what is left is often a hollow shell with nothing inside but emptiness. When our story opens we meet Lisa who finds out that her husband of 16 years has taken the coward’s way out of their marriage. Rather than face her head on and explain his feelings like a man he does what many other men have done before, sends a short, cryptic text message stating his intentions. Imagine the hurt, the fear and the trauma when Lisa receives this message on her phone and has no real idea as to why or what caused Timothy to leave. Not wanting to deal with this on her own she calls on her father for assistance. Members of her family rally to her side but the hurt, the confusion and the pain has just begun and the uncertainty of where to go and what to do next leaves Lisa with many unsolved issues and unanswered questions. Lessons from the End of A Marriage is not fiction, it is based on the author’s real life experience. Added in is the fact that Timothy sticks one more chip in the sculpture or another piece of her dignity torn apart as he not only texts her but leaves her what most have come to know as a Dear John letter explaining his reasons for not wanting to be with her. On Pages 12-15 she shares not only the letter but also her inner most thoughts and in the next chapter her interpretation and her responses to each of his points should she confront him in person. Next the author relates how they met their life together and then brings us back to the present.


But, Lisa is smart and she knows that Timothy might say that he did not take everything from her but when logging into her accounts she learns some startling information. Her finances have been depleted, her world shattered in a cold Dear John letter that is unfeeling and sounds like a typical break up letter that a teen might write when afraid to face the other person.  Throughout the book Lisa reinterprets the letter by adding her own unique and humorous responses which allows the reader to see how much she grows, how she is fighting back and how she finds out more about his past, his lover and what happened causing her to have to file for bankruptcy.


A story told by Lisa and narrated in her own voice we hear it all from start to finish as each chapter relates a new lesson that everyone can learn who might endure the same fate as Lisa. Deceit, lies, cowardice, betrayal, cheating and much more as we see a broken Lisa find her way back to being whole.  Reading the emails that Timothy and Amanda wrote really brought to light the lengths that he went to in order to create a whole other life for himself without Lisa. Emails that she forwarded to her mother and then to her divorce attorney alerted her to the fact that he even remarried even though they were not divorced. Lesson Four really explains what happens when he learns the truth and the email she sends him responding to his letter. But, what happens next is right out of a made for TV movie or an episode of a soap opera. Thinking he would get away with it and brought in for questioning Timothy fabricated to not on the police, his lawyer and his new wife that he and Lisa had been divorced for quite a while and he even invented a new husband for her. Added in he claimed to be able to prove that he had a document stating that they were divorced but never ever count Lisa out and her computer and research skills far surpass his deceit and lies.


But, the bond that formed between Lisa and Amanda strengthened them both and what Amanda reveals about Timothy and his intentions is more than frightening how about bone chilling. The man was arrested and the picture facing Lisa was not of the man she married but of a cold-hearted criminal. Each chapter is prefaced at the top with the lesson imparted by the author. Lesson Five for example is quite telling: There is no shame in asking for help as we learn more about Timothy, her family and the support she is receiving.


Emails to Lisa’s mother, their interactions and those to Amanda reveal two sides of Tim and both that might make you question which is to be believed. Claiming to want to make things right yet repeating his answers the same way yet in different words you begin to wonder whether he can be believed or if he is trying to convince himself that he wants to make things right. Chapter 8 focuses on allowing herself or yourself not to have all of the answers followed by Your worth is not tied to your to do list. But, let’s not forget the reinterpretations of the Dear John letter that pepper the book with humor and Lisa’s insight along with her wit.


Lesson 11 is powerful as it is titled: Don’t Let Fear Be your Chauffeur. The timeline begins in March 2010 for this chapter as all of the chapters are discussed within different times and time frames. This chapter focuses on the actual divorce. But, stress takes its toll on Lisa and medications are required to help her cope and to sleep. Hearing the inner most thoughts of Timothy the reader needs to decide what to believe and what is still fabrication. Then the IRS gave her the compensation the courts did not and she finally figured out how to move on with her life. The last few chapters flash back and forth between the present and the past comparing incidents, times and places with Timothy and how if her glasses were not truly clouded at the time or filled with fog or smoke she would she the times and places in another way. Some lessons take time to be learned and others happen with time. Learning to trust is not easy and what Lisa learns along the way and what she shares in the final chapters will renew the hope of many that “Happiness if not a destination; it is a frame of mind.” Read this heartfelt, informative, straightforward account of one woman’s journey from the past to the present. Understand her sorrows, endure her pain, feel her strive and then watch her grow as the roots of a tree and the branches were about to die and wither away into a beautiful Maple Tree standing, tall firm and straight. There are many lessons that everyone can take away from reading this book. To Timothy: where ever you are: Stay there! To Lisa: Life is a journey and yours is just beginning.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer 


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