As the Lunar New Year approaches, Elena Fernandez, an English teacher and part-time DJ with Gold 90FM, shares tips on how to survive festive seasons as a separated or divorced person.
Elena and her youngest daughter
Can you share with us a bit about your marital journey?
We were from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and moved to Singapore 10 years ago when my husband was posted here for his job. When my marriage imploded five and a half years ago, my girls were only 11 and 13 years old. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever been through, especially as my family was in Malaysia.
But you know, the Lord works in his own way and had arranged support for me when I needed it. A few years earlier, when I became deeply unhappy in my marriage, I took part in a mission trip to Sabah to teach English to children from surrounding villages. I remember feeling so wretched that I walked into a big field and cried to the Lord: “I can’t do this. How can I be of service to these children when I have nothing to offer?”
Two angels on this trip sensed something wrong and reached out to me. They were a little unprepared when I unleashed all the pent up pain of my marriage. But because of their support, I was calm when my marriage eventually imploded.
How did you break the news to your family?
I didn’t tell anyone at first. How do you announce something like that long distance? But eventually I had to, as Christmas was approaching and we’d be returning to KL without my husband. I asked my mum to make sure everyone in the family knew we were separated and not to bring it up. I wanted to protect my girls from having to answer questions as to where their dad was.
If you could change things now, would you?
I do not know what the future holds for my marriage but I believe in John 2:5, “Do whatever he tells you” and leaving it in God’s hands. Despite the unimaginable pain I’ve been through, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m now closer to God, I’ve learnt to enjoy my independence, and I’ve discovered things about myself that I didn’t know before, such as, I’m a dog lover! I’m a different me now!