Marriage is hard work. Since God created men and women differently, working to grow a life–lasting relationship is a challenge. Then throw in two imperfect people trying to have a Godly relationship together and that means real struggles.
There are no “5 easy steps” to surviving divorce because we are all different, and all have different stories. But I can share five emotions that I and many others struggle with after divorce:
- Divorce leaves self–doubt. You may think: Why was I not good enough to keep him? If I could not see this major life change coming, how can I see anything bad coming? There must be something wrong with my decision making. I was not wise enough to keep it together. I was not strong enough to act before it hurt my children.
- Divorce leaves shame. Negative words may stay with you for many years. If you heard the phrases, “You are dumb, you are ugly, you are fat, you can’t do anything right,” it may require counseling, a small group, or a good Christian friend to help you work through these negative messages.
- Divorce builds walls. You struggle with trust—trust of others and trust in yourself. You may be afraid to open up because you could be hurt again. The pain of a divorce is almost unbearable and you do not want to go through it again. If you are not careful, you may avoid or even sabotage any future relationships because you feel it is better to avoid them than to risk stepping out and building them.
- Divorce leaves you lonely. Even when you are in a room full of people. No one seems to want to listen without giving advice. No one fully understands. No one can say anything that takes away the pain. You have no shoulder to cry on and no one to hold you.
- Divorce leaves you fearful. You are always waiting for the next shoe to drop. You think bad things always seem to happen to you, so now you just expect they will happen. You wonder what will I do? How will I survive?
I grew up in a Christian home and was raised with the traditional Biblical understanding of marriage and divorce. Shame and guilt were strong feelings for me and the reason why I did not want to approach the issue of divorce. I went to a lawyer who was a Christian and he suggested I study the Biblical understanding of divorce before I make the final decision. I wanted to be on solid spiritual ground before I proceeded. I was hesitant because of passages like “God hates divorce.” This is when I realized the importance of studying scripture in context.
I do not have the space to elaborate on the Biblical exegesis of the Old and New Testaments regarding passages that cover divorce. Therefore, it is important that you take time to study them for yourself, especially if you are considering or counseling someone considering divorce.
What we do need to remember is that God created Adam and Eve in perfect forever union. Then sin came into the world and that perfection was corrupted. Jesus Christ came to bring hope for relationships and sent the Holy Spirit to guide you. He can bring healing when relationships become broken.
A passage that helped me heal was Isaiah 43:2
“I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire and the flame will not burn you.”
You are not alone. Many have walked this road. I am a better Salvation Army officer because I have gone through the fire and put my faith and hope in God. He carried me through. Now I can encourage others on this road to keep their eyes on Jesus.