Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Clare, I’m writing this to you, not necessarily as a comment. If you’d like to discuss some of this… I welcome it. I’m divorced… and while some of this is true, some not. I spent almost a decade studying biblical marriage and have remarried a beautiful soul of a man who is walking the same path with me that God has placed us both on. I am hoping that the influence of this example to my 16-year-old son, and his 17 and 19-year-old sons will have some positive impact. We were both left in ruins, along with the kids, with non-believer Ex spouses. That said IT IS heart breaking to both of us the price that have been paid by our sons… and no matter how amicable, how necessary, how cooperative the parents are during and after a divorce, the price tag IS MUCH LARGER than anyone admits to beforehand; or a majority of the marriages would put in the effort to work it out instead of divorce. It’s JUST AS HARD, if not harder to give up, than fix ourselves (note the person that we need to fix, OUR SELF) and stay in!! And for sure it is harder on the children. You are so right about this.
Some of this has been true in my life, some not. My Ex and I divorced after 17 years – and his addiction issue had been treated with two inpatient visits, lots of various counseling, etc. And I felt I had no choice, that was 10 years ago. During that time he spent 3+ years homeless, completely wrapped in addiction and awol from our lives on an off. I’m pretty sure my son and I would have been homeless with him. So it’s a trade off… WHICH difficult road was the only choice.
But I will say the entanglement you talk about ‘that never ends’ is something most people do not understand. It’s true, it NEVER ends if you have children. NEVER. No matter if you work it out, or divorce, you HAVE TO learn to deal with this person you no longer want to be with. FOREVER. To heal, you have to learn to forgive. To be healthy you have to fix whatever landed you in that situation to begin with. There is NO EASY OUT. You were forever joined, and no matter what the world says about separating, you will never be completely disconnected. It just doesn’t work that way unless one parent completely turns their back on the children and exits their lives. That is not the case 99% of the time, and people just do not understand that the problems have to be dealt with regardless of if the marriage remains or you divorce. Why is this not obvious??
This is a wonderful publication and much of the things said here are what I raise during a “take the woman out to lunch” date I offer when someone I feel close enough to has ‘divorce rumblings’ and I nod my head and say “yes, that problem will be solved – but it will be replaced with this problem” sort of things. The grass is NOT greener on the other side of that fence, it’s greenest where you water it. That’s just a basic fact of life… where the effort goes, so do the rewards.
There are times when divorce is the better option. I really believe that, but it is much, much less often than people think or what really happens in life.
My son has been in counseling for a decade of his 16 years. I made sure he had Godly people and trusted advisors to turn to when working through things because I knew that I had cost myself credibility, reliability and security when I decided that OUT was the only way through the mess. For a multitude of reasons, divorce destroys the relationships entangled in that marriage – parent and child, parent and parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles, ALL of them are broken. All of the relationships that are supposed to support our children through life are broken, and there is NOTHING you can do to keep that functional. Many people talk of ‘keeping it in tact’ after a divorce, but reality shows that plays out differently. People take sides, and no amount of ‘doing it for the kids’ makes that healthy. One is determined to be wrong, one is chosen to be right and the child belongs to the one who is assigned ‘wrong’ just as much as the one who is ‘right’. That does not ‘process’ well in the child’s heart. No matter how flawed as people we are, our children love us and their identity is tied to us. When we fail, they feel like failures. I worked SO hard to avoid that, and most of what I did to mitigate some of the acknowledged consequences had very little benefit.
If you are thinking about a divorce, put it at the bottom of the list of options and try ANYTHING else first. Try ALL the alternatives, personal development, counseling – couples counseling. A program called Retrovaille is excellent for marriage ‘repair’. A course called Marriage on the Rock is one I highly recommend. It’s both for marriage prep, and for fixing marriages in trouble teaching biblical marriage skills. And he speaks the truth when he says that almost any marriage can be made to work… IT CAN.
I look forward to the next publication on this subject.
Yvonne, thank you for your honest, raw and biblical thoughts! As a man married to the same woman for 50 years, I cannot imagine what it is like going through a divorce you did everything possible to avoid, and still have to deal with it for the rest of your life.
I know not everything I said in my blog is true for everyone, but I believe it’s a fair composite of the stories I’ve gathered over the last half century.
Bless you for your faithfulness, courage, wisdom and recommendations!
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