Parents Prayer For A Married Son Facing Divorce
To the Sons and Daughters of Divorce
Few things are more traumatic than a car accident — 2,000 pounds of steel and glass bending and scraping, with no respect for the limits or boundaries of the human body inside. There’s a path of healing that every victim of a serious accident must take.
Children with divorced parents have experienced a different kind of violent, traumatic collision. And every child of divorce must wise walk a path of healing. It will, of course look different for different sons and daughters, but no one can deny that the emotional and relational bleeding needs attention, ly long after the papers are filed.
A chorus of adults with long-divorced parents will dismiss in unison: “I’m not broken, thanks very much. I’m not a project. I’m fine. It’s not even a big deal. I’m not a victim, and it certainly doesn’t deserve this much attention.” I totally get that. Depending on the day, I might say the same thing if I read my first two paragraphs.
My parents divorced when I was nine. I’m not a victim, but the break still broke me. It wounded me in ways I could not control. Years later, because I didn’t have the resources to work through things as a nine-year-old boy, certain forms of brokenness seem native and normal to me.
“The break that happens between mom and dad in divorce happens within the child.”
Divorce “attacks the self, because the self is formed within the belonging and meaning provided by the family. When it is destroyed, the threat of lost place and lost purpose becomes a reality. Without place or purpose, one becomes a lost self” (Andrew Root, Children of Divorce, 21).
More than losing myself, though, I lost the ability to relate to my heavenly Father. I certainly didn’t think that God had anything to say, or even cared, about the mangled, overturned vehicle in our living room. I’m sometimes still tempted to think that way today. But he does. He speaks.
And he cares.Right now, we’re just focusing on what you (and I) experienced, and how you can heal. This isn’t meant to judge divorced parents, or to deter parents from getting divorced for legitimate reasons (abuse or adultery).
The point is to see how, as children of divorce, Jesus Christ is a light in dark places, a hope for the broken, confused, and lonely.
We will piece together some themes from Scripture to explain how God understands and relates to children of divorce, in ten points.
1. Everyone in a family is organically, emotionally, spiritually connected
Paul explains, “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14). While not the main point of the text (primarily speaking about marriage between a believer and unbeliever), we can note three things:
The family is a unit — an organically connected singular entity (“because of his wife . . . because of her husband . . . as it is”).
The child’s spiritual wellbeing is interwoven with the integrity of their parents’ marital wellbeing (“made holy . . . made holy . . . they are holy”).
A broken marriage, therefore, has breaking effects on the child (“Otherwise your children would be unclean”).
2. For a child, experiencing a divorce is experiencing a violent storm
Malachi argues, “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:15). Ah, yes.
“What was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” In the Hebrew, “A child of God.
” What does the child experience? The Lord enters the scene to explain what happens to a child when parents fail to guard their marriage “in the spirit”: “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless” (Malachi 2:16). There is always violence in divorce — a scary, violent, destructive storm within and all around the family.
3. Divorce does not just separate parents
“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). “I know.” We use a metaphor for divorce: “It’s getting gum a rug. It can’t fully be done.” Okay. We forget that the spouses aren’t the only ones who get “separated.
” The gum metaphor certainly doesn’t capture what happens to a child of a divorce. A marriage can be separated, at least in some ways; a child cannot. A child is an irreducible unit — a singularity cannot be separated from itself. And yet, we are.
What the parents experience relationally, the child experiences internally.
4. Divorce separates you from you
So when your parents — your first example and measure of relational unity and security — were separated, you were torn in a way that a human is not built to be torn. There is no “gum” and “rug.” There’s just you.
You’re one “thing,” and now you feel you’ve been cracked in half into two things. Even if you don’t experience the emotion explicitly, you still feel and experience and respond to the tension, because the separation is real.
“We all fight through adversity, of whatever kind, so that we can fight for the weak down the road.”
Regardless of whether the divorce was justified or biblical — completely aside from any of those questions — divorce was a violence you experienced. What man “separates” in divorce happens to you, too. What happens between Mom and Dad happens in you. “There is no soundness in my flesh . . .
because of the tumult of my heart” (Psalm 38:7–8). The effects are far-reaching, often more than we are immediately aware.
Depression, anxiety, addiction, anger, compulsions, and distractions are all possible effects of being torn, and very often we are not even aware that these things might be related to the “accident.”
5. Brokenness is not unrighteousness
Scripture uses many different metaphors to speak ethically, but theologians have used at least two terms that are relevant here: the “forensic” and the “renovative.” The “forensic” is legal. It’s declarative. It’s right and wrong. Scripture uses the terms “righteous” and “unrighteous” for the forensic (Acts 24:15).
The “renovative” is felt — it’s inside of you. It is helpful and hurtful. Scripture uses the terms “holy” (1 Timothy 2:8) and “broken” (Psalm 44:19; Psalm 69:20; Proverbs 29:1; Ephesians 4:22). To put it in a crass and reductionistic way, the forensic is the external evaluation, and the renovative is the internal state of affairs.
In order to heal, we need to be able to distinguish between our brokennesses.
6. You didn’t do anything wrong, but you still have to heal
Popular therapy for children of divorce will say again and again, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” That’s a forensic category. And it’s true. Your parents’ divorce is not your fault.
But, unfortunately and tragically, it still breaks you.
You are still, in a real way — in an on-the-ground, in-your-fibers sense — overwhelmed by a weight too heavy to lift and twisted in knots too complex to untie in a single counseling session.
The choice given to the child of divorce is not whether or not they should experience the brokenness of their parents’ divorce, but whether they will consciously process or unconsciously suppress the breaking. Henri Nouwen explains, “What is forgotten is unavailable, and what is unavailable cannot be healed.” wise, to intentionally face the reality of being broken is not to face defeat, but healing.
7. Marriage and divorce communicate something about God’s love
Parents represent in a priestly and prophetic way, for good or ill, Christ’s attitude toward their children (Ephesians 6:1–4). This reality happens not only in the direct relationship of parent-to-child, but in an exemplary and indirect way in the public, parent-to-parent relationship lived before the eyes of the child (Ephesians 5:25–33).
And so, in divorce, parents communicate a view of God’s love that speaks more powerfully than words. It is important to recognize, then, that there will always be a painful proverb in the back of your head that has its root in that experience. It’s not the same for everyone.
“Love doesn’t last.”
“Failure in love is always my fault.”
“I need marriage to escape my loneliness.”
“I will never get married.”
“God’s ready to leave me any moment.”
“My love isn’t enough to keep people together.”
“I’m not enough.”
All lies. But lies are powerful when they have good material to work with. Divorce is a fertile ground for lies of justified self-hatred. Children of divorce, myself included, have always searched too hard for love.the song goes, “I fall in love too easily; I fall in love too fast; I fall in love too terribly hard for love to ever last.
” We are searching for a sense of home, a way to convince ourselves the lies in our abandonment and loneliness won’t have the last word.
8. God has a special affection for you
What do we see in the texts we’ve looked at so far? A condemnation of the divorced? No. It’s not even about that. What do we see? God’s caring hand for the child. For you. Even if you’re an adult.
These texts are God speaking, and naming violence that you’ve experienced. Malachi 2:15 is God saying, “You’ve been in a car accident, and you need to heal.” He says, “I’m looking after you. My eye is on you.
You are my child.”
We see God’s protective care for children of divorce. We see the structures that he has set up to care for the weak and his grief over the violence that breaking these structures does. God is the lifter of weight.
He is the untier of knots. His specialty is in redeeming — in healing, restoring, and strengthening.
His forte is in trauma, and in complex pain — not always in fixing or explaining right away, but in being-with (Isaiah 43:2).
He has a singular and unique affection for you: “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). That verse probably means nothing to you.In fact, it may make God feel further away. The ‘father’ pictures in Scripture have never been anything but painful for you.
That doesn’t change the fact that God does show perfect and intimate compassion to you the way a good father should. He does.
9. God is building you to help others
Through sorrow and tragedy, God gives you an awareness of the world. A sixteen-year-old with divorced parents is, in a sense, more aware of the world around him than the same sixteen-year-old without divorced parents. We all fight through adversity, of whatever kind, so that we can fight for the weak down the road.
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. (Proverbs 24:10–11)
These verses flip suffering on its head. If we had divorced parents as a child (and faint, because it’s too much for us), it is so that we can rescue others when we’ve been made strong.
In the end (and even in the midst) of your healing path awaits a unique strength that will not only deliver you, but will allow you to carry others through the same journey, fighting the same voices, healing the same wounds, building the same faith and perseverance.
10. Reach out to others who have walked this hard path
Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” To put it tritely, experiencing the divorce of parents is just really, really hard. There’s no escaping that. It comes with tears. It comes with being very afraid. It comes with anger. You carry the bitter weight of having divorced parents.
“You deserve to be deeply loved, and you are deeply loved by God. He will carry and keep you.”
I don’t presume to know your situation, what your parents are , or what your family has gone through. All I know is that it must be extremely painful, and that God knows your pain. By his grace, it will not destroy you, but make you stronger (Isaiah 42:3–5).
Paul realized that he went through an affliction “so that [he] may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:4). He is a man who once “despaired of life itself” who now “[does] not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:1).He learned to be strong because he was weak (2 Corinthians 12:9), and God is still using him to comfort Christians in chronic and excruciating pain all over the world.
I don’t think I have found more help in my own journey of healing than in seeking help from others who have walked the same paths — who have had to do the hard work of finding Christ through the weeds of having divorced parents. Look for other sons and daughters — of God, and of divorced parents — and walk with them.
You are not pathetic. You are not alone. You deserve to be deeply loved, and you are deeply loved by God. He will carry and keep you.
Bible Verses About Divorce: 22 Helpful Scriptures
I always found it interesting that one of the first things God was concerned about after creation was that we were not in life alone. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.
” So in addition to creating the heavens and the earth and all the animals and finally man; God created marriage for the man and the woman. This early picture in the garden shows how much God loves and cares for us. Unfortunately, the fall of man was right around the corner in Genesis 3. Things would never be the same.
One area where we can clearly see the effects of sin is in the marriage relationship. Divorce is very common today even to people that go to church and are believing Christians.
The topic of divorce has many passages that we can look to for answers about when divorce is allowed, what happens when a spouse dies, and even what did Jesus have to say about divorce while he was here on this earth. If you are reading this article you have probably been affected by divorce either by your own personal divorce or by the divorce of someone close to you. Consider these verses…
Bible Quotes Containing Word Divorce
Deuteronomy 22:19 and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name upon a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife. He may not divorce her all his days.
Deuteronomy 22:29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.
Jeremiah 3:1 “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her?
Malachi 2:16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
Matthew 1:19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Mark 10:2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
1Corinthians 7:11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
Matthew 5:31 It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
Scriptures Talking About A “Certificate (or Decree) of Divorce”
Deuteronomy 24:1-3 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her his house, and she departs his house, 2 and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife,
Isaiah. 50:1 Thus says the LORD: “Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce, with which I sent her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
Jeremiah 3:8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.
Matthew 5:31 It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
Matthew 19:7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?”
Mark 10:4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
Jesus Explains Why Divorce is Allowed
Matthew 19:8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
Matthew 19:9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Verses Where The Woman is Not To Divorce Because Their Spouse is an Unbeliever
1Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.
1Corinthians 7:13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
Bible Verses Where A Wife is Freed From Marriage Because of Death
Romans 7:2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
1Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
Jesus Talks About When Divorce is Adultery (The same thought repeated by 3 of the Gospel Writers)
Matthew 5:32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Mark 10:11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Luke 16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
The topic of divorce will always be a hotly debated subject. It is sad that such a large percentage of marriages will end in divorce.
Jesus clearly allows for divorce under certain conditions but it is always important to recognize that divorce was never the intention or the will of God for His people. Maybe you are reading today and considering a divorce; if this is the case I would encourage to seek wise counsel.
A great place to find great Biblical advice is from the pastor from a local church that teaches the Bible accurately. Most pastors would love to listen to you and try to help you. Maybe there will be a hope of reconciliation for you and your marriage.
Divorce affects both spouses, any kids that may be involved, and even both families that are involved. My prayer for you this day is for healing for your marriage as you seek the will of God for your life.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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Know Your Legal Rights: Divorce Law in India
A divorce is among the most traumatic occurences for any couple. To add to this, it can also be a long-winded and costly affair in India if the divorce is contested. Even couples that mutually agree to the divorce, however, must prove that they have been separated for a year before the courts consider their plea.
In India, as with most personal matters, rules for divorce are connected to religion.
Divorce among Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains is governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslims by the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, Parsis by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 and Christians by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869. All civil and inter-community marriages are governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1956.
Types of Divorce Petitions
A couple can get a divorce with mutual consent, or either spouse may file for divorce without the consent of the other.
Divorce With Mutual Consent: When husband and wife both agree to a divorce, the courts will consider a divorce with mutual consent.
For the petition to be accepted, however, the couple should be separated for over a year or two years (as per the relevant act) and be able to prove that they have not been able to live together.
Often, even when either husband or wife is reluctant, they still agree to such a divorce because it is relatively inexpensive and not as traumatic as a contested divorce. Matters such as children’s custody, maintenance and property rights could be agreed to mutually.There are three aspects regarding which a husband and wife have to reach a consensus. One is alimony or maintenance issues. As per law, there is no minimum or maximum limit of support. It could be any figure or no figure. The second consideration is custody of the child.
This must necessarily be worked out between the parties, as it is inevitably what requires the greatest amount of time in divorce without mutual consent.
Child custody in a mutual consent divorce can also be shared or joint or exclusive depending upon the understanding of the spouses. The third is property. The husband and wife must decide who gets what part of the property. This includes both movable and immovable property.
Right down to the bank accounts, everything must be divided. It is not necessary for it to be fair, so long as it is agreed to by both parties.
The duration of a divorce by mutual consent varies from six to 18 months, depending on the decision of the court. Usually, the courts prefer to end mutual consent divorces sooner, rather than later.
As per Section 13 B of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Section 28 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the couple should be living separately for at least one year before divorce proceedings can begin.
Section 10A of Divorce Act, 1869, however, requires the couple to be separated for at least two years.
Do note that living separately does not necessarily mean living in different locations; the couple only needs to provide that they have not been living as husband and wife during this time period.
Divorce Without Mutual Consent: In case of a contested divorce, there are specific grounds on which the petition can be made. It isn’t as if a husband or wife can simply ask for a divorce without stating a reason. The reasons for divorce are as follows, though some are not applicable to all religions.
Cruelty may be physical or mental cruelty. According to the Hindu Divorce Laws in India, if one spouse has a reasonable apprehension in the mind that the other spouse’s conduct is ly to be injurious or harmful, then there is sufficient ground for obtaining divorce due to cruelty by the spouse.
In India, a man that commits adultery (i.e. has consensual sexual intercourse outside of marriage) can be charged with a criminal offence.
The wife may, of course, file for divorce as a civil remedy.If, on the other hand, a wife commits adultery, she cannot be charged with a criminal offence, though the husband can seek prosecution of the adulterer male for adultery.
One spouse deserting the other without reasonable cause (cruelty, for example) is reason for divorce.
However, the spouse who abandons the other should intend to desert and there should be proof of it. As per Hindu laws, the desertion should have lasted at least two continuous years.
Christians, however, will not be able to file a divorce petition solely for this reason.
Divorce can be sought by a spouse if the other spouse converts to another religion. This reason does not require any time to have passed before divorce can be filed.
5. Mental Disorder
If the spouse is incapable of performing the normal duties required in a marriage on account of mental illness, divorce can be sought. If the mental illness is to such an extent that the normal duties of married life cannot be performed.
6. Communicable Disease
If the spouse suffers from a communicable disease, such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea or a virulent and incurable form of leprosy, the Hindu Divorce Laws in India say that the other party can obtain a divorce.
7. Renunciation of the World
If the spouse renounces his/her married life and opts for sanyasa, the aggrieved spouse may obtain a divorce.
8. Presumption of Death
If the spouse has not been heard of as being alive for a period of at least seven years, by such individuals who would have heard about such spouse, if he or she were alive, then the spouse who is alive can obtain a judicial decree of divorce.
What is Alimony?
When two people are married, they have an obligation to support each other. This does not necessarily end with divorce. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the right of maintenance extends to any person economically dependent on the marriage. This will include, therefore, either spouse, dependent children and even indigent parents.
The claim of either spouse (though, in the vast majority of cases, it is the wife), however, depends on the husband having sufficient means. When deciding how much alimony is to be paid, the courts will take into account the earning potential of the husband, his ability to regenerate his fortune (in case, say, the property is given to the wife) and his liabilities.
In case either spouse is unable to pay for the divorce, these expenses would also be paid by the spouse that does have an income.
Factors that influences the duration and amount of alimony
In a contested divorce, the alimony, its amount and tenure, depend upon the length of marriage. A divorce after a decade of marriage entitles the spouse to a life-long alimony. The other essential factors that need to be considered are:
1. Age of the spouse (or the person who is entitled to receive the alimony)2. Economic condition or the earnings of the person who is to provide the alimony3.
The health of both spouse (the failing health or a medical condition of one of the spouses who is going to receive the alimony may act in favour of him or her. They can claim a larger alimony on the basis of their failing health).
The spouse that retains custody of the child would be entitled to either pay lesser alimony or be entitled to a greater amount while the child is a minor.
How are property matters settled?
It seldom matters whether you or your spouse own the property. If you are married – irrespective of the fact that a divorce petition has been filed – you have the right to occupy the property.
If you are also looking after children, the case is much stronger.
While the property may be granted to one or the other spouse in the divorce settlement, until this is done, both spouses have the right to remain on the property.
What about child custody?
Many assume that the mother always gets custody of her children. This is not the case. While the courts usually agree to the decision of the parents in a mutual consent divorce, the courts are expected to see to the best interest of the child.
In a contested divorce, the courts will examine the ability of the mother or father to be a parent to the child, for example. Money is not usually a matter that is considered.
Non-working mothers are regularly given custody of their children, but fathers are expected to provide financial support.
How much does it cost to get a divorce?
Court fees for filing a divorce are low; the cost of a divorce is mainly in the fees you pay your lawyer. Lawyers tend to charge fees for appearing in court and doing any other work. Depending on how intensely it is fought, therefore, a divorce may cost anywhere from the low ten thousands to lakhs of rupees.
What documents are required to file for divorce?
1. Address proof of husband2. Address proof of wife3. Marriage certificate4. Four passport size photographs of marriage of husband and wife5. Evidence proving spouses are living separately since more than a year6.
Evidence relating to the failed attempts of reconciliation7. Income tax statements for the last 2-3 years8. Details of profession and present remuneration9. Information relating to family background
Details of properties and other assets owned by the petitioner
Annulment of marriage
Marriages in India can also be dissolved by means of annulment. The procedure for annulment is same as that of divorce, except that the grounds for annulment are different from that of divorce. Reasons for annulment are fraud, the pregnancy of wife by a person other than the husband, impotence before the marriage and subsisting even at the time of filing the case.
Once annulment is granted by an Indian court, the status of the parties remains as it was prior to the marriage.
A marriage is automatically void and is automatically annulled when law prohibits it. Section 11 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 deals with:
Any marriage solemnized after the commencement of this Act shall be null and void and may, on a petition presented by either party thereto, against the other party be so declared by a decree of nullity if it contravenes any one of the conditions specified in clauses (i), (iv) and (v), Section 5 of the Act.
Bigamy: If either spouse was still legally married to another person at the time of the marriage then the marriage is void, and no formal annulment is necessary.
Interfamily marriage: A marriage between an ancestor and a descendant, or between a brother and a sister, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood or by adoption.
Marriage between close relatives: A marriage between an uncle and a niece, between an aunt and a nephew, or between first cousins, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood, except as to marriages permitted by the established customs.
A voidable marriage is one where an annulment is not automatic and must be sought by one of the parties. Generally, an annulment may be sought by one of the parties to a marriage if the intent to enter into the civil contract of marriage was not present at the time of the marriage, either due to mental illness, intoxication, duress or fraud.
The duration for obtaining divorce varies from case to case and place to place. Generally speaking, contested divorce proceedings take 18 to 24 months. Mutual consent divorce varies from 6 months to 18 months.
When Your Parents Divorce
My heart broke the day my mom told me she didn't love my dad anymore. It was June, without a cloud in the sky on that hot Arizona day. After completing my sophomore year of college in California, I decided to go home for a weekend visit with my parents.
As always, it was nice visiting my family, but at the same time something didn't feel right. Shortly before I left to go back, my mom asked me to take a walk around our block. The walk was mostly silent, and then, without looking at me, she dropped the bomb.
- I don't love your dad anymore…
- I'm not sure what to do about it…
- I'm considering moving out…
My body felt numb. Was I dreaming? Her words repeated over and over in my head, but they wouldn't sink into my heart. Stunned and silent, my only thought was “why?” – why in the world was this happening to my family? Filled with anger, I got in my car and drove back to California. I cried almost the entire way.
You have to know some things about my family to understand why this came as an overwhelming shock. Up until this point, I believed I had a perfect family.
I know that sounds unrealistic, but my friends constantly told me how lucky I was to have parents who raised my brother and me in a Christian home.
They were surprised my parents were still married and that we actually did “family things” together. They said we resembled something a 1950s television show.No matter the situation, Mom was an optimistic person. I learned the importance of selflessness through the countless times I saw her extend a hand to friends, elderly, and the homeless.
Dad had a wonderful sense of humor and no matter how busy he was, he always went his way to help people. Their marriage was no different. They hardly ever fought, and often they would kiss and cuddle in front of my brother and me just so we would get embarrassed.
Although I hardly acknowledged it, deep within I appreciated their example of love.
As I started to prepare for college, this normality of my parent's life began to change. Mom often appeared distant and confused. Dad said she was having a “midlife crisis.
” I had no idea what this meant, but to try and solve the problem, Mom moved our house for some time away. One month later she moved back in, yet the next two years became a familiar roller coaster. As a teenager I couldn't comprehend what was inside her.
All I saw was her walking farther away from God and Dad trying harder to stop her.
After that walk around the block, Mom left again, only this time she never returned. Less than five months later, after 23 years of marriage, my parents were divorced. The people I had admired most throughout my life had broken my trust. As my life shattered to pieces, sorrow, anger, and a feeling of betrayal filled my heart.
Unfortunately, stories mine are becoming too common today – even among the well known. In a recent article, top Christian female singer Jaci Velasquez told of her parent's recent breakup. When the interviewer noted how devastating it must have been, Jaci replied, “It was horrible.
I secluded myself from everybody and everything, and was angry with God. I prayed, 'How could you let this happen?' I was sure it was my fault.” For years people have shown concern for young children when they suffer a parents divorce.But what if you're a young adult, such as Jaci Velasquez, or myself, and your parents divorce? As a young woman you have enough to handle and adjust to in your life when abruptly you can be forced to deal with something you never expected, nor ever asked for.
In my situation, I desired my reaction to be godly, but the divorce brought struggles I didn't know how to handle emotionally, socially, or spiritually. Following, are the five biggest struggles I encountered and the way God taught me to handle each one:
The Pain. all my struggles, this was the deepest and most difficult one. There were nights I cried for hours. I couldn't understand how this happened to my “perfect” family, and why it had to hurt me so badly.
Desperate for answers, I pored over the Bible and found that the emotions I felt – betrayal, fear, anger, and hurt – Jesus felt too.
He felt betrayed when his close friend Peter denied knowing Him; He agonized in a garden over the pain of His coming death; His anger ushered forth as He drove merchants temple courts; and He hurt deeply for the people He would die for on the cross.
My heartache could have easily led me away from God, but instead I turned to Him and pressed on despite the pain. In return, His understanding of pain and the fact that He loved me comforted me and began to heal me.
Isolation. When difficult things happen in my life I tend to keep to myself. The problem with this is that I found myself feeling depressed and growing bitter because of the anger I held inside.
Eventually I started talking to a couple of close friends. Sometimes I talked so much I was afraid my best friend was getting tired of hearing about my problems, but she reassured me that she wanted to be there for me no matter what.
It's important to remember not to isolate yourself from others. Talk with a trusted friend or adult and continue in your normal activities. Express your feelings because keeping them inside may cause bitterness and may damage your future relationships.
Also consider recording your thoughts in a journal to God, honestly telling Him how you feel.
Who's at Fault? Sometimes I wondered if the divorce was either my fault or God's fault. Through the counsel of friends I realized the divorce was not my fault, nor God's fault, but rather the product of a person's sin.
Humans are selfish and sometimes make selfish decisions, forcing others to deal with consequences of pain. Once I understood this, my anger turned to grief and I found myself on my knees asking God to help my parents with what they were going through.
Don't ever believe the lie that the divorce is your fault or that you should be able to somehow stop it.
Taking Sides. Although I knew my parent's divorce was wrong, I couldn't stop loving either one of them.
My parents said they would never get me caught in the middle of their divorce, yet whenever conflict arose I felt obligated to either take a side or to somehow “keep the peace” in my family. I also found myself feeling responsible for their emotional well being.
I learned that I couldn't play referee, or gossip to one parent about the other. This also involved being honest with my parents about my thoughts and feelings.
The Forgiveness Factor. Forgiveness is one struggle I still deal with today. After three years of heartache and confusion the pain hasn't completely gone away.
Once in awhile a memory will pop into my head and I'll feel anger toward my parents, knowing the scars will always remain. But just as Jesus forgave those who hurt Him, I am also called to forgive those who hurt me.
Repeatedly in the New Testament God stresses the significance of forgiveness. To Him forgiveness is not an option, but rather a command of obedience. Because in any case forgiveness can be a challenge, I pray and ask God for strength.
I ask Him to change my heart to be graceful toward others, just as He is graceful toward me. Daily as I choose to forgive and not become bitter, negative feelings flow away and peace floods my heart.
I was married this past year, and while my relationship with my husband is amazing, sometimes I fear our marriage will end up my parent's marriage.
But just as I had a choice in how I reacted to my parent's divorce, I have a choice in how I will handle my marriage and my walk with God. When I go to prayer I ask God to heal families who are struggling to hold on, and to keep families strong who are already grounded in Him.
I ask Him to help me love, forgive, and obey Him in all circumstances especially concerning my own family. I won't allow my parent's divorce to destroy my new marriage or to destroy me.
Rather, I will allow it to change me into a person who bears good fruit so in the end I will have joy and God will be glorified. Despite the pain and the past, with God, I can face the future. And so can you.