Prayer for my Divorced Parents

To My Divorced Parents, I Forgive You

Prayer for my Divorced Parents

When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was «What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful.» My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages.

It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations.

From publishing ads «In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew» in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

«Oh! She is as fair as milk» the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

«He is too short» to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

«Hush,» the girl's mother whispered «Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride»

«What man will marry her once he finds?»

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

«The mole doesn't complement his face» to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

«Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities» the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

«What? She can't cook?» the boy's mother was left concerned

«Oh, what a shame» to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

«Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest.»

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

«But his earnings are so less,» her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

«Oh my god, the bride can't cook,» the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was «What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful.» My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages.

It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations.

From publishing ads «In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew» in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

35 Emotions You Might Feel After Your Parents Divorce

Prayer for my Divorced Parents

It’s so hard to be honest with ourselves and others about the effects we feel when our parents break-up. That is because our parents’ divorce is devastating.

We naturally put up walls of denial and silence and keep a certain distance between us and others. Yet, these techniques, in the end, fail us every time.

That is why I want to talk about the emotional effects of your parent’s break-up and how to deal with them.

The fact of the matter is that you are an innocent bystander, experiencing a tragedy to those closest to you. You cannot experience this without it having a profound impact on your life.

Judith Wallerstein, an expert on the effects of divorce on children said, “Divorce is not just an episode in a child’s life.

It’s a natural disaster that really changes the whole trajectory of a child’s life.”

Ari put it in his own brutally, honest words: “My parents have been divorced since I was five years old; it still affects me today. Through their madness and horrible parenting I somehow managed to survive. It’s hard, but it is something that we all, as victims of parental divorce, have to do!”

Ari, you no doubt have experienced a lot of different emotions as you attempt to cope with the radical changes divorce has brought to your life. For example, Denisse spoke about her rage: “I didn’t want anyone to talk to me about what was going on and I just wanted to be left alone in my pain. I got really angry at my mom for leaving me.”

Related Posts:
How To Deal With Your Parents’ Divorce
3 Keys To Recognizing And Understanding Depression
Problems With Your Step-Mom

Whatever you are feeling is normal!

Whatever you are feeling, no matter how horrific, is really normal. It may not be healthy, but it is normal. Yet it can be so hard to talk about those feelings.

Even to begin to explain how you feel can be paralyzing. Nonetheless, until you face your pain and put it into words, the pain will continue to haunt you and control you.

It is absolutely critical to attempt to describe to yourself and others just how devastated you feel.

Journaling is a great way to begin putting a name on the pain you are experiencing. The following list might help you put words on what you are feeling.

As a result of your parent’s divorce you might feel…

  • Shocked
  • Numb – sometimes there is an absence of any emotion
  • Terrified
  • Confused
  • Bewildered
  • Ashamed of yourself because you think you did something wrong.
  • Guilty – somehow it’s your fault your parents split up.
  • Angry with yourself because you didn’t do things differently.
  • Angry either toward your parents, or just angry in general.
  • Sad – “I can’t believe it’s come to this.”
  • Grieving the loss of being a “normal” family
  • Abandoned by the parent who moved the home.
  • Afraid of losing your other parent if one parent already left.
  • Embarrassed – not wanting anyone to know things are going to be different in your family.
  • Disappointed
  • Depressed – things will never get better
  • Suicidal
  • Worried about what is going to happen to you and who will take care of you.
  • Helpless or Powerless
  • Unloved
  • Pushed-aside
  • Rejected
  • Protective of one or both parents.
  • Responsible for your brothers or sisters.
  • Distrustful
  • Lonely – you feel you don’t have anyone to talk to, BUT remember you can talk to a HopeCoach
  • Hopeless
  • Withdrawn
  • Worthless
  • Distracted
  • Exhausted
  • Unable to sleep
  • It’s difficult to trust God
  • Longing – longing for closure or longing for the way things used to be
  • Relief – if your parents fought a lot or one parent was dangerous

This list might be pretty overwhelming to you. You may even have become aware of feelings you never knew you had. But don’t give up. You can face these emotions and go on, and not just as a survivor, but as an overcomer.

God is With You in this Journey

If you are questioning why God would let this happen, that’s o.k. God can handle your questions. Pray to Him. Tell him how you feel. Ask him to help you day by day. You can also ask others to pray for you and your family at ThePrayerZone.

And remember that God will never abandoned you as you go through this hard time. He’s waiting for you to pray to him for help  In the Bible it says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

After journaling it is important to talk to someone safe about how you are are feeling. HopeCoaches are available to talk about the many emotions you may be feeling. You can also comment below about how your parents’ divorce is affecting you today.

TheHopeLine also partners with I Am A Child of Divorce for ongoing online support groups and even more resources.

This free eBook from TheHopeLine may also give you great insights on how to process this journey. Download it now:

Photo by Annie Spratt

Источник: https://www.thehopeline.com/127-dealing-with-divorce-pt-2/

15 Healing Prayers for Divorced Parents

Prayer for my Divorced Parents

Dealing with divorced parents can be a difficult time for many emotional high and low feelings. These healing prayers for divorced parents will ensure the mending of hearts and strength are brought to each persons restoration.

Prayer #1

Father,
Praise You for Your faithfulness. We are often unable to remain committed to the ideals of our hearts on this earth, but You are able to uphold justice and righteousness throughout time.

Our minds change and shift, but you remain constant. What we fail to understand, You already know. The path we fear, You have already paved.

In the scramble to rearrange our lives after divorce, You see purpose for all of our pain clearly.

Rather than wait for us to emerge on the other side of this pain, we know that those who have surrendered hearts to Jesus are never alone. Whether we are in physical pain, enduring the torture of heartbreak, or living in the sorrowful mess we’ve created, You remain.

Thank You, Father, for the joys of our wedding day, and the hope that we held onto so dearly as time began to drift by. We gratefully look upon another day, but with the silent haunting wonder why marriage failed.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Prayer #2

God, help me I pray. I have tried to be a good wife for many years and to stay with my husband and to be the wife he wanted – but things are just going from bad to worse. His drinking and other unmentionable habits are becoming so uncouth and difficult to cope with, that I feel the only course of action is to go through a divorce.

It saddens me, as I love my husband Lord, but I fear for what he is ly to do to the children and to me when he becomes so aggressive. Protect us Lord – protect the children I pray, and help us to escape from this bitter marriage.

Help me Lord. Show me what to do. Lead me through this painful process and bring me out the other side I pray – I will trust in You and not be afraid. Thank You that You are always there for me. Amen.

Prayer #3

There is comfort, even in our suffering. Psalm 119:50 says, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” In a divorce situation, loneliness can creep into your heart and mind.

Yet, it is impossible to be alone and not lonely for those who seek their comfort from the Lord has made many promises to those who love Him and He keeps every last one of them.

Search for His promises in the Bible and cling to them all day and night to bring you the comfort you need.

Prayer #4

Gracious God and heavenly Father – we rejoiced so much when our dear son was married to his lovely bride, but how sad that things have deteriorated to the point that they are going through a divorce.

Lord this is not what we would have chosen and I am sure that this is not Your perfect will for their lives.

Keep us Lord from criticizing what they are planning to do and may we be both a present and a prayerful support for our son and daughter-in-law, at this difficult time.

Father, You know whatever the problem is between them, and I pray that both of them will seek Your face before going through this irreversible decision. Lord we pray that in Your grace and mercy You would move both their hearts to rethink this decision – and may Your Holy Spirit convict their hearts and bring to mind the marriage vows they made to each other – in Your presence.

Be with us all in the days that lie ahead and help us to keep our trust in You – knowing that all things work together for good to those that are Your children – in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Prayer #5

Isaiah 43:4 says, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” God assures us that He will redeem us when we pass through difficulties, no matter the size or magnitude of those difficulties.

Divorce is the perfect time to ask Jesus to speak into your heart how He sees you, who you truly are. In chapter 26 of Isaiah, we are reminded that there is peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” In the chaos and calamity of divorce, peace will often feel far away.

Yet by trusting in the Lord rather than how you feel brings peace in the midst of stormy days.

Prayer #6

Loving Father, my heart is heavy as I am having to face a divorce I never wanted and feel not only alone, but such a failure in my marriage.

Lord when we made our marriage vows to each other, I never contemplated the thought of separation, and certainly not divorce – Lord I was sure that You had brought us together and now my whole life seems to be shattered – and we are more strangers than husband and wife.

Help me Lord. Give me the strength and the courage to face this sadness in my life, Keep me Lord from bitterness and may I face the proceedings with calm dignity and not acrimony or hostility. There is much pain in my heart, Lord . I pray that You will keep me from nursing any wounds and emerge from this ordeal closer to You.

Thank You that You have promised to be with me through all the storms of life – and lead me in the path that You have planned for me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer #7

During the divorce process, ask Jesus to protect you from unsafe people who will treat you harshly. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle response diverts anger, but a harsh statement incites fury.” While divorce can stir up a lot of anger inside of us, remember that God loves peacemakers, and He blesses them greatly.

In the midst of the divorce, you can be a peacemaker. You can end fights, grudges and anger. This short proverb is one of Solomon’s best and it’s simple too. If someone is angry, use gentle speech to calm them. Do not use defensive or harsh words, for that will increase anger. You can end conflict and fighting by calming words.

You can use its wisdom every day for God’s blessing.

Prayer #8

Loving Father, my heart is heavy as I am having to face a divorce I never wanted and feel not only alone, but such a failure in my marriage.

Lord when we made our marriage vows to each other, I never contemplated the thought of separation, and certainly not divorce – Lord I was sure that You had brought us together and now my whole life seems to be shattered – and we are more strangers than husband and wife.

Help me Lord. Give me the strength and the courage to face this sadness in my life, Keep me Lord from bitterness and may I face the proceedings with calm dignity and not acrimony or hostility. There is much pain in my heart, Lord . I pray that You will keep me from nursing any wounds and emerge from this ordeal closer to You.

Thank You that You have promised to be with me through all the storms of life – and lead me in the path that You have planned for me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer #9

Jesus heals the wounds that have been left behind. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” We are reminded that there is hope, even in our suffering. One of the biggest emotions to struggle with in a divorce is hopelessness.

You’ve made a covenant with God and your spouse in the midst of family and friends to never part – and yet here you are. Discouragement is the enemy’s weapon against believers in this difficult time. However, there is hope and grace in Christ to make it through the pain of divorce.

Put your hope in God to take care of you physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Prayer #10

Loving Father my husband has divorced me and I am so full of pain and sadness.

I went into my marriage for better or worse; for richer or poorer ; in sickness or in health – and expected it to continue until death parted us, but the emotional and economic strains on our marriage became so heavy that it caused us to separate and finally to divorce. Although my husband took the decision to divorce, against my desire – I admit that some of the fault must lie at my door too…

Lord I know that divorce is hateful to You and certanily not Your will for any of Your children – for You made man and woman to join them together in marriage as one – just as Christ Jesus is joined together with the Church as one – and I feel that having gone through this divorce is a violation of Your will for my life.

Lord … feelings of guilt keep coming into my heart and I have even thought that my part in the divorce would cause You to reject me as Your child. But Lord I KNOW that the bible tells me…. that ALL my sins, including any that are connected with my divorce, were ALL forgiven at the cross – even any future sins that I may commit – were all dealt with by the blood of Christ Jesus my Saviour…

Thank You Lord that I am Your child. Remove any lingering doubts I pray, and fill my heart with Your joy and peace.

Heal my pain and sadness and thank YOU Lord – that NOTHING in heaven or earth can separate me from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord – including my divorce for which I praise Your name..

Help me to live my life from this day forward in a way that is pleasing to You, Amen

Prayer #11

We are reminded that there is a future, even in our suffering. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.’” Divorce can feel it’s the end of the world.

In many ways, it is the end of a relationship and everything that was promised in it. Yet, the Lord is above your divorce and is able to make all grace abound towards you in moving forward with faith.

Your future isn’t limited or restricted because of a divorce; rather through Christ you have a calling and purpose to fulfill in spite of it.

Prayer #12

Remember, there is provision. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” For many people, divorce can bring financial disaster, especially if you weren’t the primary breadwinner of the family.

You could find yourself suddenly having to make major financial decisions in a short period of time. There are days of seeking wisdom from God to lead you to the right people to help give direction with your finances and finding sustainable income.

The Lord promises to meet all your needs and to not forsake you nor your family.

Prayer #13

Father God, what can I say? My wife has walked out on me saying that she can’t stand to be with me and that she no longer loves me – How can this be? I worked so hard to provid for everything that she wanted, but now that times are hard – she wants me her life forever –and has asked for a divorce.

Forgive me Lord for my part in this rift that has developed between my wife and me – perhaps I put too much weight on providing for the comforts of life, without being the loving comforter she may have needed. Perhaps I looked too much outside the walls of my home for my own comforts too, and became too easily flattered by others who seem attracted to me…

Forgive me for letting my marriage fail to the point where we may be separated … and even divorced.

But thank You Lord, for all You did for me at the cross of Calvary… I know that there is no sin that I have committed in thought, word or deed that was not dealt with by the cross – for we are told that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is unbelief in Jesus- and I trust in Jesus Christ as my Saviour….

Lord I pray that our marriage will not end in divorce but that by Your grace You would bring us back together again, to start afresh… with You at the helm of our home, rather than with me thinking I had to prove myself. Thank You Jesus for being there for me. Amen

Prayer #14

You can ask Jesus for the discernment you need to decide who to let in and who to walk away from. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again, but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

” To gift of discernment is to understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. We must know the authentic so well that when the false appears, we can recognize it.

By knowing and obeying the Word of God, we will be trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Prayer #15

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you with my anger, my disappointments and my hurt. I ask that you cover me with your love. Heal me in all the places that need to be healed so I can be a person that emits health and warmth, not bitterness and resentment.

Lord, please release me from any guilt as my parent’s happiness is not my responsibility. Help me to be a good example of what true forgiveness really is.

I ask that you give me wisdom on how to be there for each one, as I know that I am not the only person hurting in this painful situation. Help me to talk to each one in a sensitive yet stern way when they start to cross the line and put each other down in front of me.

Lord, mature me beyond my years to handle this crisis they way you would. Lead me in the way everlasting so I will not regret my youth so many who have been in the same situation as I am in right now.

For my siblings, help me to encourage, to be a good ear listen and to find the right support if I am not enough. Lead us to the right Bible verses to stand on during our family storm. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

About the Author of this Blog Post
Crystal Ayres has served as our editor-in-chief for the last five years. She is a proud veteran, wife and mother. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.

Источник: https://connectusfund.org/15-healing-prayers-for-divorced-parents

Tips for Divorcing Parents

Prayer for my Divorced Parents

What's the best way to help your family get through a divorce? Every situation — and every family — is different. But these suggestions can make the process less painful for kids, teens, and families.

Encourage kids to share their feelings — positive or negative — about what's happening

It's important for divorcing — and already divorced — parents to sit down with their kids and encourage them to say what they're thinking and feeling. But keep this separate from your own feelings. Assure your kids that their feelings are important, valid, and normal. Let them know that you can handle a conversation about even difficult or painful feelings.

During these conversations, avoid problem solving and trying to change the way a child feels. Instead focus on listening and thanking kids for their honesty. Most often, kids feel a loss of family and may blame you or the other parent — or both — for what's going on in their lives. So, you'll need to be ready to answer questions your kids might raise or to address their concerns.

Make talking about the divorce and how it's affecting your kids an ongoing process.

As they get older and become more mature, kids might have questions or concerns that they hadn't thought of earlier.

Even if it seems you've gone over the same topics before, keep the dialogue open. If possible, sit down with the other parent and plan how you're going to talk about what's going on.

If you feel you may get too upset, ask someone else (a relative, maybe) to talk to your kids. It's OK and healthy for kids to see their parents feel sad or upset, but getting very emotional can make them feel responsible for their parents' feelings.

If your children do see you struggle with a difficult emotion, model healthy coping as much as possible. Try to:

  • Label your emotion for them («I'm feeling sad right now.»>).
  • State that you know it's OK to feel this way sometimes (It's OK and normal for me to feel sad»).
  • Talk about how you'll cope with your tough feelings («Something that always helps me feel better when I'm sad is baking cookies with you or playing outside. Let's go do it!»).

It's natural for kids to have many emotions about a divorce. They might feel guilty and imagine that they «caused» the problem.

This is particularly true if kids overheard their parents arguing about them. Kids and teens may feel angry or frightened, or worried about their future.

If they voice these emotions, reassure them that this was not the case while reminding them that it's a normal feeling.

Although kids may struggle with a divorce for quite a while, the real impact is usually felt over about a 2- to 3-year period. During this time, some can voice their feelings. But, depending on their age and development, other kids just won't have the words. They may instead act out or be depressed.

For school-age kids, this might mean their grades drop or they lose interest in activities. For younger children, these feelings are often expressed during play too. Be aware of a «sleeper effect» with young children: they might take big changes in stride at first, but disruptive behaviors or challenging emotions can come up years later.

Communicating openly with kids and modeling healthy coping, even if they seem OK with the big changes, can reduce trouble down the road.

It may be tempting to tell a child not to feel a certain way, but kids (and adults, for that matter) have a right to their feelings. And if you try to force a «happy face,» your kids may be less ly to share their true feelings with you.

Group programs for kids of divorce run by schools or faith-based organizations are an excellent resource for kids and families who need some help to get through these early stages.

Keep adult conflict and arguments away from the kids

This is one of the hardest things to do. But it's important never to say bad things about your ex in front of your kids, or within earshot. Kids pick up on these things.

Research shows that the single biggest factor in long-term adjustment for kids of divorce is the level of parental conflict they see.

It puts kids in a tough spot if they have to take sides or listen to negative things said about one of their parents.

It's just as important to acknowledge real events. If, for example, one spouse moves out or abandons the family, acknowledge what has happened. It isn't your responsibility to explain your ex's behavior. But if your kids ask you questions, it's important to answer as neutrally and as truthfully as possible.

Try not to use kids as messengers or go-betweens, especially when you're feuding

Even though it is tempting, don't use your kids as messengers. There are plenty of other ways to communicate with your ex-partner.

Also, resist questioning your child about what's happening in the other household. Kids resent it when they feel that they're being asked to «spy» on the other parent.

Wherever possible, communicate directly with the other parent about things scheduling, visitation, health issues, or school problems.

Expect bumps as kids adjust to a new mate or the mate's kids

New relationships, blended families, and remarriages are among the hardest parts of the divorce process. A new, blended family can add more stress for a while, and lead to another period of adjustment. Keep lines of communication open, allow one-on-one time for parents and kids, and watch for signs of stress to help prevent problems.

Figure out how to reduce stress in your life to help your family

Support from friends, relatives, church and religious groups, and organizations such as Parents Without Partners can help parents and their kids adjust to separation and divorce.

Kids can meet others who've developed successful relationships with separated parents and can confide in each other.

Getting support can help parents find solutions to all kinds of practical and emotional challenges.

Whenever possible, kids should be encouraged to have as positive an outlook on both parents as they can. Even under the best of circumstances, separation and divorce can be painful and disappointing for kids.

Parents also need to remember to take care of themselves. Reduce stress by finding supportive friends and asking for help when you need it. Try to keep some old family traditions while building new memories to share. Showing your kids how to take good care of mind and body during hard times can help them become more resilient in their own lives.

Remember that honesty, sensitivity, self-control, and time itself will help the healing process.

Источник: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/divorce.html

The Divorced-Parent Family & the Synagogue Community

Prayer for my Divorced Parents

Reprinted with permission from
Conservative Judaism
magazine and the Rabbinical Assembly.

One of the most alarming aspects of adults experiencing divorce is their newly developed negative attitudes toward the rabbi and the synagogue. These feelings are generally characterized by two stages: hostility and self-exile.

Open hostility, with escalating vindictiveness, is often aimed at the rabbi and is frequently followed by withdrawal from Judaism and experimentation with non-Judaist and even non-Jewish lifestyles [A Judaist is a Jew who practices Judaism.

A Jew is a person who by birth or conversion identifies with the Jewish people but who is not necessarily a Judaist.].

At first glance, this behavior appears to be irrational. As more or less observant Jews, we were taught that the synagogue is our source of strength, a place to turn to in times of personal crisis.

However, it becomes understandable when we remember that many single parents were raised with traditional attitudes toward the Jewish family. They feel that the collapse of their own marriage violates their Jewish adulthood. The Jewish mother–“The Woman of Valor”–is particularly embittered. Judaism implies that she is responsible for keeping the family together.

Jewish Focus on Family May Alienate Recently Divorced

For members of a family experiencing a divorce, Judaism may seem inconsistent with, even antithetical to, the realities of their own lives. The ceremonies of the home and the synagogue are visibly focused on the traditional family.

The mother blesses the candles; the father chants the kiddush [blessing over the wine]. Couples are called to open the ark. Babies are named; anniversaries are celebrated.

This pageantry of the Jewish lifecycle is painfully family centered.

Attempts by the single parent to adopt a non-Judaist lifestyle are often used to provide a healing distance from the pain created by this omnipresent coupledness.

Synagogues Need to Maintain Contact

Regardless of the real facts of the marital collapse and the following lifestyle, most divorced parents carry a heavy burden of religious guilt. Dealing with this guilt is the continuous task upon which the relationship of the single-parent family and the synagogue is rebuilt.

The major task of the congregation during these early stages of divorce should be to maintain contact with the adults–although their anger may be discouraging. How often the rabbi has heard: “The rabbi was absolutely useless during my divorce”; “Every time he sees me, he turns the other way”; “I feel a second-class citizen.”

The rabbi needs to step beyond these statements and understand that the congregant, who really is feeling guilt and shame, is unconsciously using the rabbi as a scapegoat. By being aware of the source of this verbal rejection, the rabbi and the congregation may be more willing to extend the initial invitation of reconciliation that can ease the single parent’s return to the synagogue.

In a recent marketing study of a local Jewish community center, the polled group–composed of divorced parents–felt that Jewish institutions, especially the synagogues, should initiate contact with its members upon hearing of a marital separation.

Synagogues should not remain aloof, afraid of interfering. Letting the parties know that the rabbi is available as a willing, nonjudgmental friend can result in the much-desired and needed nontherapeutic “someone to talk to.

” In this early period of separation, an invitation to a Shabbat [Sabbath] or holiday dinner might be appreciated.

The study’s participants also stressed the financial panic that accompanies every divorce. Rare is the family that can continue to pay the same synagogue dues. Rarer yet is the person who can ask for a dues reduction without directing anger at the synagogue. A call from a thoughtful business manager or dues chairman suggesting a temporary reduction of dues can help maintain membership.

Rabbis have an essential role in educating psychotherapists, lawyers, and accountants about the importance of including provisions for the get [Jewish bill of divorce], Jewish education, Jewish summer camps, holiday observance, and lifecycle celebrations in civil divorce decrees. These inclusions help prevent such issues from becoming future arenas for prolonged warfare. Members going through divorce should be given a checklist of these items important to future Jewish living.

Special Single-Parent Programs Not Helpful

Special divorced-parent family activities within the synagogue are of dubious benefit. If their synagogue socializing is limited mainly to “singles,” neither the parent nor the children learn to deal with their own feelings of being “different” from other synagogue families.

Preferring to be “just the other kids,” children of divorced families particularly object to being placed in single-parent family programs.

Most important, by isolating the divorced-parent families into a separate subgroup, the rest of the congregation does not learn to relate comfortably to them.

Instead of putting effort into single-parent family programs, a congregation might examine existing programs that would allow these families to be reintroduced rapidly into the total synagogue structure.

Havurot [small groups that meet monthly or more often for socializing, celebration, and study] present an excellent opportunity to involve such families. Single adults should be invited repeatedly to work on the various synagogue committees.

Study groups and other special interest groups are excellent means of recreating social circles without creating an isolated “singles” world.

Regardless of the sensitivity of the synagogue toward the single parent, the most important issue is the rebuilding of the adult’s personal relationship with his or her own Judaism. In this area, a pragmatic shopping list of congregational “do’s” cannot be presented: The resolution lies completely within the individual.

Judaism Can Also Be a Path to Return

Personally, there were two major turning points in my own return. The most dramatic event was the presentation of my long sought-after get.

Not only was I now freed from my civilly dissolved marriage, but also I felt “cleansed” and ready to reenter synagogue life.

This dramatic reaction, which was extremely pivotal to my own Judaist observance, underscores the importance of the get both for Jewish legal reasons and for psychological self-absolution.

The other turning point was the gradual realization that, although the marriage was gone, the family still remained.

Within the context of Judaism, the protection and companionship of coupledness was gone, but the privilege and nachas [joy] of rearing Jewish children still remained.

As I learned to accept and enjoy my aloneness, I was able to focus on the need to reestablish stability and order within the family.

If Judaism presents a problem to single-parent families, it also presents a much-needed structure.

Through the observance of Shabbat and kashrut [following the dietary regulations], for example, families can reestablish the time and space needed to delineate the bounds of the present unit.

Being together every Shabbat, regardless of external enticements, strengthens family bonding and, by example, increases the concept of the importance of primary familial obligations.

As a family unit, the duties and privileges of Jewish home rituals remain to be filled. The single parent must learn new religious skills once performed by the other adult in the former marriage. For this reason, both men and women should be familiar with all home rituals.

Another problem of single parenting is the lack of support from another adult who has similar values. The single parent is burdened with being the sole judge and model, but synagogue-focused Judaism can offer an alternative to this situation.

In many ways, the synagogue community can become the other parent.

Through the pageantry of mitzvot [commandments] and holidays shared with the synagogue community, the single-parent family gains a greater insight into the essential similarities of all families’ behavior–“singled” and “paired.

” As friends who share the same Judaic value structure, the rabbi and members of the congregation are available to “check things out” and provide much-needed reinforcement.

Despite the initiative of the rabbi and the synagogue and despite the soundness of the single-parent family’s relationship to Judaism, one fact still remains: the single adult and the single-parent family exist outside the norms of Judaism.

For the sake of Jewish survival, the traditional model of marriage and family life must continue to be stressed: Therefore, adults who are single either by choice or circumstance and members of single-parent families face the continual, guilt-producing conflict between their own lifestyle and traditional Judaism.

The congregation and the rabbi must recognize and understand this struggle. Only through sincere acknowledgment and sensitivity can synagogues hope to maintain and even increase the participation and affiliation of single Judaist adults and families.

Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Empower your Jewish discovery, daily

Источник: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-divorced-parent-family-the-synagogue-community/

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