Your stories: walking through separation and divorce. Part 2

UNIVERSITY PRESS

This is Part 2 in a series on separation and divorce among Christians. All these stories include editing and parts of a bigger picture. We’d be wise to know that what works for some families may or may not work for others but my hope is that God will use these posts in some small way. Maybe we gain a deeper understanding of just how hard this journey is for some of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe it causes others to take a long serious pause before taking the next step in pursuing a separation or divorce. And perhaps it helps some give new thought to how they are handling their own current situation. 

Today’s story comes from a Christian man who has also walked through divorce in the recent years. 

Don’t divorce, especially if you don’t have biblical grounds. You have no idea how bad it will be for you and for your kids, and the negative consequences will never go away for your kids — not least that they’ll never again have an easy holiday, birthday, graduation, wedding, birth, or anything else. If you don’t have biblical grounds, it’s pure selfishness — you’re putting yourself ahead of God, your kids, and anyone else who knows you and observes your life.

If the divorce has to happen (which, in our no-fault legal system, is the case if your spouse chooses, regardless of your wishes), making the best of it for your kids is simple, though it may not be easy: just act like an adult who’s familiar with the Golden Rule. Unless a fight is for the benefit of the kids, let it go. It’s not a game you’re trying to win over your spouse. There aren’t any rewards for getting your way. You’re not proving anything. Grow up.

Never put the kids in the middle of any issue. They hate it, and you’re stressing them. Don’t communicate through your kids — communicate directly.

Don’t rush into a remarriage (goes double if the remarriage requires relocation a long distance away). Take all the troubles that are inherent in divorce and multiply them by 10 (or 100, if/when the second marriage starts to crumble, as it will do something like 75% of the time).

Don’t bad mouth your ex. You may succeed in alienating them from your ex, but then what have you accomplished? Even the secular course for divorcing parents that was mandatory in our county’s court system stressed this. The effect can be cumulative, with delayed results.

Tell your kids about the divorce together, agreeing in advance what you’re going to say to them. Doesn’t have to be dishonest, but it does have to be together. Doing it any other way is completely unfair to the other spouse and automatically puts the kids in the middle.

Leave new boyfriends/girlfriends out of things (especially the kids’ events) for as long as possible — preferably until there’s a ring involved.

Do joint celebrations of the kids’ achievements, like graduations, parties, etc. 

DivorceCare is a good program and helps with multiple issues, including bitterness and doing what’s best for the kids.”

Father, give guidance to the families that are walking through separation and divorce. It’s your grace and love that doesn’t leave them alone in this process. You do not withhold your love even though you hate divorce. For the couples using bitter words towards each other and holding kids as leverage I ask in  your Name to put a divine guard over their mouth. To open their eyes to what you want to help purge and renew. Give hope to the ones who think “things will never change”. Remind them that you are a God of miracles and the impossible. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

The next article is from a woman who says,from her experience, that divorce is harder than the death of a spouse – she has experienced both. 

Hey guys….I know this is a hard series. Hard to read and hard to write honestly. I’m ready to move on to some funny and light hearted stuff. But I know God has put this on my heart and as hard as it is I want to push through. 

 

Your stories – walking through separation and divorce. Part 1

UNIVERSITY PRESS

This is an unusual week at Life is a Bowl of Wedgies because I’m sharing some of your stories with your permission and with complete anonymity. It started with this comment/question I posted on Facebook last week.

I’m watching a lot of people right now go through separation or divorce. I watch broken families come to their kids school programs, church, special events, etc. and I see pain on their faces. From knowing where to sit to talking to the “other person” if their spouse has a significant other, to wondering how people will respond to them. These are just a few things I perceive as I sit next to some of my friends and watch from a distance in other cases. I’m sure the beginning stages are harder and everyone is figuring out what the new normal looks like and how to navigate these new waters. My question is not about whether separation or divorce is right or wrong and I’m not wanting to debate that in this space. I’m taking this question from the place of “the separation or divorce is in process or has happened”. How do you do this well? How do you walk through separation and divorce without growing bitter towards the other person and protecting your child from anger and bitterness? 

People responded in the comments on Facebook and some responded privately. I don’t take your stories lightly or the fact that you trusted me with them. I appreciate your desire to want to help others from what you’ve learned and for sharing what you’re going through right now. My prayer is that God might use your stories in some way to encourage us all.

Our first life story comes from a godly Christian woman that I love dearly. These are things she learned while walking through divorce:

“Some of the best advice I ever got was from my sweet dad and mom when I divorced. Mom said, you can let this (the divorce) make you bitter or make you better in your relationship with the Lord. She said do not ever bad mouth your former husband to your children because in time, actions will show themselves. As the children grew older, they did ask me questions and I was able to answer them as I felt was fit for their age and what details they should know or not know. We always appeared together with or without our significant other at the kids events over the years. I told each of the children at different times as they were old enough that divorce is never God’ s first choice for our lives but there are times when it cannot be avoided. I told them that I was sorry for the hurt our divorce has caused them and I take responsibility for their hurt but that also, God can use the difficult things in our lives to mold us if we let Him. Have treated them (ex and family) as we felt Jesus would do and do not have regrets for our actions. The children are the innocent parties and when they are little they do not comprehend why you cannot be together but you can say and do comforting things to them such as….I love your daddy because he is your daddy but right now, we cannot live together. That does not change our love for you and mommy will always love your daddy because he is your daddy. If you know the Lord then you are still responsible for your words and actions. I still gave our son money so that on every holiday that honored his dad in anyway he could buy for him what he wanted….Christmas, his bday, Father’s Day, If it was important to our son we honored that.

Although there were times I wanted to make some of my own decisions concerning our son, I always talked to his dad and asked what he thought. I was the primary custodial parent but we both are his dad and mom.”

I don’t want to sanitize divorce or separation. I have strong feelings about it but it happens. And some people choose to walk through it bitterly and others gracefully. This woman has chosen to walk this journey gracefully. And I believe God has blessed her for it in many ways. Never think God can’t use you or bless you or love you the same if you’re divorced. This is the grace our God bestows to us.

Our next story is cut and dry and to the point. It has excellent advice in it and I look forward to sharing that with you later this week.

Lord, I praise you for being our perfect Shepherd. Today I pray over my friends who are traveling the weary road of divorce and separation. Remind my friends that anything is possible with you. Would you reclaim what the locusts have eaten. Rebuild. Restore. Redeem what has been broken. Give hope where hope is needed. Holy Spirit, do what only you can do. Breathe life into these men and women. Let them cling to you and your word during these times. It is life giving and what we all need. Use these stories of your children to encourage, challenge and to give insight to us all. We need you to do that, Father. Amen.

This is Part 1 of a 5 Part series. To see the other posts click below:

Your stories: walking through separation and divorce. Part 2

Your Stories: walking through separation and divorce. Part 3

Your Stories: walking through separation and divorce. Part 4

Your Stories: walking through separation and divorce. Part 5