Thinking about divorce: get help now!

I was sharing with a friend of mine the other day a little tid bit on divorce. It comes from personal experience.

This friend of mine, we’ll call him “Sam,” recently shared a bit about his life at a group gathering. With his wife next to him, the two shared how one incident (they did not elaborate) nearly caused them to divorce. The point of their discussion wasn’t to dredge up the past, but to encourage other couples to work it out for the sake of their children. They were passionate in their plea to others who might be contemplating divorce to seek counseling.

I can attest to the other side of this because I’m one of America’s divorce statistics. Sadly, I now am forced to have regular appointments with my daughter instead of a normal life where I should be able to come home and have another evening to watch her grow up, help her with her homework or simply watch television together. I use the word “sadly” because it’s not the way families should be. It’s certainly not the way God intended it. I can’t take her to the daddy-daughter dance in town that happens only once a year because it’s not my weekend with her. Every year I say “maybe next year,” and then next year comes and it falls on the weekend that she’s with her mother.

Sam and his wife are your every-day young couple with children. The family picture is the quintessential portrait of the happy family. You can see joy in their eyes, especially in those of the children.

I told Sam after church recently that I think divorce robs that joy from people, especially the children. Not only do they have their joy stolen from them, but I’d argue that they lose their very childhood in the process, even if they continue in some or most of the activities they once participated in. I’ve seen it in my own daughter. The smile that once radiated and glowed is gone. She can still smile, but everything that was behind that smile seems absent.

Most of us know couples, or you may be in that relationship yourself, that are on the verge of divorce. You’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. You don’t even want to go home from work because you know whatever you say or do can’t be good enough and will escalate into an argument. You’d rather stay at work if you could and avoid the pain you know is on the other side of the door when you walk in. You may even become physically ill before going home because of the pain you know is just around the corner.

Help is out there. For those who’ve signed the divorce papers it’s there in the form of friendships, counseling and your local church. Don’t discount your church because that’s the single-most valuable relationship you have in finding recovery. For those who might only be contemplating divorce, I say the same thing… find help in your local church and with professionals if necessary. I personally know folks who’ve sought counseling and help to heal their own marriages and their lives are blessed now because they did. Certainly their children are blessed  because of it and will not have to discover the pain of being split between two people who once loved each other beyond words, but who now cannot stand to be in the same room together.

The first hurdle you need to jump may not even the hardest one. Knowing you need help is pretty easy; admitting it then finding it can be more difficult. The biggest hurdle may come in trying to overcome the embarrassment of admitting to another human being that you can’t hold it together. Don’t let that be a stumbling block. Another friend of mine likens it to going to the hospital: you know you need medical help and the treatment is likely going to be painful, but your condition, if left untreated, will become much worse, and may even be fatal.

As hard as it is, you’ll need to swallow your pride and allow another human being to enter your lives and work to heal the two of you, and maybe even your whole family. Whatever the obstacle, get the help you need. Do it for yourself and your spouse; do it for your children and your grandchildren. But by all means, do it!

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5 thoughts on “Thinking about divorce: get help now!

  1. You wrote, “I think divorce robs that joy from people, especially the children.” That’s so, so, so heartbreaking.

    What a gift you’re offering to others–your own loss has you urging people to seek help. I feel so much hope flowing through this post imagining that readers might act on your words.

    Also, I wish that in the church, we could all provide honest and safe relationships so that people could take that risk in asking for help…that we could come around them and offer loving support and encouragement, walking with them to a place of healing and…joy.

    • I’m very fortunate in that I attend a great church with people who are very honest and willing to be open. I realize that not all churches are this way, and this is troubling. If we can’t be open and honest (transparent) with our friends in church, then where else can we do this?
      I wrote http://toddfitchette.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/true-friendship-is-priceless/ with the idea that, as Christians, we’re called to the sense of community with others around us, and that we should be the first welcoming and forgiving arms people seek when troubled. We do this in response to Christ’s love for us.

  2. Couldn’t agree more that couples thinking about divorce should get help now. The grass is always greener on the other side, but the reality is, problems that lead to divorce typically follow a person into any new relationships so it’s better to stay where you are and figure things out.

    Having said that, I do believe that sometimes God releases us from situations in order to show us His best (adultery, for example). But even the most difficult situations aren’t above God’s restoration, provided people are willing to yield to God.

    Great insights for others facing difficult situations. Your encouragement will go a long way.

    Blessings!

    PS Found you through High Calling Blogs.

  3. Thank you to both of you… for starters, I did not know that I had made it to High Calling Blogs. That’s GREAT news!
    I struggled with writing this, but after talking to a friend this weekend I figured I couldn’t avoid the subject, given my gift for writing.
    Divorce is so ugly and so harmful, particularly to children. I hope this helps people avoid it and get involved in the lives of others to help others avoid this road of hazards and troubles.

  4. As the wife of “Sam” I can honestly say that yes, it’s so worth it! We truely were at the brink of divorce. My heart was broken, we were broken, I knew there was only one way to fix it all, God! I sat there in front of “Sam” with his disgust looking back at me and said, “fine if you don’t love me anymore fine, but do it for the kids, and we’ll work on love.” I will never forget that moment. But you can’t just say it, you have to work on it. We sought out help. We placed boundries on our marriage. We both set forth a plan to move forward.

    Here was our plan:

    1. Get counseling: Our Pastor at First Baptist Church in Tulare.
    2. Get in a couples bible study.
    3. Get into a mens’s study for “Sam” and a womans study for me.
    4. Ask others to pray, don’t hide it, let those around you pray for you. There is power in prayer!
    5. Started a nightly couples study together called: Night Light by Dr. James and Shirley Dobson.
    6. Prayed together every morning before we left to work.

    We started really learning how to communicate and find out what the other person needed in our relationship. In our 7 years of marriage we were truly just going through the motions, going to church on Sundays, working and so on, but we weren’t living to our full potential. Not in Gods eyes nor in each others.
    Unfortunately, for us it took something horrible for us to open our eyes. I pray you never have to go there. And if you are get the help you need. Life is so worth it, I love my husband and he loves me. The truth is we love each other more now then we did before this incodent. I never thought we would be here again. Wow! God was so much bigger than I realized. He not only restored us he healed all the pain! Our kids today, have their mommy and daddy. They have their Joy!

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