When words just get in the way

Divorce, Exterior lantern, Restaurant, View

Have you ever noticed that when people discover you’re divorced they treat you differently? Okay, maybe not you specifically, but to others you may know. It’s as if they discovered you have some and explainable disease that could very well be contagious and they don’t want to be around you for fear of catching something.

I’ve heard that it could simply be that people just don’t know what to say when they hear the news and so they opt not to say anything. I know, I’ve been there with someone I once worked with. I simply said, “I’m sorry” to her and looked for a convenient way to exit the conversation.

I was sharing this with a good friend recently and we both likened it to a double rejection. You’re already depressed and dejected about your own divorce — since your own marriage didn’t work out and you’re feeling bad about it, and now your friends won’t talk to you because they don’t know what to say in response to the news that you just got a divorce.

It’s a bit ironic in a way, given our cultural acceptance of divorce. Maybe that’s just the human condition when it comes to bad news. Good news is, well, good. We celebrate it. We hail it. We enjoy it. But when bad news comes: divorce, cancer, losing a job, etc., we somehow lose the ability to empathize, so we often do the only other thing we know to do, and that’s open our mouths and offer advice.

There’s a lot to be gleaned from the Book of Job in the Old Testament. I guess what jumps out at me from the story (and believe me, there’s a lot there) is recorded in the last half of chapter 2. This is where Job’s friends, upon receiving the news of the tragedies he suffered, “traveled from their homes to comfort and console him.”

I think that’s the best thing we can do for friends who are suffering. There will be plenty of time to talk later.

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5 thoughts on “When words just get in the way

  1. There is a problem comparing being divorced to having a disease. Divorce is sin; having a disease is not sin. Job’s friends accused Job of sinning and bringing his problems upon himself when in fact Job was innocent and his problems were not the cause of sin but were caused by Satan giving him a hard time.

    In today’s no-fault divorce world, the recipient of a divorce may be truly innocent, or maybe not. All a divorced person – or any person – can do is take responsibility for their own sin, repent, make reparations, and move forward.

    I don’t think it’s actually “the divorce” that makes people shy away. If you are giving off vibes of being damaged, angry, bitter (the result of unforgiveness), or victimized, though, those attitudes are easily detectable.

    • Thanks again for your viewpoint to this topic. My point here wasn’t to point the finger of blame, so to speak, for why divorce happens. It’s really about how we as human beings treat each others who are suffering through particular aspects of life.
      Let’s face it: divorce happens. Good, bad or indifferent, it happens! It has its ramifications on the people involved in a myriad of ways (I won’t even go into how it impacts children!).
      My example of Job’s friends should suggest that sometimes our best response to the suffering of friends isn’t a verbal one, but a spacial one. In Job’s case, his friends simply sat with him for a week and said nothing. They didn’t judge him; they didn’t try to explain it away in some sort of misguided misquote of Romans 8:28 as is common in Christian circles. They merely sat with him! The bible says they consoled and comforted him.
      I’m saying that this should be our first response to the suffering of others. Divorce, in this instance, was merely an example of suffering.

  2. But Job’s friends DID NOT comfort him. Instead, Job’s friends blame him for his tragedy. Have you read the book of Job and its commentary carefully?

    Here is a brief quote from http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Job.html

    “Why do the righteous suffer? This is the question raised after Job loses his family, his wealth, and his health. Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, come to “comfort” him and to discuss his crushing series of tragedies. They insist his suffering is punishment for sin in his life. Job, though, remains devoted to God through all of this and contends that his life has not been one of sin.”

    • Maybe not in the end, but at least for the first 7 days they were with Job they merely kept their mouths shut and said nothing while sitting with him (2:13).
      That was my point – their example of silence.
      I agree: they put their feet in their collective mouths by the end of the story.

  3. Divorce is a Rampant Epidemic especially when the government & military (NATO) is behind it!

    I went to a father’s group in Texas (just north of Fort Hood) where some ex-military west pointer gave some real eye-opening comments. He basically said that the current Divorce process, legislation, court system and military is all one scheme that was put into play around the early 1960‘s. It was put in place for the Vietnam War, that’s when the divorces started to sky-rocket across the country (Google statistics). That in addition, it was also designed to be one huge cash-cow to lure greedy lawyers to facilitate and destroy more families on the civilian side to get enough statistics to make it comparable to the military statistics. However the military numbers are still much higher. That is why they then modified the scheme to use on police nationwide to raise the civilian stats as most are ex-military and won’t suspect anything wrong.

    It is designed to send “single” male soldiers without family responsibilities to war and deny ex-wives any long-term financial support that was initially and may still be coming from the military/ pentagon’s money pockets. This is why laws traditionally have been favoring women. Women are lured to divorce partners with both positive and negatives reinforcements. The positive is they get the kids, the house, money in many forms-child support etc thus they benefit in the short term. To the military, the soldiers wives are expendable as are the soldiers and even their children! Simply the less money the military spends on wives, kids, ex-soldiers, the medical bills etc, the more they have for their drones, guns, or bullets. The scheme is very very complicated but based on very slow very subtle psy-ops brainwashing tactics followed by Machiavellian divide and conquer restraining orders. He said that any Freedom of Information request will gradually reveal key pieces of data that when analyzed together with confirm all this. Talking about this among other soldiers would also reveal stuff, so they came up with “leave your family problems at home” and the “zero tolerance” to divorce and get the spouses or soldiers out of the service quickly before they talk and expose the scheme. Many times this leads to actual suicides or apparent “suicides” to silence those that know too much. This is also the reason why the Pentagon does not want to release documents related to divorce. Part of the even bigger Military-Industrial complex. Similar schemes used throughout the world pushed through United Nations facades.

    Basically makes wives and soldier fight and hate each other. The scheme basically exploits women’s emotional traits to spread itself to other victims. The media contributes to the fear mongering and makes things worst. Fear (PTSD etc) makes women fear for their safety or some play the helpless damsel in distress thus they then go pleading to the oh-so-willing authorities who provide them with military issued cookie cutter divorce packets to take to a civilian lawyer. They do this to hide where the process initially starts.

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