Finding Christian support for divorce within your church community can be challenging. After all, divorce makes people uncomfortable. It exposes the fact that any marriage is vulnerable and it shifts the dynamics of long-term friendships. The following article provides some pointers for people who want to support their Christian friends during their divorce, with insight from the other side.
By Debbie Lee Nicodem
1. It takes 2 people to make a marriage work. Just because I’m divorced doesn’t mean I didn’t do everything in my power to save my marriage.
2. My marriage was not doomed by some sort of fatal flaw in me, so please stop looking for one. Divorce is a heavy enough burden to bear without adding shame to the load.
3. I did not suddenly want to be with only single women all the time. I value men’s input, and need to witness healthy marriages to heal. My grief is compounded when I’m excluded from groups and friends simply because I’m divorced.
4. I define myself by more than my marital status. I’m also a mom, a reader, a choir member, writer, health-nut, home-owner, dog-lover, friend, and worshiper. Please don’t think you have nothing in common with me just because I’m divorced.
5. I do not need to hear another Bible verse. I need acceptance from people who will affirm my worth and give me a place to belong. Please allow me to be where I’m at even if it makes you uncomfortable.
6. There is no set time when I will be "over it". Healing needs to happen on many levels. I have to double back through my deepest wounds often to learn new responses. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not making progress.
7. Not everything about my ex-spouse is bad. Please don’t make a future positive relationship between him and my kids any harder for me by making derogatory remarks about him.
8. I need friends who will be sounding boards to help me think through decisions about my home, career and parenting. I do not need people to tell me what I “should” do or what they would do if they were in my shoes. That only undermines my already fragile self-confidence.
9. If you really want to help me, encourage my children to honor their mother. I take responsibility for being honor-worthy, but on Mother’s Day, my birthday and Christmas my kids could use an extra push in the right direction.
10. I have a lot to offer. The lessons I’ve learned through divorce would probably bless anyone who got to know me. Yes, I’ve been wounded and need the church, but I’ve also discovered that the church needs me just as much.
Divorce List by Debbie Lee Nicodem, founder of Divorce Help for Christian Women and author of "Detoured by Divorce"
The subject of divorce is a tough one for many Christians. In fact, many Christians have been told that divorce is a sin and they usually can’t remarry if they are divorced. But is this what the Bible really means? For an interesting discussion about this, check out In Defense of Divorce (Ad) by Ennis B. Pepper. He will help you gain a new perspective on the subject of divorce from a Christian perspective.
On a different note, having your marriage collapse is rough, so it's important to find good Christian support for divorce when you're dealing with everything. One really good organization that provides such services is DivorceCare. They offer seminars and support groups, and you can look for a chapter in your area at their website.