Marriage Missions International

What I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Divorced

MARRIAGE MISSIONS NOTE: At the end of this article, we will have a web site link to a related article that you might benefit from reading, as well.

Five friends and I were having breakfast one morning when our conversation turned to our friend Cindy*. She was convinced divorce was the answer to her problems.

“I wish Cindy would listen to us,” I said.

“She made it clear she doesn’t want to hear anything from us divorcées,” said Betsy. “She’s made up her mind, and she’s not changing it.”

That morning, in utter frustration, my friends and I compiled a list: what we wish we’d known before we got divorced —the things we wanted Cindy to know before she made her final decision. Each of us had experienced the upheaval of divorce and watched 12 of our close friends’ second marriages end.

We all knew Cindy wasn’t casually deciding to end her marriage —few people do. Divorce is one of the most agonizing choices a couple makes. We understood the anger, panic, abandonment, and feelings of being trapped that lead many people to divorce. But we’d also experienced the “other side” of being single again. We’d seen the lives of our children changed forever. Years later, we continue to live with the ongoing pain and complications of a destroyed marriage.

As a licensed psychologist, I’ve heard many people consider the possibility of ending their marriage. They look at divorce as a solution to their marital woes, a viable answer to their pain and frustration. Ultimately, however, it creates only different problems. In a recent study by the Institute for American Values chaired by sociologist Linda Waite of the University of Chicago, researchers asked, “Does divorce make people happy?” They found that those who ended their troubled marriage in divorce weren’t any happier than those who remained married. In fact, two-thirds of those who stayed married reported happy marriages five years later.

Here’s the list we compiled for Cindy.

1. Life will change more than you realize
“I thought I’d enjoy being alone,” says Lori, who has never remarried. “But I’m lonely. Whenever my friends complain about how needy their husbands or children are, I say, ‘Try living without that.’”

Andy, like Lori, hasn’t remarried. “I didn’t expect to miss odd things like the towels folded neatly, shopping for groceries together, or the Saturday routine we’d established,” he says. After his divorce, Andy realized how much the familiar, everyday things of married life meant to him.

Add children to the equation, and the result is even stickier. Instead of two people parenting your children, if you have custody, you’re left to do it all —alone. You become the sole breadwinner, spiritual adviser, disciplinarian, housekeeper. The stress levels of this responsibility can become staggering.

Then there are the scheduling dilemmas. Recently, my friend Betsy and I were discussing how complicated it can be to see our sons during a short college break. Although we both cooperate with our ex-husbands, we still ache as we watch our innocent children bear the heavy responsibility of carefully doling out their time between the families in an effort not to alienate either parent.

Although the everyday occurrences can create plenty of challenges after divorce, the special occasions are worse. Every birthday, holiday, wedding, or funeral is a potential nightmare. Allison told me, “At my future daughter-in-law’s wedding, she’s planning to walk down the aisle by herself because she has multiple fathers and is torn between her allegiances. My heart breaks for her.” These problems don’t end when the children grow up and marry. The hassles continue with the grandchildren.

Even if you remarry, the consequences of your divorce continue to impact your life. Jan Coleman, author of After the Locusts, was single —again for 12 years before marrying Carl. As good as her present marriage is, she doesn’t hesitate to say what a dramatic change it made in her life.

“Yes, you can love and trust again,” she says. “But the first marriage is God’s best, his design. We weren’t meant to give up on it, but to work through all the struggles to God’s glory and our best. The tearing of the flesh may heal, but the scars are always there. Remarriage can be great in many ways if you marry for the right reasons, but it’s still not the same.”

2. Your life won’t be more carefree
As a self-confident, independent woman with a fast-moving career and no children, Stephanie couldn’t wait to be free of the pain of her dying marriage.

“I would no longer have to put with up his problems,” she says. “I’d be able to do what I wanted when I wanted. But after the divorce, it was my career and my home that began to hold me hostage. I was imprisoned by all the things I thought made me look good.”

Divorce never brought the carefree lifestyle Stephanie had expected.

There are those seemingly hidden emotional wounds that can pop open when we least expect or which we learn to expect on special anniversaries. Jan Coleman says, “Every Christmas, I become depressed. After 20 years it still hits me suddenly, without warning. I was first married in December, and my childhood sweetheart left me for another woman 15 Decembers later. Every year I have a weepy week.”

Jan’s second husband understands and gives her the space “to grieve again for the loss of that ideal family I spent my life imagining. There are times when it hits him too. You’re never free from the effects of that broken first marriage.”

I know this truth from personal experience. Recently, I began dating someone who’s divorced. Because of our pasts, we have several barriers in our current relationship —one of which is the fear of trusting and loving again.

3. You trade one set of problems for another
Even the most amiable break-ups bring deep wounds. There are always consequences to divorce.

“What I didn’t anticipate,” says Brad, who hasn’t remarried, “was the way my friends perceived me. All of a sudden I became damaged goods. One couple, who’d been my close friends for 20 years, became cool toward me after the divorce.”

There’s a ripple effect. Your divorce doesn’t just affect you and your spouse. It affects everyone around you. Friends often feel as if they must pick sides, so they keep their distance. Relationships with those who do remain loyal change abruptly. Church friends may stay away, feeling uncomfortable. And family members who’ve grown to love and care for the ex feel forced to “divorce” as well.

Then there are the financial ramifications. Dividing the assets isn’t always done equitably. Vern was left with only 31 percent of his retirement account even though his ex-wife worked and they had no children together. At the age of 49, this circumstance was a blow to his retirement plans.

If there’s a remarriage, blending children from previous marriages brings problems that can range from emotional chaos to stoic tolerance. A recently remarried friend said, “My life is more complicated than ever. I’ve put all this effort into a new marriage, but we’re struggling. My new stepson ignores me. His attitude is, ‘I’m here to be with my dad and that’s it.’ I feel horrible —like a second class citizen in my own home.”

4. Feelings can be deceiving
Kathy, who was in her twenties and newly married, learned that following her feelings can have tragic consequences.

“My husband was away a lot, and most evenings I was home alone. I felt lonely and empty. Many nights I cried myself to sleep and wondered why I ever got married.

“When I met a man who made me feel alive and passionate about life, I concluded these feelings of excitement confirmed I was no longer in love with my husband.

“Rather than praying and giving my concerns to God, I took the situation in my own hands and moved out. I was convinced I’d made a mistake in getting married.”

Still single five years later, Kathy wishes some wise woman would have come alongside her, prayed with her, and gently reminded her that love is a choice and a commitment, not an emotion.

When my son was 6 years old, he’d complain about being disciplined for disobeying what he called my “stupid rules.” Over and over I’d repeat, “Kyle, I’m being short-term mean, but long-term nice.”

Like children, we sometimes allow our desire for momentary pleasure to pull us from God’s best. Rather than doing the hard work it takes to invest daily in our marriage, we make seemingly innocent decisions thinking they’ll do no harm.

Our friend Cindy didn’t listen to us. She opted for the divorce. Sadly she wasn’t willing to persevere and uncover the lost treasures that first drew her and her husband together. With God’s help, her current pain or discontentment could have been transformed into long-term joy and abundant blessings. Like my son learned many years ago, short-term pain can indeed lead to long-term gain.

*Names have been changed

The above article appeared in Marriage Partnership Magazine, (Summer, 2005). We truly loved this magazine, when it was being published and wish it was back in publication.

Georgia Shaffer, author of A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life After Loss (Vine Brooks), is a speaker and licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania in the United States of America. Visit Georgia at www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

— ALSO  —

To read a related article, please click onto the PreachItTeach It.org link provided, where Dr Roger Barrier answers the question:

• Is it true that I can’t remarry after my divorce without committing adultery?

Share

Join the Discussion!

But please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.
We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


four + = 6

Comments

53 Responses to “What I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Divorced”
  1. Matt says:

    (UNITED STATES)  What do you do when your wife lives with her boyfriend along with your 3 daughters? I have been standing firm for almost 22 months now and nothing seems to change and I have tried all the tough love stuff to no avail. I have worked on myself and continue to stay open to learning and pursue it. My 13 yr old daughter never wants me to give up and my 3 yr old asks me when I get to come home.

    It seemed that God was showing me to wait, hope, and stand, stand firm and be patient… But lately I wonder if that’s what he has said and wonder if he has said anything at all, or if in my pain I wanted to believe he has said that. I am so worn out by all the pain and defeat and hoping against all hope and on top of that, my wife says she doesn’t want to reconcile.
    We have been married 15 yrs and I miss my wife and kids. She said she wanted this so she can be happy, but she is more misrable than ever. I don’t want to divorce but I dont know how long I should hope for God to do something or if he ever will.

    • Brenda says:

      (USA)  I’ve been married for the past seven years of my life. I didn’t make a vow for a man to beat me. I am glad it’s all over and my kids are better off with me. I’ve been reading people stories tonight and yes I miss my other half, but I will never in my life go back to a women beater. I know God wants all of us to work out are differences. This is one time I can’t forget him.

      • Isaac says:

        (SOUTH AFRICA)  Matt, Hebrews 11 verse 1 reads: “To have faith is to be sure of things we hope for, to be certain of things we cannot see.”

        It’s amazing that I am going through what you are going through, My wife left me on the 26 March 2010. I will continue hoping for her return for I believe GOD made it possible for us to be together for the last 10 years and HE will make it possible for her return. I will pray for you and your family.

      • Charlie says:

        (AUSTRALIA) You deserve to receive love as in the Bible. If a man beats you, he deserved to be cast out of your life. He is like a rabid dog and will not change.

      • Janice says:

        (IRELAND) My husband and I got married without the consent of my parents. I was thrown out of my house because I was pregnant. My husband’s family took me in and I thought they loved me as much as I loved them. I would have done anything for him. We relocated to another country and things started to change.

        Everyday there was one heartbreak or another. I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. He was unfaithful with countless women, careless with money and he didn’t work. I was lonely, I was sad, overworked, depressed–but I stayed. Things got so bad that friends advised me to fight back. I would hide money, argue with him and he’d just leave me for weeks. When he came back I’d be so grateful and I’d try to forget everything and it’d be back to square one in a matter of days. We lived together 3 years being beastly to one another.

        In 2010, he left to work in another country with a promise to return. I have not seen him since. He lives with other women and would send me money for our children at Christmas. We still can’t have a decent conversation with each other over the phone without arguing or shouting. I was devastated when he left since our kids were so young but since then God has helped me build my business and I no longer fear coming home. But I am lonely and I worry for my kids …both boys. Do I wait for him? How do I know he will ever come back? Would I want him if he comes back because I never want to live like an animal again. I never want to be afraid to come home or cry myself to sleep knowing my husband is making love to someone else. I met an older man who says he loves me but I can’t commit because I don’t know which way to turn. I don’t want to make another mistake.

    • April says:

      (USA) You spoke what I have been feeling for the past 2 years. I love my husband so much but I don’t know what to do anymore. It hurts so much to watch time tick on & have the feeling that with each passing moment I am inching towards my dream of motherhood dying…

  2. Angela says:

    (UK)  This is simply not true. I’m sorry, but it’s not. I was married to my first husband for about 7 years and in all those 7 years he did nothing but sleep around and smash the house up and sometimes he didn’t even know who I was cus he was so drunk. He was and still is an alcoholic. The best thing I ever did was leave him and take my baby with me. She used to scream when he came home at night drunk and was smashing things up and tearing up my clothes. I had to get out of the safety of us both.

    I worked full time and bought a nice house and I was never, ever lonely. It was fantastic, just my baby and myself. I had loads of friends, a job, a car, a nice house and I was so, so, so, so happy. I never once thought, ‘oh I wish I had stayed in that abusive marriage’. No! I was and still am so, so pleased I got out while I was still alive and young enough to make it on my own. If I had stayed with him my baby would have been a nervous wreck and either myself or my ex would have killed the other.

    We never had anything when we were with him… the gas, electric, phone etc were cut off and the house was being repossessed because he drunk all the money away. He stole my money to feed his drinking habit. We had no food and my mother in law had to bring me some milk for my baby… how embarrassing is that!!!!

    No, the best thing I ever did, next to getting saved, was to leave my first husband. My baby and me lived for 24 years without a man in our home and we were so so happy… best friends and very close.

    Sadly, I remarried recently… when my baby was all grown up and left home. But he has turned out to be as bad as the first one in different ways. I should have stayed on my own. I had a good job, cars, friends… my house was almost paid off and I was so unbelievably happy and loneliness was not in sight and never had been.

    I thought my second husband was my ‘soul mate’ — not that I even really know what that means but I thought we were just meant for each other… how wrong I was! We were fine while we were courting but once married, he was a totally different person.

    I rue the day I sold my house and gave up everything I had worked for … for what! And no, before you say it’s me, it’s not… I have been down that road for a few years now thinking it must be me cus he says it’s me but all my friends that I have known for years say it’s not me and I am ace :-)

    But to be on the safe side, I have prayed and fasted and am being lead by God to change any little thing I can. It makes no difference at all… everything is still the same in my marriage. No.. sorry, it’s not, it’s worse! And it goes from bad to worse each day. I have never ever been lonely in life until now!

    My advice to anyone and everyone out there… Get a good job… Go to college if you have, to like I did, with a baby to look after, so dont give me any excuses… Get a house and make it your home… Get some really good friends around you… Have fun… (it doesn’t have to cost anything to have fun, I know, I did it)… Have your kids with you if you can… If you can’t, then make it fun, fun, fun when you do see them…

    Yes, it’s darn hard work being mother, father, diy person, gardener, nurse, provider and everything else… but it’s worth it cus it’s yours and no one can take it away from you or threaten to take it away from you, abuse you or scare you or control you or manipulate you or try to make you do anything you don’t want to do or what you believe is wrong to do. So, just enjoy every day of your life… and stay single!!!!!

    There is really no need for marriage… just have good friends.. they can’t divorce you or cheat on you or beat you up or leave you or threaten you with things or anything else nasty. But have fun! Make life fun and you won’t be lonely. Believe me, I did it so I know it’s possible.

    Being on your own does not equal loneliness. Being on your own, is peace. Being on your own means you can do what you want when you want without having to answer to someone who isnt God. Being on your own means you can do whatever God wants you to do without someone hindering you. Being on your own means you are never lonely cus you have loads of good friends. Being married equals loneliness cus you don’t have a life and are not allowed to and you can’t do anything without being accused of some lie or other and you have no one to talk to = loneliness :-(

    Being married = misery and totally alone and having no one to talk with. Being married = not being able to have/keep your friends. Being married = loneliness of the utmost degree and despair and misery. Being single = happiness and fun. Being single = being safe from danger of an angry abusive husband. Being single = kids grow up in a nice, happy, safe, peaceful environment. Being single = you can go for days out and not get shouted at or have an atmosphere cus ‘you’ have done something wrong! yeah, like its you! him more like!

    Being single = never being lonely cus you have your kids and you can have all your friends round and they are ace! And then best of all, they go at the end of the night and you don’t have to clean up their mess day after day! How ace is that? :-) Being single = your own space if and when you want it.

    An english woman’s home is her castle… but not if it’s invaded by a husband! Take heed… stay single… or remain single… just be single and keep your friends and never be lonely again!!! :-)

    • Bridg says:

      (CANADA) I totally agree with you. This article assumes that people have not thought about their actions at all. I highly doubt many people think like they will be carefree after. Most people know it will be difficult and they choose it anyways. My ex husband drank every night. In the morning he couldn’t remember anything I said. I was spending too much money to hide my misery. He didnt help me with anything.

      I now have a wonderful man with whom I can do activities and discuss our problems together as adults. Divorce is not easy but not much in life that is worth doing, is.

    • Cary says:

      (AUSTRALIA) Thank you Angela, for your article. It gave me a lot of hope to see someone else with this feeling and how you coped. You definitely encouraged me not to marry again and be happy with what I have and just get on with life. Read further down what I said. Regards, Cary

  3. Mary says:

    (USA)  Thank you Angela :) Women who are going through divorce are scared enough and DO NOT need to be scared even more. I’ve been married 22 years and I’ve tried very hard to make my marriage work but I’m married to a lazy, mean, selfish man who yells all the time. It is an unhealthy and sad situation to be in, and I deserve better! I don’t need to hear that I will be “damaged goods” and that the 1st marriage is “God’s design.” I don’t believe God wants me to go through what I am going through. In the above articled, she got to divorce and get out of HER situation, but it will be wrong for US to? That’s not fair. And by the way, I don’t think it’s possible to be more lonely than what I am now, IN my marriage. Don’t I deserve to live in peace and happiness?

    • Ela says:

      (SOUTH AFRICA) I’ve been married for 16 years and have 2 kids. I had my eldest kid when I was 17. I have regrets everyday of my life. My husband has done everything possible to make me unhappy. From physical abuse to fathering a child that I only found out about recently. My life has been a so unhappy. I feel as if I have weights in my chest, I live my life in fear. I keep forgiving but nothing changes.

  4. carl says:

    (U.S.)  God ordained marriage is a unilateral contract. In the case of marriage, the husband makes a promise to provide marital provisions for the wife, but if the husband does not provide or cannot make these provisions (food, clothes and sex) then he can give his wife a bill of divorcement out of the tenderness of his heart. That is, a wife cannot release her husband because she does not possess him (let the wife not depart…)

    As in all unilateral contracts, only the one who has made payment can release what he has made payment for, in this case, a wife. This falls in line with why the Bible declares that the “Woman was made for the man”. Sadly, many women place their emotions over the will of God and take upon them selves to get a divorce; however, God ordained marriage is not a bilateral contract. In essence, we should not confuse the “rights” given to us by our governments with the will of God.

    • Jenna says:

      (USA) I appreciate your fact-based post. However, if you’re going to use this as an argument against divorce and truly believe that word in the Bible is final and law, that there are no exceptions or adaptations for modern society, please consider carefully other archaic laws:

      Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

      Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9) Have you ever done that?

      If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10).

      If a man sleeps with his father’s wife… both him and his father’s wife is to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:11)

      If a man sleeps with his wife and her mother they are all to be burnt to death. (Leviticus 20:14)

      If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed. (Leviticus 20:15-16).

      If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be “cut off from their people” (Leviticus 20:18)

      Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:27)

      If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)

      People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God (Leviticus 21:17-18)

      Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community. (Leviticus 24:14-16)

      My point is that, logically, you can either: follow the rules/laws of the Bible entirely and judge those who don’t without being a total hypocrite. OR Use the Bible as a moral compass, acknowledge that there are some rules and laws that simply do not apply to our modern world, and let God decide what exceptions are to be made.

      You can’t pick and choose at your convenience and then judge people for doing the same.

    • Kathryn says:

      (USA) Goodness Carl, I see all law and no New testament grace in your post at all. I’m sorry, but men don’t “purchase” women or a contract in America. How is the marriage covenant a “unilateral” contract? It is between God, husband, and wife. I respectfully beg to differ with your unfounded opinion here!

  5. Ronald says:

    (USA)  I lived through a spouse walking out on our marriage 3 times in a 5 year span. I truly believed in the institution of marriage. I have more recently began to understand that there are some things many overlook in marriage. You may be married to someone that has a personality disorder and not even know it. Educate yourself like I did on the various personality disorders out there and you would be surprised at what you find out. Cluster B personality disordered individuals make life a living hell for their spouses. You can love them and do everything you possibly can to make a marriage work but these individuals are distructive by nature. If their manipulations and other tactics fail, they move on.

    I share the responsibility of raising 3 children half the week with their mother. It eats my heart out at the emotional pain and trauma my children have endured. I am a happier person without their mother in the home. It is harder when you have a set of standards and the other person has a set. Your children are the true victims of divorce but in a case like mine, they are better off. I no longer have to live under the roof with someone who won’t help pay bills, won’t speak to me, and deny me love and affection.

    Life as you know it will change once you divorce but sometimes its truly for the best.

    • Kari from United States says:

      Hi Ronald, I agree with you that a personality disorder can create quite a bit of misery in marriage. My husband sees a psychiatrist monthly for his ADD medication, and he has told me that he also has PTSD from childhood abuse, but no one has taken the time to explain to me what this means or how to work with it. Instead, I exist in the relationship as a mental, emotional, and erbal punching bag.

      Requests for joint therapy/counseling are ignored. He is too busy at work to take time to make arrangements, and then says that he doesn’t want to jeopardize his job to take care of these personal issues.

      The writing is on the wall, isn’t it? There really is nothing left for me to do other than get out of the way of a destructive personality. Sad, but true.

  6. Aid says:

    (CANADA, EH) I couldn’t agree with this article more. Let me be clear. I am agreeing with the “impulse divorces” many people are getting. If your spouse is physically abusive or you are in a dangerous relationship, that is a different story. NOTE: your spouse taking your Visa card away because you constantly charge it up buying frivilous things you don’t need is NOT abuse.

    I recently have become divorced. I thought I was prepared for what came afterwards, but I was not. Finances, single-parenting, house work, etc… that was the easy stuff I expected. Long-time friends and family completely walking away was not. Becoming an outcast, was not expected.

    When you marry someone, you hope and pray for their best. When you divorce someone, you get their absolute worst… CONSTANTLY AND FROM EVERYONE THEY KNOW! I’m talking 4 years later. I can’t go to the grocery store without bumping into someone who gives me a dirty look because I’m divorced. There is something I have realized, and the article points this out, but I took it FAR too lightly.

    Divorced people become “damaged goods” in the eyes of many people. As I said, some previous friends and family want nothing to do with me. It’s hard to make new friends, because many people want nothing to do with me as soon as they find out I am divorced. Everybody has drama and pain in their lives, and they just don’t want to deal with more. I’m constantly trying to make new friends, and relationships, but as soon as it comes out that I’m divorced, people give me “the look” and basically step-back and say, “Best of luck with that, have a nice life, my life is crazy enough as is and I don’t need your mess.”

    Impulse divorce as I refer to it, is wrong, and should not happen. Work it out exactly why you are thinking of divorce. Unless it is physical abuse and you are in a dangerous situation, IMHO you should NOT get divorced, and should instead work on your marriage. You will spend MUCH more effort, energy, time and money on a divorce then you will on improving your marriage.

    I am writing this to hopefully change somebody’s mind, so they don’t make the HUGE mistake of a lifetime I did.

  7. Cy says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA) Is it impulsive to want to divorce my husband who cheated on me when I was pregnant and has since then walked out on me and our son twice because he cannot keep his promises and does not like how I react to him breaking these promises? He says he has separated from me because I do not treat him well.

  8. Ray says:

    (USA) I miss my wife so much…I love her with all my heart…

    • Larry says:

      (USA) My wife abandoned our marriage on 11-10-12. I don’t understand how someone can be so in love to get married and then decided they no longer want to be married. I’ve never prayed and cried so much in my life. By the way, I’m not violent. I don’t drink, gamble, or cheat. I treated my wife like a princess from day one. I keep praying for God to take away the pain. Or, show me the switch to turn it off. Still in pain and crying.

      • Paul says:

        (AUSTRALIA) “I treated my wife like a princess from day one.” And there’s your problem right there. Treating any woman -even your wife – “like a princess” results in prompt friend-zoning. No matter the age. No matter how many years. And especially no matter what words she might have said while dressed in white.

    • Jo says:

      (USA) If my ex were to say that to me – I’d run to him with open arms.

      My son just graduated from college. My other son came in from out of state for the graduation. My ex took time off from his job to be there. Even though we were all together for the 3 days, the divorce was a pall over the entire event. I wish it could be 5 years ago. It’s not. I wish the CSW’s I saw encouraged staying together instead of splitting. I wish the Church hadn’t granted the annulment.

      Last night my sons and I went to the movies. The ticket seller (guy) kidded with my sons about how they should be buying my ticket. Asked if they ever helped me out. It was an odd turn from the ticket seller. When we walked away from the window with our ticket, my sons went into defending themselves. I told them that had I heard that once from their dad instead of from a stranger (20 yrs marriage) things might have been different.

      It’s funny that all the real reasons I divorced my ex satisfied clinical reasons for divorce, I’d trade then for now.

      With all the goofy programs and psych assessments padded with “you deserve better’, I think for many of us, we did have better. It’s not worth the unrelenting sadness for the boys.

      So many reaffirmed my decision to divorce that those who told me to suck it up — well, their opinion went to the wayside.

      What I see now is that the divorce was selfish. My only hope is that someday my sons and ex can forgive me for turning their lives upside down … for injuring trust … for placing a hole inside them that will never heal.

      Yeah. I’d change it.

  9. Spence says:

    (UNITED STATES) Some have it mixed up completely. This is not talking down, it’s talking truth. If you are in a deadly situation with a physically abusive, constantly drunken spouse; if you were betrayed by adultery, then yes, you may leave this situation and should immediately move out. However, petty things, like the credit card problems as in the example above, or arguing/name calling in disagreements are not reasons to leave the other.

    I was left after 7 years because we argued too much, and said hurtful things. And she was right, we did. But those problems can be solved, not only that when both take part, how could one possibly leave the other? That is hypocrisy if I’ve ever seen it. People just throw in the towel too soon these days, and one of my theories is the woman of today are having more and more financial independence. In other words, I’ve seen people, or women to be specific, stay in a physically abusive or adulterous marriage simply because, where would they go? Camping in the woods?

    Like me, I’ve also seen the other side where someone who at the moment was too lazy to actually work on making the relationship better through 100%, honest to God effort. This being simply because they had a great education and the thought was more than likely, “Hey, I don’t have to put up with this. I can just go make it for myself, possibly remarry, breaking my eternal promise to God because my feelings are what is important here.” Such is a selfish outlook, especially when the other partner wants it to work. And it would have, because God wants it that way.

    I still love my ex wife deeply to this day, and there is no question I would marry her all over again. But, I have to admit it is so confusing to date someone 5 years through college, be married 7 years, enjoying so many times together, and then see that person leave like they just met you at the gas station and are getting back in their cart to resume their trip. I know this will always hurt. God has helped ease the odson, but the huge void remains, and she is the only one that can fill that void.

    One other thing that always leaves me wondering and sometimes in tears… has she even really missed me? Does she feel a void? Does she remember that the good outweighed the bad 100 to 1? God hates divorce. If you are on the brink, and can say that if a few minor things could be changed or worked out, then please rethink, and work in your marriage. Chances are the partner you are considering leaving feels the same and probably would have you change a few things, as well.

    Our Grandparent’s generation saw divorce as no option, and that is why when they have anniversaries they are 50 and 60 year celebrations. Do you honestly thinks every day was rosy for them? If you do, go try asking one and see what you find out and learn about true marriage and love. S

    • April from United States says:

      Amen to everything you said ;-) My husband & I split up. I realized that I was being lazy and not trying as much as I could! We get lazy in our relationships, but they are worth the extra effort. Especially for our kids! During the split, my relationship w/God became stronger. The split made me realize that I put God on the back burner. Now I see myself loving, forgiving, the way Jesus would. When he makes a mistake from now on, I don’t yell at him & flip out…I come to his level & say its okay, I forgive you.

      If we do the right thing, the rest will fall into place. If your spouse isn’t into going to church or reading the Bible…pray about it. After seeing you be dedicated it’s more than likely they will make out a part of there life also. God bless everyone. I hope he helped me write this for some one to read. Don’t give up & don’t listen to your friends or family’s advice. They aren’t in your situation. No one knows your situation more than God. Ask for His guidance & it’s always best to pray for what is in His will. Let Him take the wheel…what you’ve done hasn’t been working!.

  10. Cary says:

    (AUSTRALIA) I read your comments and I too was upset before Christmas and New Years and it cheered me up, particularly Angela 2010 and some of the other comments. Yes, it’s hard to bring up children on your own but once they grow up you’re really free. I am enjoying the time my son is away for 3 months after finishing uni. I had an awful time. My husband left me for another woman and made 2 other children and took me to court for everything, the house, children and assets. He got half the house and visitation rights after 5 years in court due to his girlfriend.

    I am glad he is gone and I am free, and like Angela I don’t want to get married –just have good friends. Yes, a lot of couples move away and others are frightened to be friends as you are not a couple even here down under. Join a reading group or sports group and discuss other things. I am sick of being with a bunch of women all the time. I like mixed company but don’t want any one’s husband and would never do that, no matter what.

    Just enjoy life, take things one at a time as you have enough to deal with and raise children on your own. The shared custody is really hard on the kids and I don’t agree with it. I see the effect it has on other families and am sad every time I see this. Perhaps it’s because I had to part with the children every second weekend and knew in my heart they were going to a bad environment and I was helpless to do anything. I still wonder today the effect its had on them but I don’t ask as they’re settled, well established, and are role models for the community academically and socially. I put in a lot of work for them, have sacrificied my life, and now I’m going to cash in and have some fun. Cary

  11. Rere says:

    (USA) I am reading some of the comments from the people who vehemently are against this article. I see that they are basing their disagreements on the fact that they were in an abusive relationship, physically, emotionally, married to a man/woman who beat them and was a drunk. I am wondering the obvious –were these signs not there BEFORE you married them? The wise man, Solomon, alluded to people making poor decisions then blaming God for the fruit of their own making. Did you not know he was a drunk before you married him? Marriage is the most important decision one will ever make. Did you pray and ask God if this person was the right one for you? Did you seek Him out daily, giving Him permission to remove this man from your live if he in fact was not God’s idea for you?

    But even if you did not, how can you honestly believe in a loving God, but at the same time not believe He will protect you and save you from an abusive mate? Did He not save His people over and over and over again from oppressive people? Could He not, with a bat of an eye, cause your abusive spouse to not wake up one morning? I have heard of too many stories where a spouse remained faithful to an abusive wife and God Himself fought against the abuser and saved the wife. She did not have to do a thing. And we read this same example in scripture time and again.

    I’m sorry to say, but an abusive spouse does not justify any behavior that is contrary to God’s will for us. First, it may be an indication that you made a decision without seeking God’s approval and He is trying to teach you that. Second, no man, no issue is too difficult for God to handle Himself, if you believe that He will. I am a father. My son right now drives a horribly beat up Hyundai. He is fussing and fussing over how bad it is, how ugly it is, how unsafe it is. This weekend the wheel almost fell off because the rim was warped and two of the lug nuts came off. I know the car is bad. But I am teaching him to appreciate what he has. Little does he know that he has a brand new Hyundai at the dealership waiting for him on Christmas day. If he takes matters into his own hands and tries to finance a new car (though he cannot do that) or throws his hands up and says I refuse to drive anything. Or really goes off the deep end and steals a car. He would have acted before his father could bless Him with what he really needs and deserves.

    God sees your pain, even if you made a bad decision and married someone you KNOW you had no business marrying in the first place. Learn from your mistake. God may be working on that person, creating a new heart in your mate, one that will be soft and loving and understanding. He will protect you from the abuse. What loving mother or father would not protect their child from a bully at school? How much more will your loving heavenly father, who excels in wisdom and strength protect you from an abusive spouse? He will.

    Change your thinking, my friends. God is who He says He is. Believe in Him.

    • losh says:

      (UGANDA) I have been considering divorce after years of an abusive marriage. After I came across your comment I started doubting my decision, but I think unless you have been really in an abusive situation, you can not really understand how hard it is to live being scared of the person who is supposed to be a life partner.

      God himself hates violence, and if this problem is tackled early in the marriage there is a chance of survival, but after years it becomes difficult, but for sure God is able, but it depends on your faith to stand with the abusive person. The devil can use the situation to destroy you and the children, so sometimes God just gives you a clear message that leaving can save your life and the children. God can allow the divorce for the abuser to really see there is a problem. Most abusers do not even know they have a problem, so God can use anything including divorce to win the soul of that person.

      With the abuser the longer you stay, the more they think it’s normal and after many years they do not think it’s a problem, it becomes normal. Only God can change them, and the other person can stay depending on the faith, and same in Church we are told not to divorce, but they do nothing to help you. They put a burden on you that is so heavy to carry on your own. That is why the faith fails sometimes. Pastors should also learn to help people in such situations because it is difficult even as a Christian to deal with it alone.

      Sometimes God does things that are beyond human understanding, including allowing divorce to happen. It should always be the last resort, but instead of judging the person divorcing, and trying to tell the person not to divorce, which is human nature, the Church should just engage in prayer for the couple, and let God do his will. At the end of the day marriage will not take us to heaven out hearts will. Be in a situation where you can serve your God the best. That is what he cares about most. At resurrection we will all wake up as individuals. No one will go as a couple, so it’s God first. Please do not judge other people. It demotivates them; always encourage.

  12. Tony says:

    (USA) To those who question other critical of this article consider this. There are all sorts of misconceptions about divorce and the divorced. For example, I’ve been told by someone if I am divorced I am guilty of sin. Really? So when my wife had an affair, filed for divorce and our church would NOT intervene in her affair, and would not confront her according to Matthew 18 I’m guilty of some sort of sin because I was at the receiving end of this.

    The point is ignorance is not the sole realm of those who choose to divorce. There is ample ignorance in the so-called “Body of Christ” when it comes to dealing with folks who are divorced. Remember, approximately 50% of the divorced people you meet did not choose the divorce.

    When it comes to men, that number is probably closer to 25-33%. Some might make the statement that men have more affairs than women. Really? Who are they having affairs with, other men? Just more ignorance we have to endure.

    So I suspect there are quite a number of divorced folks who really wonder if the church really cares about them. After all, many folks don’t bother to get the facts right. They have already “pre-judged” the divorced. I’d say in half if not more cases, their judgments are off base.

    • Rere says:

      (USA) Amen to that! The sad truth is that the majority of people (church people) are so into themselves that they can care less about what a spouse is going through when the other spouse leaves or is having an affair. Most psychologists agree that the greatest pain a human being can experience stems from a spouse voluntarily leaving their spouse. There is no greater pain. Not death of a child. Not death of a parent. Not death of a spouse. But to know that your spouse has voluntarily left you, turned their back on you, brings the most pain.

      Theologians and physicians have stated that Jesus died, not from the crucifixion, but from a broken heart (the blood and water that came out of His side attest to that). His heart was broken because the weight of the sin of the world caused Him to feel as though His father separated Himself from Jesus. Why church people do not take more interest in people who are separated, I do not know.

    • Tony says:

      (USA) To correct my comment, only 25-33% of divorced men chose the divorce. The majority of divorced men did NOT choose a divorce. Meanwhile, men are no more, nor less sinful than women. Bottom line, I believe a large part if not the majority of those who were divorced and did not choose the divorce are the innocent spouse. Not always, but in many cases.

      Yet it seems all who are divorced are lumped into one category. Life is not so neat and it doesn’t always work out that way.

  13. Gary says:

    (US) I read with great interest the article and comments above. Sorry, this post is long, I hope some of you can get through it. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe God’s will is that we never divorce. Yes, there is an “out” or perhaps “outs” depending on how some interpret the scriptures, but God’s heart is that we forgive, and I think that is only possible if we allow our heart to be changed and softened by God. I was married for nearly 27 years when my wife left me and our 3 kids ages 11, 13 and 17 and filed for divorce after getting into a relationship with a family friend. She was a deeply committed Christian, as was I. Prior to our marriage, neither of us had been involved in any serious romantic relationships. There were no affairs, domestic violence, etc., in our marriage. I was self-employed; she took care of the house.

    Were there frustrations and problems in our marriage? Yes. The pressures of running a small business, 3 children, and all that goes with 2 imperfect people trying to work through this life together did at times seem impossible and we were both miserable and frustrated as well. Did I ever think either one of us would leave and divorce? No, never. I felt the bond between us, the commitment to God and our kids would be important enough that divorce would never be a choice either one of us would make.

    I was wrong. Once I became aware there might be more than casual family friendship between my wife and our family friend, I confronted her and him, both denying it. But… I knew there had to be more. I had let so many thing, anger, frustration, disappointments, etc., build up over the years between my wife and I that my heart had gotten cold. That is the best way I can describe it. Now that my heart has changed I see thing much differently. I did not aggressively try to stop this situation with my wife and friend in the beginning because of my indifference. Not indifference to saving my marriage, I didn’t ever see either one of us divorcing, but indifference to dealing with all the denial, all the “you don’t listen and he does”, in other words all the things I would have to face again about not being good enough.

    Many of her long time Christian friends tried to talk with her before and after she left. She cut them all off stating they were judgmental and didn’t understand her. She became hostile to the use of an biblical reference by anyone tying to point out God’s will for marriage, stating she would not listen anymore to “legalism”, that she now was led only by the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit had revealed to her that 90 percent of what she believe before was a lie I put on her.

    The old saying “true change only comes when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change” is true. I let my heart get cold and I didn’t see it, or perhaps a better word is I didn’t get it. As things progressed, quickly, I did begin to “get it”. I dove into God’s word, seeking Him in prayer, reading the books she had wanted me to on relationships that I was always too busy to worry about, etc. I then noticed something was happening within me, and that was my hardened hart was becoming softer. I was starting to care more for other people and less about work and other things that seemed so important before.

    My marriage was the most important. I was changing, but not quick enough. My wife seemed to become angrier with any changes she saw in me, and accused me of faking the change. I believe she had already committed herself to the other man and getting out of our marriage and that she did not want to face the fact that I could really change.

    After all, she had prayed for change for all these years, and God had not angered her prayers. And in her words to me, she believed the Holy Spirit was now showing her a new way and giving her a new man and a new life to make up for her unhappiness in our marriage. She justified it all as being a gift from God. On the night she told me it was over between us, she told me I had divorced her the day I married her almost 27 years before, but that I had not given her the paperwork. She then held out her hand to me and demanded the paperwork, although she stated it was just a formality. I asked her if she believed we were actually then divorced. She said yes. She told me we were now just “brother and sister in Christ”. All the years of our marriage, she had referred to her love me as the unfailing, eternal love of God. Now she told me she would still love me eternally with the love of God, but just as a Christian “brother”.

    She told me God wanted to make her happy, and that when one looks into the eyes of another, they can see into their soul, and that when she looks into the eyes of her new man, she sees the embodiment of the Holy Spirit Himself on earth. She said that now that she has experienced the “perfect love”, she could never return to me (the imperfect) again.

    I asked her if she would speak with our pastor, and be open to any sort of marriage counseling, etc., but she refused. I still was in denial that she would divorce, as I had been through some deep emotional valleys with her through the years, but nothing this severe. A couple weeks later she left and immediately filed for divorce. She never relented, and would get furious if I tried to suggest in any way I wanted more than anything in this world to work on reconciling our relationship. I spoke with her boyfriend a number of times before she left and he promised me on several occasions he would cut off all contact with her to allow us to work on our marriage, but those promises were all broken within a day.

    I was facing some medical problems and scheduled for a major surgery at this time as well. I felt I had to sell my business, as I could not take care of my kids and all the responsibilities of life, deal with the physical problem, divorce and keep that going as well. I did find a buyer and sold at a fraction of what I would have liked to have gotten, but felt I had to do it. I had to have my wife’s consent to sell, and she immediately received half the proceeds.

    No attorneys were yet involved, as my wife told me if I would agree to what she wanted, we could avoid the lawyers. That was a fast lived fantasy, as our kids were going through a horrible time with the split, her leaving for the family friend they now hated and blamed for the whole mess. Our kid’s hearts and world were shattered. They all now told me God did not exist and all they were taught to believe was a lie, because just look at what mom is doing, it is the opposite of what she told us was right all of our lives, so it all is a lie. Many fights took place when she would visit, the situation was horrible and I had to go to court to get temporary custody orders, which I was awarded.

    This further inflamed my wife’s hate towards me and now all sorts of abuse accusations started coming from her and her attorney against me. I was now accused of being a wife and child beater, an emotional abuser of her and the children, a drug addict, an alcoholic. She then accused me of having an affair, which she told our kids and some of our friends was the reason she had to leave me. A little later she claimed she didn’t want to leave so I threw her out. She claimed I callously stepped over her one night as she lay dying outside on the concrete slab of our porch, and her boyfriend saved her life. The accusations were and are ever changing and still coming.

    Our children wanted to be with me, and all saw her as being unstable and untruthful. They asked me never to allow a situation where they would have to live with their mom and her new man. They now and still do hate him. So here we are, 2 years later having been through about 10 hearings and the divorce trial upcoming. 30 years of hard work and savings, the planning for the future, college funds and retirement, and my children’s hearts, all gone. My wife has never worked during the time we were married; I’ve been the sole provider. I’m ordered by the court to give her spousal support each month, even though she’s living with her boyfriend. A fortune in legal fees and no end yet in site. Two major back surgeries and another scheduled next month. No time to heal which leads to complications which leads to more surgery.

    The oldest child (19) moved nearly a year ago and is on his own. The damage done to my kids and the changes the way this has affected their lives is almost too much to bare. No business, no job to go back to, a decimated family and tough health problems. It is impossible to go on without the grace of God, and He is has been graceful.

    I believe my marriage could have been saved. I believe God’s intention for letting this happened was to bring us both to a point of brokenness, as He brought me, to show us how much we had taken our marriage and all the good for granted, and to change our hearts. I believe we could have had a better and stronger marriage than ever had my wife been willing to try. Anything is possible with changed hearts. Unfortunately, you both have to want the change, and once another relationship is brought into the marriage, it is not likely.

    The bottom line? A situation like mine is like a slow train wreck that just keeps happening before your eyes. You can’t change it, you can’t stop it and it will continue the rest of your life. It’s the most hurtful and destructive thing that could happen to you and your family. It’s pure evil, and Satin is laughing. I could never have imagined the depth of pain and sorrow divorce and the circumstances that come with it would bring. The only hope I have is in the healing, redemptive power of Christ. To all who are contemplating divorce, please take you marriage seriously, it’s a fragile bond, and in the words of Winston Churchill, “never, never give up”! –Gary in California

    • WhatIf... says:

      (USA) I know this was posted months ago but… the thing that stands out to me the most, Gary, is that you were only interested in doing what it would take to save the relationship AFTER your wife was on her way out. Quote: “I dove into God’s word, seeking Him in prayer, reading the books she had wanted me to on relationships that I was always too busy to worry about, etc.”-end quote. It’s like the old saying “you were a day late and a dollar short”… I don’t say this to be mean; I say this because I am in a similar situation.

      My husband and I have been together for 18 years and during that time we have had numerous issues that I have vehemently tried to improve. I say that I have worked at it because he has not been interested in improving anything. A simple phone call once or twice during the week to say hello required too much effort from him. We work long hours and only see each other briefly in the evening- during which time he has no interest in spending time with me.

      I won’t go into great detail here about the issues because my post would be five screens long- I’ll just divulge that a lack of sex, a lack of emotional connection and a lack of communication had left me feeling desperately lonely and starving for some attention from him. The work of maintaining the relationship had fallen squarely on my shoulders and it’s a burden that I grew tired of carrying alone. I’ve prayed about it, bought many books on improving marriage (biblical and secular), asked him to go to church with me, tried to start hobbies that we both could enjoy, etc,etc- nothing worked. If it didn’t involve sitting in front of the computer on Facebook or watching a football game he wasn’t interested.

      Last year I asked him for the umpteenth time if we could please get some type of counseling to help us work through some issues. He looked at me coldly and said “There’s nothing wrong with me. You can get counseling.” The numerous cracks in our foundation suddenly combined to form one big engulfing chasm. I was stunned to say the least. I have not and will not mention counseling to him again.

      Fast forwards to March 2013. I was in tears as I asked him what I could do differently to make him more comfortable expressing his love for me (verbally and physically). I told him he probably doesn’t realize the toll it takes on my self esteem to feel unwanted by my own husband. I said “you probably don’t even realize that some of the things you say or do (or don’t say and don’t do) really hurt.” He said “Yes, I do. I know exactly how frustrated you get. I know how it makes you feel bad about yourself. Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do.” That was it. That was his apology? confession? explanation?

      I can’t exactly explain it but something in me has…changed. I don’t have a desire for him sexually or emotionally anymore. I don’t ask him to go out on dates. I’ve finally gotten used to going to dinner and a movie alone, I’ve done it for years now anyway. The difference is I used to miss him -I don’t anymore. I don’t ask him to come to bed and try to hold his hand anymore. I just don’t have the desire anymore. I’m not mad at him. I don’t hate him. I don’t think he’s a bad person. I don’t want to see any harm come to him. I do what needs to be done as far as going to work, preparing the meals and cleaning the house & laundry. I still treat him well. I do still have love for him. But something is not the same.

      In the past couple of months he has taken me on a few dates. I smiled and tried to be good company but deep down I didn’t want to be there. I would have rather gone out alone. He has initiated sex a few times. I tried to make him feel loved and “manly” but it just wasn’t -just didn’t feel right. Now he wants to call me on lunch break at work and say hello and tell me he misses me. But now his phone call doesn’t mean anything to me. Most of the time I leave the phone off so I can enjoy my break. I don’t know exactly what’s changed. It doesn’t matter what he says or does at this point. It wouldn’t matter if he read every book I ever bought, made love with me every night, called me every hour -none of that would matter because he had years to do it and he chose not to.

      So, Gary, I’m not excusing your wife’s adulterous affair -wrong is wrong. I’m just saying that maybe you waited too late to try to let your wife know how much she meant to you… I hope that’s not too harsh. I hope you find peace and I wish you all the best.

      • Tony says:

        (USA) If you married for life, then why would one ever think their spouses efforts were “too late”? It’s this sort of thinking that guarantees that marriages will not be saved or become what God wants them to be. When your message finally gets through, you give up?

        I feel sad for folks like Gary and his wife. Why? Because he finally gets it. He has his “a-ha!” moment and his wife just may miss him becoming the man she always wanted him to be.

        I see this pattern all the time. One party thinks they are being clear in their message. The other has no idea what they are saying or what they mean. The first party delivers their “final” message, which for whatever reason, ignorance, paying attention, or it’s just such a drastically different message that their spouse finally understands, and then they walk out, have an affair, or just close off their heart when perhaps this is the first time they’ve been ambiguously clear about what they mean.

        Perhaps it’s because this message is in the form of an action, not words. Men, by and large, understand action. So if a woman is talking about a problem, she’s probably not speaking his language. If she takes an action, a-ha!

        In some ways, it really is being blind sided, because for the first time, the wife walking out has delivered a clear, unambiguous message after years of (to him) unintelligible communication. Sad really! She finally learns how to speak his language, and then walks out.

  14. Karen says:

    (AUSTRALIA) I was in a marriage that was emotionally abusive. I stayed in it for nearly 20 years because of the Christian attitude of no divorce. I had counseling for years and did everything I could to pray for and love a man who did not love and cherish me. I had to be repeatedly reminded that I wanted to die because I was living with constant abuse. But I found this very hard to accept because of my entrenched beliefs.

    Thank you Lord that I finally realized that you love me enough to allow me freedom from constant abuse and neglect. My minister mother cried to me on the phone that “it was for freedom that you were set free” in relation to my situation. She and my father accepted and embraced me and my children when we moved out and have never stopped their grace and love. God is good. Christian friends haven’t been able to show such grace and love, but I thank and praise God that he is gracious and tenderhearted and loving.

    How many Christian women are dying inside like I was, sentenced to a life with an arrogant, unloving, controlling, abusive man? I think that this is one of the church’s big secrets. The woman is typically a loving person who nearly kills herself to stay happy and love her man. Then when she has suffered for decades, finally recognizes that she has some choice whether to stay and die, or leave and begin a new life, she leaves, and her husband is felt sorry for and helped by the church and the church ignores the woman. This is more or less my story and I think there are more out there.

    CHRISTIAN WOMEN! YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE NOT SECOND- CLASS CITIZENS! YOU HAVE GOD-GIVEN INTELLIGENCE AND STRENGTH. When you have done everything you can, listen to Gods gracious voice. He might just be saying that you are NOT sentenced and trapped for the rest of your life! HALLELUJAH!

    • Losh says:

      (UGANDA) Amen to that, but I think unless you have been in that situation you cannot really understand what the woman is going through. Only God can because he sees your tears, the others dont, so I just want to believe he allows things like divorce to happen sometimes to save both souls plus the children, and this is beyond human understanding. What matters most is your heart if you will be saved at the end when Christ comes back. It’s difficult to convince humans who believe otherwise but put God first, just repent and move on God knows best and he is the only judge at the end of the day.

  15. Jean says:

    (USA) I’ve been married for 23 years and he finally is agreeing to a divorce. I’m so happy, my grown children are happy. I’m free to live MY life and not someone else’s. I get to hang what I want on the walls, I don’t have to figure out how to fund his trips, or cover his purchases. I can now figure out just what I’m made of and not what I’ve allowed him to make me. Rejoice in your freedom and see that the best is ahead.

  16. H.R. says:

    (USA) I agree with the article, as long as the relationship is not dangerous or abusive. My husband of 17 years cheated on me with one of my married friends a little over a year ago. Before that happened, throughout our marriage, he was emotionally unavailable and I was unhappy and invisible to him most of the time. I never stopped trying or believing our marriage would get better. I prayed all the time, asking God not to give up on him because I know he has a good heart. A little history – his parents divorced and his dad abandoned him when he was just 5 years old. He did not contact his children until they were all grown. They were both alcoholics. He grew up being emotionally neglected and even physically abused by his brother. Much of this abuse I only learned about this year, but some of it I knew early on in our relationship. He did not know God, even though we went to church together, at my request (I did not make him go – he was invited and he went). He swore he would never be like his Mom or his Dad.

    But then he cheated, I found out and confronted him with the evidence. He left us to live in our truck in the middle of winter. He was gone for exactly one month. He continued to see the OW during that month, but the fun had run out of their relationship, because he had to walk away from everything to keep it going. I would not let him be home or feel welcome while he was seeing her. I did offer my friendship all the time, unconditionally and I reminded him that I loved him unconditionally and would be willing to work with him, should he choose to come home and abandon his relationship with her. She had nothing to offer him because she was a housewife with no resources of her own and he did not really want a love relationship with her. It was an inappropriate “friendship” that got out of hand. He was being extremely selfish and stupid. He came to me the day after Christmas 2011, saying he was done with all the evil and bad things he had been doing. I know that God asks us to forgive one another and I knew I still loved him. So I chose God over my pride. Here we are a year later, still working hard to save our marriage. He has been saved this year, baptized in July. He is trying to take a leadership role in our family life, spiritually as well as head of household. It is still difficult at times, because he never took this role before, even though I wanted him to. He has lied about some things during the last year that have delayed our healing. He has seen and felt the damage his continued deception has caused and he is changing every day because I told him if he didn’t change completely, I would not stay in the relationship, but if he would change, I would give him a chance. I am still working on forgiveness and I still have days where I think divorce would be the better option. (This is where I am working on changing me).

    However, the article (in my case) brings truth to light. My daughters would suffer greatly, as would their children since our family legacy would be mutilated, my life would not feel any less lonely, I now have a man who has made some major changes in his life to be a better person and he loves me more than words can say. I believe this, because I see it in his actions daily. He does chores all the time now, he helps with the bills, the kids, anything that needs done, he’s the first to offer. He is there for me when I have my emotional breakdowns, (the painful result of his infidelity).
    My point is, even in what can seem like an impossible situation, God can work and change people, if everyone involved is willing to try and give it time and patience. I am a success story in the making and my husband and I plan to make it. It is not easy, but divorce would be worse, we are both sure of it.

  17. Krissy says:

    (USA) I got divorced Nov. 2012, 7 days before our second year anniversary. We had been through so much and on top of it all he had a child on me causing pain, hurt, humiliation. I filed for a divorce and went through with it. Since the divorce I can’t get him to leave my side; we’re thinking about remarring but I don’t know what to do to make it work this time. Neither of us have a positive marriage to look up to…did I mentioned we’re pregnant again. I’m so confused, someone advise please!

  18. Gem says:

    (UNITED STATES) I have been with the man I married for four years. I have moved out of his house he owns twice now. Every time I move into my own house he eventually comes back and I give in too easily. Knowing that things are not going to change but hoping it will get better between us. The last time I moved back in with him it was a month and we got married. Hoping that would change things for the better that we are married and not single and free when we wanted to be. We are one now. After one month of marriage it went down hill. He filed for divorce and later down the road a month later actually realized that it wasn’t what he wanted so he dismissed that. Not knowing its been six months now and he wants to make a trip to lawyer and finish what he started since it was just on hold.

  19. Robert says:

    (GERMANY) After 22 years of a miserable marriage I’ve finally made the cut. It’s taken many years for me to finally do it, but I’ve done it. I finally told my wife that I want the divorce. I don’t know how we’ll work and manage everything out but somehow someway hopefully we’ll get it done in a sensible way.

    • Tachisagar says:

      (INDIA) Hi stranger….you know what? We Indians are normally known for traditions and culture and restrictions and suffocation…but what I have realised at 38 is that marriage is but a sign on a piece of paper. When I left my husband more than 10 years ago the society I lived in ridiculed me because a woman in my country is not ALLOWED to leave her husband! I’m sorry for intruding in your life like that but all I would like to tell you is that the sense of freedom you get when you sign on those papers is something you will never experience if you are feeling trapped in a marriage…you know at that time even children should not matter. I can understand how suffocated you feel. I don’t know why I am sharing this with you but I left my ex husband with a five year old daughter in my arms…,today she is 15 and both me and my daughter are so happy. I managed to sign in somehow but I am not at all tech savy so this would be the last time you hear from me…just go for it man and have a good life

  20. Tachisagar says:

    (INDIA) Hi guys…getting divorced from my husband of five or six years was the most beautiful thing I ever did. I walked out of my house with my 5 year old daughter, today a lovely 15 yr old. I moved on…got into a relationship with yet another man who was not worth it..from the frying pan into the fire as they say….but yes I am glad I left my husband and there is no two ways about that!

  21. Annah says:

    (BOTSWANA) I do not know what to say but totally agree with you that being married sometimes its a nightmare though God intended for us to enjoy and find happiness in marriage. It is a sacred institution that we should be willing to get into, but with our selfishness as human beings we end up making other people suffer by being abusive and making their life a living hell. If it’s not cheating, it’s abuse verbally or physically. God have mercy on us.

  22. Velvet says:

    (US) Do not take my words wrong…I in no way wish to end my own life but wish my life would just end. I find no pleasure in it for some time now, every step forward has been being followed by 2 steps back. I am and have always been a strong person, I don’t want to cause pain to any one, I just have had enough and am ready to say my life has been good enough may I please just get off now.

  23. Gregg says:

    (USA) For what it’s worth, my thoughts: I understand the anger, panic, abandonment, and feelings of being trapped that lead many people to divorce but there are always two sides of any coin. Let us explore the “other side”. The scars may never truly heal, and the tearing of the flesh may never mend itself totally, but God nor anyone else ever promised a perfect life for any of us. He did not hand me that ticket when he sent me to this place we call earth. Our own challenges are what make us who we are and few will ever look into the darkness they have helped to create and ask themselves “who am I”. Rather love is a choice and a commitment that in this day, my perception is that most feel they are entitled, with no due effort. God’s wishes for us may not take away the pain but that may be his challenge to us for growth.

    An abusive marriage is quite a different story and no one should ever be dishonored in that way. There’s a time to stand strong and be patient, pick yourself up and gain insight and strengths that will follow you always. It can be done although few seem to try. There will often be one heartbreak or another because that is just life, and the human experience we must tread to find our own path to ourselves first. That field of green grass on the other side of the fence? Make sure the devil isn’t playing golf there.

    Marriage is a choice, and even though mine is failing, I would not have made a different choice for I would not have experienced what life has to offer and learned what I had learned. I’ve never prayed and cried so much in my life but those feelings need to surface for all of us or we have never really lived or felt alive. There can be no good without bad, no hot without cold and nature upores a vacuum. We can keep praying for God to take away the pain, but we have the power to do that ourselves if we would just try and first take a long look at ourselves.

    This seems to be a throw away nation. If we have an argument lets get a divorce. If we don’t get the right hamburger from McDonalds lets get a divorce. People should try a little harder before throwing in the towel and uprooting so many lives and emotions because of their own internal selfishness. At least then, we can say we tried with all our heart and sole. The human heart is the most fragile thing in the cosmos. Easy to destroy, but so difficult to repair. The mental note of not trying will catch up to us in the form of regret if we don’t use it. It will find us no matter where we hide or for how long.

    • Jo says:

      (USA) I really liked your post. I guess all the really solid reasons for my divorce just don’t seem important any more. It was news to me when the counselor told me I was being abused. I don’t know. St. Ignatius had something interesting to say about one’s state in life –stay there. Nothing is perfect. With God’s grace we endure.

      Suffering isn’t wasted as long as we offer it to God. Still, divorcing seems to be trading one set of problems for another.

  24. Frank says:

    (USA) I sincerely hope that God will bless many of us again, that want so much to find the right person to spend the rest of our life with. I am one of so many men that certainly hates being alone again, especially after my wife of fifteen years cheated on me.

  25. Lizbeth says:

    (NIGERIA) My first husband was abusive emotionally and physically. I stayed for four years praying hard to God to change him and show him the light. After four years I had enough and filed for divorce. We had a four year old daughter who was highly affected by all this but with time she adjusted and got used to living with mommy. We were so happy. With my daughter, I bought a nice house, got a good job and really enjoyed life.

    I then met a man after a year whom I thought I was a loving and caring man. He gave me everything I needed meaning, love, attention, companionship, sex etc. We decided to get married after two years. I prayed to God before I met my second husband to give me a man who would treat me well as I had experienced being in a bad marriage. Therefore when he came along, I really believed God had answered my prayers. I fell pregnant with my second child 8 months after the marriage.

    Then I started seeing this other side of him I never knew existed. He literally did everything in his power to avoid me, came home late, spent time with friends, denied me sex for over nine months, cheated on me, was always drunk and never spent time with my daughter. I thought things would change after giving birth to our son but he just got worse. Hardly a week from hospital he was gone for the whole weekend partying with girls and was never apologetic about it. I found condoms in his bags but he never came forth with the truth. I told him I wanted to leave as I really had a painful pregnancy without his support and now that the baby is too small, I can’t deal with the stress. I tried talking to his friends and his family to talk to him as I had failed in trying to show him the light but they also failed because he’s very stubborn.

    Three months ago he started displaying this I don’t care attitude by coming home in the early hours every single day! When I confronted him, he became furious and decided to move out, stopped all credit cards and petrol cards so as to make me miserable. He asked me to resign when I fell pregnant so I’m at his mercy financially. After all this, I decided to file for divorce as I don’t know where he lives, he doesn’t care about my daughter and our 3 month old son. He has now become bitter and threatens to destroy me. It’s going to be a messy and ugly divorce.

    I really wish that I never remarried. I was so happy with my daughter and he came into our lives just to make us miserable. He says he’s selling the house and I should move out. I don’t know what I’m going to do with two kids and no job. I’m a Christian, I love God but I still don’t understand why God would allow this to happen to me for the 2nd time, especially after I had requested him to give me a good man.

  26. Klara says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA) I dated a man for 7 years before we tied the knot. We’d both worked exceptionally hard to get where we were and secure a great future. Just before we were married I had an affair with someone I rejected in the past. I never told my husband because I felt the marriage was over and it was going to end anyways so I’d spare him that part however he found out. I ‘fell in love’ with this other person who was not even in the same country. We kept in touch but there were no promises and eventually we ended it. I was always in a state of confusion between the two because I did love my husband but I felt lonely when he went away and worked long hours. I had no friends or family around and was often just left alone. We decided after two years to end it and I flew back home to SA but could not tell my parents as they would be so disappointed. I went back and asked if we could try and we started going for counseling but he could never get over me cheating. Eventually he decided to make it work but the travelling started again and we did not resume counseling, it first got better then worse. A year later we did divorce. He said he would spend time working on himself and his business but even before the divorce was finalized he started seeing someone else.

    I moved back to SA and had the space to reflect. For the life of me I could not understand why I did what I did with someone I rejected in the past. My husband was the man of my dreams, there has never been a better person. Did I choke, what happened? I am a well respected and controlled person and if you told me a few years back that this is what I would do, I would not believe it myself. Now I realise that turning to someone else was the worst decision of my life. I made a huge mistake and sabotaged everything I’d worked so hard for, for so many years. now someone else will have the man of my dreams, the fruits of my labour and the kids and home I will never have. Being in a long term relationship or having kids is the only opportunity in your life that you have to see your flaws and work through them. I had that opportunity but didn’t take it or face it head on. My husband and I are both not communicators of our emotions and just never talked about the stuff that was making us unhappy. We also could not really speak to our families and he was not religious so there was no support. We confided in no one so no one could help us. I regret not seeking the help and making it really work. When we decided to make it work, we assumed it would work on its own instead of learning about what we needed to change and making those adjustments and taking a deeper look at ourselves.

  27. Maggie says:

    (USA) I was married for 7 years, separated for a year and a half. We still talk everyday, he sends me pictures of our dog. That used to infuriate me. Now I look forward to it. I’ve been in a new relationship for about 8 months, and I’ve finally realized that what I thought were problems in my marriage, were really not bad, fixable really, though we spent a year in counseling that was mostly based on blame.

    I’m the one who is dragging their feet with the divorce. He a good guy, someone I will always be able to depend on. But my fear of being hurt is bigger than I ever imagined. His parents got in the way a lot. He never completely left their nest and that was a huge problem. I’m not sure what to do from here. I’m afraid to hurt him if I ask him to try again and I am in a relationship with someone else. Please dont judge, I had my daughter when I was 22 and never felt that I had my own life. I have been seeking that. And I’m getting there. I’m not completly sure he’s my true partner and I’m very confused. This is the very first time I’ve admitted all of this, even to myself…

    • Tony says:

      (USA) Maggie, Let’s get this up front, we are all sinners, so I’m no better than you, lest you think you are being judged. So let’s gather some facts and see if they add up:

      1. Still married, 8 and 1/2 years now.
      2. In a new relationship while still married.
      3. Dragging your feet on your divorce.
      4. By your own assessment, no major problems, only minor ones that could be fixed.
      4.5 Then you call his parents a major problem.
      5. Husband is a good guy, one you can count on.
      6. Afraid of hurting him.
      7. Afraid of being hurt.
      8. Says you’ve never really been on your own, yet you’ve jumped from one man to another.

      I guess I have to wonder why you’re not willing to simply honor your vows. The problems are workable, even his problem parents. Going from one man to another really isn’t being on your own, so divorcing your husband and entering a relationship with another man doesn’t really address that stated concern.

      You’ve already hurt your husband by saying you would be his spouse for life and then walking away from that is probably the most hurtful thing you can do. Staying in your marriage, honoring your vows is probably the most loving thing you can do.

      Devote as much time to thinking about this as you do to feeling about it. Seems you really don’t have very good reasons to divorce your husband. There are things he could probably do better. But as you say, no major problems, so why not work on those.

      How long will it take to train a new man, or to find out that he too has flaws and things that drive you crazy, and that you still really are not on your own? Being on your own isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. My mom worked one or two jobs, usually evenings and midnights, so I’ve been essentially on my own since I was 13 or so. Well, I’m married. The point is, if being on my own was so great, then why are you in a relationship? I don’t think we are meant to be on our own.

      Finally, how on your own can you be with a daughter to raise? Please, think about it. Seems your choice to divorce addresses very few of your stated concerns.

  28. Jo says:

    (USA) If marriage isn’t “forced” due to pregnancy, arranged, or other, that comment that God’s first pick is the bulls-eye — well, I agree. I’ve been told that at the 5 year mark, I’ll start feeling better. I don’t.

    It’s true that my ex was always too busy to go to counseling, didn’t seem to want to work on the marriage –all the problems were on my side. With that said, I’d read self help books ad nausea-um pre divorce and don’t want to look at a one post divorce. I almost think that divorce may have resulted out of the books’ premise. The premise that “I deserve…” (fill in the blanks). I deserve to have it all… I deserve to have nice clothes… I deserve to have flowers… I deserve to be treated like a princess (whatever…). It’s a fact, in my life anyway, that the divorce caused a perpetual funeral sense. My ex hasn’t remarried, and I never will. I will never date, I will never go out –maybe it’s because I still feel married after 20 years with 2 sons.

    I guess all I wanted was for my ex to treat me as St. Paul states in scripture -for a husband to love his wife like his own body. To love a wife like Christ loves his Church. Maybe St. Paul was talking about a perfect love -or attaining to that love. Modern psychology has so perverted intimate culture selfishness has taken over. I hope the girls coming up today don’t base their marriages on an episode of Bridezilla or Oprah.

    My life now is filled with errors. I moved from a lovely area to a rural area (trying to get away from folks in my old neighborhood). It’s isolating. Makes me want the old life.

    For those who have commented that people just up and throw the marriage out –mine lasted for 23 years. It was a tough road, but for the sadness it’s created, I’d go back to being satisfied with going to the grocery store together, having coffee in the morning. Having the boys talking and laughing. There just isn’t that laughing when we all get together. Pop culture would have us all believe that it’s about extravagant 20 year vacations, eating out at fancy places once a week. Uh uh. It’s about doing the laundry and folding the underwear, and vacuuming because the most important people in your life -and the head of the most important people in your life are going to walk through that door and say, “Hi. What’s for dinner?”

    Yup. I miss it a lot. I’d have it back with all the imperfections -with all the no shows, late from work, yelling about the check book ….then making a cup of tea and night and scratching his head while we watched some stupid western.

    I ask for God’s forgiveness; my sons’ forgiveness; my ex-spouse’s forgiveness. It’s a terrible thing to know that that contentment was once an every day event, and it will never return.

    Unless you’re being beaten –do something else, but don’t divorce. Save your marriage at all costs. Pray! Ask for the intercession of the Saints …ask for prayers from your friends …spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament –anything! Do not give up!!! It ain’t really any better on the other side of divorce. The devil makes it look better, that’s all.

Marriage Missions International