Did you grow up in a home damaged by divorce? Are you concerned that your own marriage might end up in the same situation? Or maybe you’re just plain scared to marry because you see divorce all around you. These are valid concerns we’d like to address. Above all, please know that the divorce cycle can be broken.
Most people don’t realize this. But author John Trent learned this personally. He lived through it in his growing up years. And later he learned how to break the divorce cycle in his own marriage. He even wrote about it in the book titled, Breaking the Cycle of Divorce: How Your Marriage Can Succeed Even If Your Parents’ Didn’t. To learn from Dr Trent’s experience, here’s a portion of what Dr Trent writes:
The Divorce Cycle
You hope for a strong and lasting marriage. But as an adult child of divorce, you can’t escape the nagging fear that your marriage will fail—just as your parents’ marriage did.
Growing up, you never had the benefit of seeing a loving, committed marriage modeled for you. So it’s hard to figure out what that should look like. And the wounds you suffered when your parents’ marriage ended make it difficult for you to trust other people, and even God. Despite your struggles, however, you’re not doomed to divorce. You can break the cycle and build a healthy marriage. Here’s how:
Embrace the love that will never abandon you.
Understand that, while people might let you down, God will come through for you. Accept the love that He offers you. He offers unconditional love that you can count on, no matter what. If you haven’t already, begin a relationship with God through Christ. Make it a top priority to build a closer relationship with God each day. [If you need further direction on this issue go to our web site. There you’ll find a number of web links to ministries and organizations, like the one we’re providing, where you can find answers.]
Know that you have a choice.
Recognize that you aren’t a powerless victim. Know that what happened to your parents doesn’t have to happen to you. You aren’t a slave to your past. Decide to choose to respond to your circumstances in ways that will lead to a positive future.
Face your fears.
Take your fears out of the dark (lurking in your imagination). Instead bring them into the light by talking about them openly with your spouse. Pray about them specifically rather than just worrying about them. Seek and accept help from a close friend or a professional counselor to confront stubborn fears.
Focus on positives instead of negatives.
Ask God to renew your mind and help you reprogram your thinking about your marriage and life in general so you’re more positive than negative. Write several lists: one that lists ways you and your spouse are not like your parents. Also write one that lists ways your marriage is not like your parents’ marriage. And write one that lists your spouse’s strengths and positive attributes. Then post your lists in prominent places in your home or car where you can see them every day to remind you.
Take small steps toward a big difference.
Don’t worry about trying to make huge strides of progress in a short time. Recognize that that is unrealistic. But be encouraged that making small, steady steps toward breaking bad habits and establishing good ones will eventually lead to a significantly more positive life for you. Focus on one issue at a time. And keep stepping out as God leads you to do so.
Find an accountability partner.
Ask God to lead you to someone who will hold you accountable as you make changes for the better in your life. Consider a friend, family member, clergy person, or counselor. Meet with your accountability partner regularly to honestly share your thoughts, feelings, and recent behaviors. Know that support from a relationship like this can be a great source of encouragement and help to you.
Seek professional help when you need it.
If you aren’t making progress on your own in dealing with tough issues, don’t hesitate to get help from a professional counselor. Schedule some strategic sessions so the counselor can coach you through the issues. Realize that just a few short meetings can benefit you.
Rely on God’s power rather than your own.
Don’t try to wrestle with your struggles on your own. Instead, invite God to work in and through you, empowering you to handle everything that comes your way. Trust that whenever you ask for His help, He will respond —day by day, and moment by moment.
Find a healthy marriage model.
Look around for couples who have healthy marriages. Then choose one to ask if you can build a friendship with them and study how they interact with each other. Know that observing a good example of marriage can give you: hope that marital commitment can endure for a lifetime. It can give you the expectation that commitment will endure for a lifetime. You can learn specific ways to relate to your spouse in healthy ways and build up your marriage. And you could discover ways to resolve conflicts without destroying your relationship with your spouse.
We all know of people around us that have been negatively impacted by divorce. By sharing this article written by John Trent with them you are showing that you are taking a stand. You also want to help them take a stand to break any generational curse of divorce that may be prevalent. Keep in mind that it only takes one couple to start a “revolution” of positive change. God wants it to be YOU!
Steve and Cindy Wright
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