DIVORCE: Who ties the knot planning to divorce? No one! In this honest, caring post on divorce recovery, Donna Hart, PhD, shares lessons from her divorce recovery seminars. We pray you are blessed. Visit Donna’s website to see more articles in her series (Edited for length. –Ed.)
The number one question you are probably asking is: “Will this pain ever go away?”
If you’re asking that question, you’re not alone; many people facing divorce ask that question. When a relationship ends in divorce, the mass of potentially depressing emotions can wreak havoc in your life and your children’s lives. This is especially true for the person who didn’t want the relationship to end.
But for the Christian, there is a very good answer to this question. Yes! Your pain will go away in time.
For a Christian who is willing to do what the Bible says, the heartache will be healed. The more of God’s Word you implement, the sooner the anguish will stop. Through this study, you are going to learn specific things you can do to ease the pain and help yourself heal from the pain of divorce.
Does the thought of healing seem impossible to you right now?
Know this: all things are possible with the Lord (Matthew 19:26).
Power of Prayer
The best place to begin the healing process is always with prayer. But what should you pray for?
- That God will change your heart
- Confession of any self-centeredness or of a failure to love God
- Thanksgiving to God for His attributes
- That God will give you a greater desire to please Him than to get over your sorrow
You can continue to pray this way until you have the assurance that the Lord has answered. You will know He has done so when you find in your heart a willingness to endure this trial–for as long as it takes–to produce genuine godliness in your life.
You will understand the things you can do as well as those things you should not do–to help you let go of negative feelings as quickly and righteously as possible. Healing righteously is critical because you can battle your sorrow in sinful ways (such as reminding yourself what a “turkey” your former spouse was). But you will end up in more misery, often for a long period of time. And you will displease God in the process.
If you are a Christian, by the power of Christ in you, you can recover and heal from divorce God’s way. The Bible will show you how to respond to the misery in a godly way, the Holy Spirit will lead you, and we will give you encouragement along the way.
We pray you will learn how to deal with the overwhelming feelings that you may be carrying that are preventing you from getting on with your life. Our prayer is that God will bless you as you respond to your trial by depending on His Spirit and His Word.
Meeting You Where You Are
Perhaps your marriage has already ended in divorce. Or, your marriage may be coming to an end.
In cases where a divorce has not yet been finalized, the believer has a wider scope of responsibilities to consider.
- What can be done to save the marriage?
- Is church discipline an option?
- To what extent should one seek pastoral, marital, and legal counsel?
- How can I minister to my children during this time?
- If the marriage ends in divorce, how can it end with minimal sin in the process?
The breakup of a marriage involves the tearing of the one-flesh relationship. There is no relationship as intimate as marriage. As a married couple, you and your spouse may have experienced a level of companionship that exceeded every other human relationship in life (Gen. 2:24).
You shared a bed, a home, food, money, dreams, goals, desires, feelings, fears, struggles, and even your bodies. And the end of that one-flesh relationship has many painful consequences – including feelings of loneliness, lack of ability to share deep feelings with someone, loss of friendships, and even loss of a part of yourself. But here is the good news: God’s Word offers hope and help for the intense loneliness and sorrow that comes with divorce.
More Pain Provokers
There are other issues unique to divorce that can seem like continual ripples of pain, including:
- Guilt over having failed in your marriage.
- Uncharitable judgments from well-meaning Christians who view divorce as an almost unpardonable sin.
- Unloving attitudes from self-righteous individuals who treat you as a second-class citizen in the body of believers.
- The loss of friends as they avoid you because they can’t handle conflict.
Recuperating from divorce will require total dependence on God, His grace and mercy. A Christian has the Lord’s unlimited resources. You have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16), and He will get you through this trial.
Normal energy distribution for humans includes the equal balance of the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual. When a divorce occurs, the emotional component is out of balance and requires an enormous amount of energy, which can leave you feeling tired and depleted, with clouded thinking, unable to make decisions.
Is this what you have been experiencing?
Who Will Console You?
Scripture teaches us to draw near to God – in all circumstances. Proverbs 14:14 gives us a warning of the danger associated with allowing our hearts to draw away from God’s resources:
The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways.
If you allow yourself to be consoled with unbiblical, negative, selfish, worldly thoughts, you will be filled with your own ways, which means your misery will increase. You must depend on God’s solutions and resources to get you through this difficult time in your life.
Read Isaiah 55:6-9 (NASB):
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’
God’s ways and God’s thoughts must become your ways and your thoughts. You need to examine your thoughts and motives so that you can be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).
Our problem is that we listen to ourselves rather than talking to ourselves. When we go through trials, it is easier to just put our minds in neutral and listen passively to our hearts rather than fighting the thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.
Are you a listener or are you a talker?
Think About It
- Are you spending too much time allowing your mind to dwell on the past or worrying about the future?
- Are you focusing your thoughts on what God has given you today?
- Are you listening to the lies your flesh tempts you to believe?
- Do you speak truth to your heart, knowing that God had given you all the resources necessary to “fall out of love” biblically?
Memorize: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)