I want to alleviate any chance that I promote divorce as solution or quick-fix. I can only describe experiencing divorce like trading one set of trouble for a different set of trouble. Afterall, the Bible did say we would have trouble in this world, there is no avoiding it. Learning to accept discomfort, trouble and hardship part of maturity. Divorce is not an escape from that.
As a follower of Christ and His word as set out in the Bible, I understand the acceptable reasons for divorce as 1) adultery and 2) abandonment including when 3) an unbelieving spouse wants out of the relationship and finally 4) breaking of marriage vows including abuse. There are many variations of these which must be interpreted. Does emotional abandonment count? What if the adulterer is repentant? How do we handle cases of mental illness where abuse may be unintentional? At what point does adultery take place, since Jesus said to lust is to commit adultery? It's all so very complicated and I've included some verses below if you are interested in these. However, I want to share from a human, personal perspective why I would say to any friend that if at all possible, stay married. Fight for your marriage, fight for the history you share and for the future you dreamed when you took your vows.
Still, I have first-hand knowledge that even when you've done everything you know to do, things unravel.
- Divorce will diminish your standard of living and may catapult you into poverty.
- Grieving happens at a deep and guttural level.
- You will analyze your relationship history for clues and wonder what was real? when did it get so bad?
- Insecurity will wrap around your confidence making decision making a challenge.
- You will doubt yourself.
- The ability to trust is damaged and a cynical note takes up residence in your heart. Disappointment is the new expectation.
- You will face decisions without a partner who has a vested interest in the outcome.
- You will experience change and stress. The complete implosion of the life you had and imagined for your future will create a void that you will need to fill.
- If you have children, you will spend less time with them because of additional work and time with the other parent.
- The time you do have with your children may be more stressful because of the demanding and repetitive nature of parenting without a partner.
- In most cases, you have less say in the lives of your children as you no longer hold influence over the other parent.
- Loneliness is real.
- Your understanding of God will shift.
Often I feel like a great deal of my personal history is just lost, or disappeared because the person with whom I shared that is no longer in my life. There are moments when I interact with the father of my children that I catch a glimpse of the normal that could-have-been and it causes grief. It completely catches me off guard, and makes me uncomfortable, so I avoid it.
There are so many layers to grieve when marriage-ties are broken.
I am happier now than at any time in my life. There is peace. There is joy! I have never been so loved. Still, I tell any person that divorce is not the way to get their joy and love. Divorce is one of the most painful experiences of my life. I'm thankful for today yet would fight for the marriage I had the first time again and again.
Other words on the subject here and here. And I firmly believe that part of the mystery and wonder of God is how he uses sinful disobedience to accomplish great good...making all things work for good. (Rom 8:28). Have you experience positive results from a negative situation? Has your view of divorce changed if you experienced one?
Academic Study on Divorce & Christians: What God Has Joined