My posts for today and Wednesday are a bit outside of what I usually do here, but very much in line with my passion for seeing marriages become strong and healthy.
We know divorce is rampant in our society. Social scientists have show divorce is contagious: if a friend or a friend of a friend gets divorced, your odds of divorce increase. The more divorce in your circle of acquaintances, the more you’re in danger. This is particularly true for your place of worship.
I’m not suggesting we avoid, shun, or excommunicate anyone who divorces. Sometimes divorce is biblically allowed and sometimes it’s the only safe choice. Even when a divorce “shouldn’t” have happened, we are called to extend love and grace.
That said, we can and should fight divorce in every way we can. Fighting divorce among those you know isn’t just good for them, it’s good for your marriage too.
One big issue, and I think it’s even more difficult for women, is the reality we may be putting our friendship on the line when we try to help a friend avoid divorce. The desire to affirm a friend in her struggles can easily become or come across as agreeing her husband is horrible and she would be better off single. This can happen even if it’s not what you think. Challenging a friend to work on a difficult marriage isn’t fun for either of you. Trying to balance her view of her husband may cause a friend to distance herself from you. It’s hard to say, “I know you can work it out” or even “you need to find a way to work it out” when it’s not what your friend wants to hear.
Divorce is a very painful and destructive thing. Even when it’s biblically allowed, it’s horrible. Even when it’s necessary for the safety of the wife and/or kids, divorce leaves life long scars. Divorce for anything less than no other choice is like getting a leg amputated for a stubbed toe! None of us would “stand by and support” a friend looking to get their leg cut off when there were other options. Let’s see divorce as just a drastic and act accordingly.
Some good news you can share: studies* find the majority of those unhappy with their marriages feel happier in a few years if they stick it out. On the other hand, most who divorce feel less happy in a few years, regardless of if they remarry. If happiness is the goal, then the odds say stay married.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife’s second husband. While I think she made the right choice, I’ve seen how much it hurt her and her daughter.
* Does divorce help adults become happier? from Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out? by Dr. Alan J. Hawkins, Ph.D