Sunday, September 13, 2009

Before You File for Divorce


...understand that the constant prayer of your children will be, "God, please bring my mom and dad back together again." Please don't give them a reason to say that prayer.

13 comments:

reborn1995 said...

and what to do when one of you was hellbent on divorce and the other wasn't and now it's too late?

Terry said...

Reborn,
Thanks for the comment.

My post is aimed at preventing divorce and helping couples to think about the effects of it on their children, so I did not address several related topics.

But you bring up an important point. God is merciful to people who cannot prevent an unnecessary divorce; and he offers forgiveness to those who pursue an unnecessary divorce upon their repentance.

However, even with mercy and forgiveness, the negative effects of a divorce can linger for decades and even generations. I would like to stop divorces before they happen, so that people will not be harmed by them.

Still, it is important to say that mercy and forgiveness can be found in Christ.

I appreciate the opportunity you gave me to make that point clear.

Anonymous said...

I didn't, but probably should have. Please realize, sometimes it's more damaging to stay together. Sometimes it is necessary to leave. Fear shouldn't be the reason to stay.

Terry said...

Often I have heard people say that a divorce would be better for the children. However, I have very, very rarely seen that to be the case. If your spouse is raping your children, obviously you have an obligation and a right to divorce your spouse. However, if your family life is tense, you have an obligation to try to work it out...not only an obligation to your spouse and your children, but an obligation to Christ. As he said, "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:9). He cares about marriage. He takes it seriously. The Scriptures compare Christ's relationship with his church to a husband's relationship with his wife. The Scriptures portray marriage as valuable.

Christ also cares about children. Immediately following his instructions on marriage and divorce, he told his disciples, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them" (Mark 10:14). There is a connection between preserving a marriage and caring for children.

I don't want to seem harsh toward those who are facing problems in their marriages, but I want to encourage couples to work to save and to improve their relationships. Early next year, I hope to conduct a contest on this blog in which I will give the winner free tickets to FamilyLife's "A Weekend to Remember" marriage conference. It is held at different locations throughout the USA every spring. I want to be able to help couples to have stronger marriages.

I should add one more point. I have not written about divorce from a child's perspective in the past simply because it is very personal to me. I was a child of divorce. I know the child's perspective. I know that parents have been told that they need to take care of themselves and that the kids are resiliant. But what they have been told is damaging. Don't expect children to be stronger than adults. Whatever hurts the parents will hurt the children as well. Yes, both can recover and go on to enjoy good lives. But it will still make a significant negative impact on the children. It will affect some more than others, but it will affect them in a negative way even in the best of situations.

Child of Divorce said...

Yes, children suffer from divorce. (No one wins in divorce.) They will pray for their parents to get back together, but I can't imagine God supports abuse OR religious leaders who guilt women into staying in abusive relationships and empower abusive men. Yes, a child will grieve over the divorce of their parents, but is it more difficult than grieving over the death of a parent? I think not.

Terry said...

Child of Divorce,
"If your spouse is raping your children, obviously you have an obligation and a right to divorce your spouse." You may have missed that line in my response in which I opposed abuse.

reborn1995 said...

Actually, James Dobson is very fond of pointing out that statistically children recover from the grief of the loss of a parent by death much more quickly than by divorce.

Terry said...

Thanks, Reborn!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Reborn, I am presently witnessing children grieving firsthand. I'm not convinced it's easier. Let's just end by saying BOTH divorce of parents and death of parents are very devastating to children.

reborn1995 said...

If "death" in these comments has thus far referred to an abusive spouse killing the other spouse, then that's not what i was referring to at all--nor was James Dobson. Dobson says that children of deceased parents (who died of health problems or car crash or other tragic-but-not-sadistic causes) psychologically cope better in the long run than children of divorced parents *statistically.* That claim means there are exceptions. And by no means does that claim mean that either experience is easy or simple to cope with.

i know that abusive situations are being mentioned, and yes, those do occur with alarming and horrifying frequency. But with a 50% divorce rate in my own state (and that number sadly includes me), that number is full of situations that have nothing to do with physical/sexual/emotional/verbal abuse; but rather a lot of people who were simply selfish, decided to cheat, left their families, thought the grass-would-be-greener, blamed their spouse rather than took responsibility, believed they're entitled to have things the way they like it all the time and nothing should ever be hard or challenging or demand sacrifice, etc. etc. etc. Now given *those* sorts of childish situations, surely its not implausible to think that such behavior puts a kid through some degree worse in the long run than if a loving, caring parent perished tragically, is it?

i don't think it's a sick tool preachers use to guilt people into staying in dangerous situation. it's a statistical fact used to confront very selfish and childish and hard-hearted people so they might just see that what they're considering is not 'no big deal' as a lot of contemporary culture would have us believe (none the least of which are "$300-plus-30-days" divorce lawyers). Those kinds of people need to learn that it's *their* job to be the grown ups and suck it up and live with the decisions they made and own up with integrity to their vows rather than childishly insisting on getting their own way and forcing their children to be grown ups by taking on emotional challenges no child should have to face.

Terry said...

Anonymous,
I'm sorry to learn of the death of your spouse and your children's other parent. If I can help and you live in the Tulsa area, please let me know. Some churches and funeral homes in the area have grief support groups that you may find helpful. If you need some help paying bills or providing groceries, the Contact Church of Christ may be able to help. I don't know exactly what you may need, but I will try to help if I can.

Terry said...

Reborn,
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your commitment to trying to prevent divorces, too. It's good to see someone who has been through it trying to prevent others from going through the same thing. You know the pain and have the compassion to attempt to save others from getting hurt by divorce as you have been. I admire that.

Anonymous said...

Reborn, Thanks for the clarification. I understand and agree. Divorce seems to (sadly) be an easy "solution" for far too many.

Terry, We're doing fine. Thanks though.