Hi dear friends. This blog has been on my heart to write for such a long time. I had actually written a blog on this subject a while back but just didn’t feel the peace to post it, so I scrapped it and am starting again. I know what I want to say but have just found it hard to articulate because I don’t want to sound too negative or condemning…but I do just want to be REAL about the true cost of divorce because sadly marriages are dropping like flies, families are being destroyed and children are being broken. It’s heartbreaking.
Although I have been divorced, I am in no way an advocate for divorce. This blog isn’t necessarily about the morality of divorce but I truly understand why God says He hates it. I guess what I really want to say is DIVORCE SUCKS! It doesn’t matter whether you think you are in the right or wrong, whether you chose to leave the marriage or that choice was made for you…divorce comes at a very high cost, with long-lasting consequences for all involved. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Now of course, God is amazingly kind and faithful. He heals, restores and gives new beginnings in His time when we surrender our lives to Him. But after a marriage break-up there are still natural everyday repercussions that we sometimes have to live out. God doesn’t magically make everything go away! Divorce is not something that we just get over and move on from…the aftermath can be difficult and the complications on-going, especially if you have kids.
Here’s some truths about the blunt reality of divorce… It’s overcoming your own grief, pain, rejection and shame of a failed marriage. It’s navigating your kids through the rollercoaster of emotions and the many various and precarious situations that arise…at the very least until they’re adults. It’s splitting birthdays, Christmas’s, and holidays year after year after year. It’s missing out on special occasions and milestones with your kids. It’s parenting alone, feeling lonely, isolated and often exhausted. It’s dying to self to put your kids needs first. It’s remembering that your ex is not your children’s ex and enabling them to have a healthy relationship with the other parent without guilt or feeling torn, even though you might be hurting like crazy. It’s not knowing where you fit anymore – all of a sudden it’s awkward to do things with your old couple friends and, if you have kids, you don’t have the same freedom as your single friends. It’s the possibility of dealing with your ex’s new partner and your new partner’s ex and navigating the kids through step parents, step siblings, blended families and conflicting loyalties and values etc. It’s a jolly hot mess!!! And that’s just in an amicable situation, let alone court battles and orders, and the ongoing financial cost…ugh!! I know I might be painting a bleak picture here but this is raw and honest truth.
It can be incredibly painful to make a marriage work but don’t be fooled into thinking that divorce is the better and less painful option than staying in your marriage and working at it. Basically, and I don’t mean to sound crude but, it’s choose your pain. If you’re unhappy in your marriage (and I’m not talking about situations of abuse or repeated, unrepentant adultery here), please don’t believe the fantasy that the grass is greener on the other side, because it is just that...a fantasy. Believing that there’s someone else out there that will make you happy is a deception that will you pay a heavy price for. The rewards of sticking with your marriage and keeping your family together are far greater and way less complicated than thinking you can just move on and start over with someone else. Whatever issues you had in your marriage do not go away if you meet someone new. Before thinking your marriage is over or that you want out, please count the cost of what divorce would mean for your life and especially for your children, and ask yourself…is that a price I’m willing to pay?
Now after saying all that, I still want to say this… Nothing is impossible with God. When it comes to your marriage…nothing is impossible. If you’ve been through divorce…nothing is impossible. If you’ve completely messed everything up…nothing is impossible. Praise God for His incredible grace and that He takes our brokenness and creates beauty from our ashes when we fully yield our lives to Him, but understand that the road to wholeness is rarely a pain free and easy path.
When I started Jewels & Pearls my heart was to bring encouragement and hope to people going through or living with the aftermath of divorce because there absolutely is hope and I’m living proof of this. Those of you who have read my story know that I was on my own with my boys for 10 years after my marriage ended suddenly through my ex-husband’s infidelity. Even though I’ve now been remarried for just over 3 years and God has been so incredibly good to us, I’d be lying if I said that we never struggled with any repercussions of being divorced. In a second marriage, you don’t start with a blank canvas. There can be difficult circumstances, ongoing challenges and even opposition that, from day one, keeps you hanging on to God for dear life. It’s no fairy-tale and it’s not for the faint of heart! I’m not saying this to complain or sound like a victim, because God has blessed us and truly gone above and beyond and restored those years that were stolen, but there continues to be a cost and I just want to be real and acknowledge that. Saying that, we trust God and know He’s with us and WILL make all things work together for good, but this is the journey we must walk out.
I hope you can hear my heart in this blog. If you’re in a difficult place in your marriage, please don’t give up. If you can make your marriage work, then do everything in your power to do so. Count the cost and fight for your marriage. Actively show love, grace and forgiveness. Pray for wisdom, trust God and get godly counsel. Guard your heart and be careful of deception and even good-hearted people telling you, you deserve better because they just “want you to be happy” because it may actually lead to misery and regret.
I also know there are situations where it is beyond your control and you did not choose to end your marriage. If that is the case, then take it from me that you can trust God to take care of you and your children. I could testify again and again of God’s continual goodness, favour, blessing, provision and protection. He’s got you. You have a future and a hope.
As I’ve been sitting here writing this blog, a Bethel song has been playing in the background. “You make all things new…You turn the bitter in sweet…You turn the winter into spring…” That is exactly what our beautiful God does. He can do this in our marriages and He can do this is our mess. Take heart, there is hope.