Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Letter To My Divorced Friends

Dear Ones,

You already know that I stink at small talk, so I'm just going to jump right to the heart of it.  You are not a failure.  I hurt for you, for all the things that you went through in the marriage.  I am mourning with you the death of the dreams that you had when you first got married.  I am sorry.  And I applaud your courage for getting to a safe place.

Among all the platitudes in churchianity, the idea of a spouse who patiently endures has been romanticized until any truth was pretty much lost.  It is a religious Barbie doll.  I know you.  I know that you did not take your marriage vows lightly.  You didn't divorce him because he snored.  When one partner has violated their vows and is abusing you (regardless of whether that abuse is blatant physical abuse or more subtle emotional abuse), that is what destroyed your marriage. 

You did the right thing.  If you had stayed, there is no way that you could ever have been *enough*.  No amount of submission, of trying harder, of yielding your rights, would have made it right.  What they were doing is blatant, unrepentant sin, and you are not called to enable that. 

I am thankful that you didn't listen to the lie to stay for the kids.  The truth is that your children learn what marriage looks like from you.  They will internalize what they see and hear and sense.  Even if you don't think that they are picking up on it, they are.  For them and for any children yet to come, a healthy single parent is much better than two unhealthy parents.

I know that you have had it pounded into you that God hates divorce.  What many Christians fail to explain with that is that divorce is more than a piece of paper.  God doesn't gasp in shock and horror when a divorce is finalized because all of a sudden a marriage has been destroyed.  He knows it was destroyed long before the papers were signed.  He knows our thoughts, our innermost beings.  He hates that echad is destroyed and broken.  He hates that His precious daughters are hurt.  He hates the lies, the crushing of heart and spirit, the anger, pride and cruelty of sin.  He doesn't hate you, and He is not disappointed in you for not sticking it out and subjecting yourself and your children to more in hope that somehow, someday it would change--or even worse, falling prey to the idea that you deserve to be treated that way.

You are loved.  Cherished.  Wholly and completely.  He will never abandon you, never stop loving you, never stop liking you.  He delights in you, for exactly who you are.  He will always keep His promises to you.  He wants you.  He enjoys you.  Shame off you! 

I love you and admire your strength and honesty.  And I believe with all my heart that your future is full of hope, because I like who you are right now.

With all my love,


zephan said...

Thank you so much for this post. It really is a gift from God for me. I spent 5 years going back to my emotional and verbally abusive alcoholic husband, because of the reason you listed. It was the Christian thing, he hadn't cheated, he didn't hit me, so "biblically" I had no reason to permanently leave.
I did, almost a year ago. And for the past 12 months I have been in utter turmoil. My husband will never divorce me, it would be releasing any chance he has left of controlling me. Just yesterday I spent an hour on the phone to my sister in law, discussing this very issue, talking about how I felt that my husband walked out on our marriage a long long time ago, but how that is also combined with the guilt of divorce.
God has really used you to encourage, bless and confirm for me that I am not a failure, and that the path I have chosen is the right one.
I cannot thank you enough.

Sohailah said...

Really well saI'd. I've had too many friends experience this and stay for those very reasons. And ive had many stay for the kids, much to the destruction of those very kids. Love you, friend!

Mike and Christie said...

I remember when I was 30, sitting in a Sunday School class where they were discussing whether Divorce was the "unpardonable sin". We left. :/

I have been divorced. My husband and I were planning to go on the mission field. He went on to Seminary, and I was working. I found out I was pregnant.... he came home from seminary right about that time and said, "I don't believe any of this cr.." To my dismay and shock.
He took us on a path of destruction that I cannot freely write about and much of it is too painful. Let's just say 4 boys later, things got worse and worse and worse and then.... I left.
I went back with a promise of change. But when I returned he said, "You're stuck now aren't you!"

I told him I would NEVER be stuck, that the Lord would go with me through anything, and then I gave him 6 months. On the 6 month anniversary, I reminded him... and he said, "go". 9 years of HEdoublehockeysticks.... I was released.
Then came the judgement of others who had NO IDEA or CLUE.

I remarried 3 years later. We had invited a family over for dinner and they were, forgive me for the term, "gothardites"....
While we were getting ready to serve dinner, she literally said, "I know of a lady who's husband was coming at her with a hammer and she just prayed in tongues!" I don't know if the look on my face shut her up, or my prayers, but I could NOT BELIEVE this woman was saying such a thing, as if I didn't try hard enough. Because, divorce is sin, and I was a sinner.

There are even those who suggest that a remarried person divorce their spouse and remarry their original spouse, which is actually contrary to old testament law. UGH

Mike and I have been married now for 23 years. We love each other and the Lord and even though we have not lived perfect lives, as we are sinners, God has blessed us, and our sons and daughters.

Momma in Progress said...

Thank you for this. Most people don't know that my husband and I have both been married before. It's kind of a non-issue. God always meets us where we are.
As a previous commenter mentioned, I have also seen/read "Bible" studies that advocated leaving a second spouse and either reuniting with the first spouse or remaining single. Oh. my. word.
Thanks again. Always a great read here.

Pippi said...

You are so right about God being grieved over the loss of a marriage regardless of the paperwork involved. I never heard it put that way before.

I always told myself I wouldn't stay for the kids, yet last year I have to admit I did just that. When I finally got the courage to tell my Mom we were separating, she still kept insisting that my reasons were wrong even after admitting I had good reason. The ones I cited just didn't match up for her. And then I didn't stand by forcing him to move out in the end, because when I finally did insist, he went to stay with his brother, and I wasn't willing to let the boys visit there. I also wasn't willing to go to court and demand full custody.

I think I have more issues about my lost relationship with my Dad than I realize. When the chips were down, I just couldn't bear to see my kids without a father. And I still don't know if I did the right thing. Even though he's finally getting help, there are still no guarantees. And the relationship our boys have been raised with so far is grossly unhealthy.

When he started methadone treatments, after stealing our grocery card, he thanked me for giving him another chance. I didn't know what to say. From my point of view, it's not another chance. I'm not giving him anything. All I am doing is waiting to see whether my decision to keep him in our lives turns out for better or worse. Only time will tell. I can't do anything about the regrets I already have.

Your post is encouraging, no matter how it ends between us. Thankyou.

michelle radtke said...

Wow, thank you so much for that. That was beautifully written and in the true spirit of God and His love.

Anonymous said...

thanks. i will be sending this to my friend who received a lot of harsh judgement and critism after leaving an abusive husband who had mental issues. many would not believe her side, because he was so good at manipulating.... :( and of course, a good christian woman would not leave her husband, right?!

Beckie said...

This made me cry! I am going through this right now after my lying, cheating, son-of-a-pastor, husband of almost 18 years left me after blaming me for making him "less of a man". I too struggled with the whole God hates divorce piece. And because I am so hard wired for commitment, I was willing to try just about anything to make it work,until the day I met his new "honey" face to face and found her clothes in my bedroom. My pastor now, his father died, also assured me of all the things you put in this post. I will be passing this on to my cousin who went through this as well just 3 years ago. Thank you for this. It means so much to me. And this was the first post I read coming to this blog for the very first time. God is truly in control if we allow Him to be!

Sarah said...

LOVE. <3

dulce de leche said...

((((Hugs)))) Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and encouragement. It is heartbreaking that so many have been wounded on top of all the other pain by the very body of Christ who should be sharing your burden and bringing comfort and healing. I am so thankful for all of you. You are making a difference! Love and healing to you! <3

November said...

Love this.

AnnaC said...

Thank you so much for this. *cry* <3