How to deal with divorce

Divorce, and how to get through it

How To Get Through A Divorce, If It Is What You Must Do. There Are A Few Things To Consider First

Divorce has never been an easy subject to discuss, and going through a divorce or separation is tough; it does affect not only the partners but also the children, relatives as well as friends of both spouses.

Positive steps to take to help you deal with divorce

Divorce, with no doubt, can steal your joy and make it difficult to get through your daily activities. In other words, divorce can reduce your productivity drastically if not dealt with. The good news is, you can do something about the adjustment process and below are the steps to take.

It is okay to feel the way you feel

Whatever you are feeling right now is normal, the anger, the regret, the exhaustion, the frustration, the confusion and even the relief is healthy. The more you fight it, the more you lose yourself to the emotions. You may ask, “Am I not suppose to fight against these emotions?”

Well, the truth is, the more you try to pretend to make everyone see you are okay, the more miserable you will become. Take for example; if you sweep everything under the rug does not make the room clean. Yes, it may look clean but only for a while. The feelings are temporary, but the actions you take or make because of the emotions will determine your future. In brief, your feelings are healthy, but do not act on them, do not make decisions based on your current emotions.

Take a break

Some people pour their energy into their work because they do not want to be left alone with their feelings. It works for some people, but it is not the best solution. You need a break; you need to time to heal and reenergized. If it is necessary, take a break from work; this is not to isolate you from friends and family. Actually, it is the time to be with people you love, and who love you.

The last thing you want to do is to push people away; although it hurts to be with people who remind you of the broken relationship.

It is dangerous to go through your separation or divorce alone; you need to share your feelings with friends and family. They are there to help you through the period also consider joining a support group. Discussing with people in similar situations will positively affect your life. It may sound lame to listen and talk to other people, but it one of the best ways to enhance your relationships with others, also improve your overall health.

Treat yourself as a king/queen

For whatever reason you got divorce must have worn you out, this is the time to take care of yourself physically, and emotionally. Give yourself a treat like the king and queen you are. The first thing you want to work on is your self-esteem.  Take time out to eat healthy, exercise and relax. All significant decisions can wait, do not rush into anything just yet in order not to make hasty decisions that you may regret.

Maintain peace

Divorce does not have to be terrible; you do not have to continue fighting with your spouse. Isn’t that part of the reason you got the divorce in the first place? Why get a divorce if you still cannot enjoy peace afterward? Power struggles and arguments with your former spouse will only make you relive the unhappy moments.

You cannot avoid your former partner totally, so if you sense a discussion is turning into a fight, take a deep breath and calmly suggest that you postpone the discussion some other day. No, you are not running or avoiding the subject, you are simply averting possible bickering with your spouse.

Find a new hobby

The whole idea is to move on and be better than the old you, isn’t it? Indulge in things or activities that will enhance your life. Sign up for a class, volunteer, invest in your hobbies. Do the things you have always wanted to do but didn’t have the time or approval from your former spouse to do so. However, ensure that whatever adventure you embark on do not affect your overall health negatively.

Find comfort in the Word of God

What you need to know is, God does not love you less because you are going through a divorce. It is what divorce does to you He doesn’t like; He doesn’t like seeing you in pains. He doesn’t like. It is not the time to hide from your Maker, and you need Him because He’s got your back. You have to trust Him and believe; He is with you all the way. Below are some scriptures that will help you overcome the hurts you feel inside.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Psalms 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalms 34:18

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Revelation 21:4

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

Luke 4:18

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

The above scriptures show how invaluable you are to God, and nothing can separate you from the His love.

Romans 8: 38-39

“38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

How to handle kids during or after divorce

Dealing with kids during a divorce can be an uphill task; the ability to discuss with them without affecting their thought patterns negatively is tricky

Below is a short list you need to do if you have kids or teens;

Talk to them

This is not the time to shut your children out of the picture, if you do not explain to them what is going on, someone else will do it for you, and there is no telling if the person will pass the right message.

Listen to them

You are not the only one in pains; it is hurtful to watch their heroes go their separate ways. Reassure them that they have nothing to do with the divorce. Listen to their concern, and be compassionate but truthful in your responses.

Maintain routines

I know change is constant, but you have to maintain stability and routines until the children are accustom with the divorce. Drastic changes will affect their lives, and they may act up or start giving you attitude.

Don’t involve them in the conflict

Do not complain to them about your partner; they do not need to know the details. Don’t talk down on your partner when they are around, even if it is true. They will grow up to understand things for themselves; you don’t need to influence how they see their father or mother. One of the worst things to do is to turn them to spies or make them pick sides.

Create and sustain a bond

Show them you are reliable, make promises you can keep. You have to be careful when granting their wishes. Kids will be kids; they would love to maximize any situation for their gain. Do not be afraid to turn down their requests just because you want them to see you as “the good guy.”

Both partners may not be together, but your disciplinary measures should be in sync. The upbringing of your children is your priority. Don’t slack off in this area, your children’s deserve good parenting.

Encourage Yourself: 

In our culture today many see divorce as a positive solution to a troubled marriage. But Harvard sociologist Armand Nicholi III concluded, “Divorce is not a solution, but an exchange of problems.” In a more personal way, novelist Pat Conroy said of his own marriage break-up, “Each divorce is the death of a small civilization.”

One woman wrote after her divorce, “Our divorce has been the most painful, horrid, ulcer producing, agonizing event you can imagine….I wish I could put on this piece of paper for all the world to see, a picture of what divorce feels like. Maybe my picture would stop people before it’s too late.”

Marriage is a covenant

It should not be a surprise that God proclaims, in Malachi 2:16, “I despise divorce!” But why does He despise divorce? Marriage is meant to be a special covenant between a man, a woman, and  God.

The vows to Anita something like this:

I, Paul, take you, Anita, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I promise and make a covenant before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband; to stand by you in riches and in poverty, in joy, in sorrow, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live.”

When we exchanged vows, Anita and I weren’t committing to provide some personal services via a agreement that could be discarded if one of us defaulted. Instead, we were knowingly entering into a covenant relationship—the same type of holy commitment that God has made with His children on a few important occasions, such as Noah after the flood.

A covenant—including the marriage covenant—is a binding obligation. Proverbs 20:25 read as this, “It is a snare for men to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows” (NIV). Deuteronomy 23:23 tells us, “One should be careful when making a vow from his lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised.” Jesus said that “every senseless word that man speaks, you will be held accountable for it, in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

People must takes the wedding covenant seriously, just as God does.

God’s purpose for marriage

Reasons God hates divorce is because it tears at the very heart of God’s redemptive plan for the world. It is interesting to note the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees in Matthew 19:3-9. When the Pharisees ask, “Is it lawful for man to put away his wife for any reason at all?” Jesus answered by pointing them to God’s purposes for marriage:

And He answered saying, “Have you not read that He who created you from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Whosoever God has put together, let no man put asunder.”

God’s major purpose for marriage is to mirror His image. After God created the earth, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26–27).

What does it mean to mirror God’s image? Your marriage should exalt God and glorify Him to a world that desperately needs to see who He is. Because we’re created in the image of God, people who wouldn’t otherwise know what God is like should be able to look at us and get a glimpse of Him.

God’s second purpose is to complete each other and experience companionship. Scriptures clearly outline the second reason for marriage: and that is to complete each other. That’s why God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a help meet” (Genesis 2:18).

God’s third reason for marriage is to multiply and subdue the earth. God’s original plan called for the home to be a sort of greenhouse—a nurturing place where children grow up to learn character, values, and integrity. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 shares with us, “My words, which I am charging you this day, shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Marriage is far more important than most of us realize. It affects God’s reputation. Which is why He hates divorce. That’s why it is essential for you to set Jesus Christ apart as the Builder of your home.

The Exception

If I were able to end this discussion regarding what the Bible says concerning divorce at this point, the lives of many pastors across this country would be far easier. But the Scriptures also discuss what some might call the “exception clauses” for divorce.

I quoted earlier from the discussion with Christ and the Pharisees in Matthew 19. After Jesus refers to God’s original purpose for marriage, He is asked, “Why then did Moses command to give her a writing of divorcement and putting her away?” Jesus answers, “Because of the hardness of your heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; from the beginning it was not this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:7-9).

1 Corinthians 7:15-17, informs us:

If the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called, in this manner let him depart. And so I direct in all the churches.

No matter how you interpret these scriptures, one thing is very clear: God never ordained or created a bill of divorce. We as people did.

Note that, the generally accepted interpretation among a majority in the conservative christian community is that these passages indicate there are a few circumstances in which God releases a couple from a lifetime of a covenant marriage:

  • In the case of continuous, unrepentant immorality
  • When the unbelieving spouse deserts the believer.

Many pastors and Christian leaders will discourage divorce even in these situations but ultimately will not discourage it when all other options have been considered.

The minority interpretation among evangelical Christians holds that the only exception for divorce is death. A key verse in is Matthew 19:8 where Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.” In addition, Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7:24, “Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called….Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released.”

Clearly, this is a difficult, thorny issue, around which there is much debate. But both sides on this debate would agree that most couples seeking a divorce today do so for unbiblical reasons. They cite reasons such as poor communication, incompatibility, financial problems, lack of commitment to the relationship, changes in priorities. In short, when marriage isn’t working, the common solution is to get out.

Considering divorce

Over the years, I’ve seen story after story of couples deciding to trust God for a reconciliation in their relationship. Many have been on the edge of obtaining a certificate of divorce—even for reasons we might consider scriptural—yet have decided to allow God to work on their behalf.

The culture we live in today, emphasizes meeting individual needs no matter the cost (so as to gain pleasure and avoid pain), Ultimately, we need to challenge Christians to be open in trusting God’s plan to come to fruition in their marriage. Keep in mind, God’s plan is to redeem. And very few spouses who consider divorce have done everything they can to salvage their marriage.

At this point, some of you might be saying, “Anita, you just don’t understand my spouse and my circumstances.” You’re right, I don’t. However, given the seriousness of this subject, let me clearly say a few things here.

First of all, you need an able body person who is committed and capable to walk with you during this troubled time. Someone who will not just sympathize with you, but will also hold you accountable to look at the biblical issues and do what is right. I believe that if at all possible, the best person to do this is your pastor. There are some who might be a counselor knowledgeable to use the Bible.

Second, couples need the church of Jesus Christ embracing them. Be mindful not to pull away from the body of believers. Each part of the body need the other. Be very clear that others in your church are in a covenant relationship with you. You need their love, motivation and wise counsel. The last thing you need to do is make any decisions about your marriage without first trying or working through some things..

Third, you need to seek God in His Word, cry unto Him to know His ways, and His heart for what you should do or how you should reply to your mate. If looking to legitimize your reasons for divorce … stop! Notice the Scriptures that are given to God’s messages of forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, understanding, and patience.

How valuable are the vows you spoke to your spouse before your God? After you take into consideration how much God values a covenant, what will the commitments of your marriage covenant before God?

Will you patiently wait for God to work on your behalf when it comes to your marriage, in a way you had not considered? Will you seek God for wisdom, the sources, the inspiration you need to do above and beyond what you ever could imagine?

Ask God to show you what you can do to rebuild your marriage. Remember, God specializes in redeeming the unredeemable. It is His preeminent desire for your marriage.

In my closing, I would like to be in agreement with you to begin praying together for 45 days as a couple that God will restore your marriage? That He will be the Builder of your hope and that He will bring healing to your marriage. Ask Him for your miracle. Remember marriage getaways and retreats can be the very thing that the biblical blueprints for your marriage and family needs. You will never regret that you prayed or giving your marriage another chance for a life-changing experience.

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