Divorce Can Be a Triumph

No, this isn’t about Sara and me. Far from it, thankfully! But some conversations I had during my recent trip to Canada left me deeply affected by the pain others go through when they find themselves married to a bully. Divorce is always a tragedy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be triumph as well, especially when someone has the courage to escape abuse from a spouse who beats or berates them.

I know people will misread that, and suggest I’m light on marriage. I’m not. I’ve been married thirty-seven years and I know that nurturing a life-long marriage of ever-deepening love requires an incredible amount of mutual service and personal transformation and it takes both partners wholeheartedly embracing that process. If only one wants it to work, and the other chooses to exploit that desire, serious harm can result.

As much as I embrace God’s ideal that true love can only be found where two people commit themselves to each other for life, he also realized that due to the weaknesses of humanity, there must be an escape for those who are truly being harmed in a relationship. The call of God is not just for a marriage to last a lifetime, but more importantly that the people involved learn to love each other deeply and find healing together in respect and honor for the other. I used to see life-long marriage as an obligation and anything less was a failure of commitment. But now I see real marriage as a miracle of two hearts staying true to the other, and am much more gracious when it fails. Certainly there is enough pain in a broken marriage, without us adding our shame and disapproval.

During my recent trip to Canada I found myself in lengthy conversations with several women who are in the midst of a divorce or considering it, having suffered repeated abuse at the hands of their husbands. I was amazed that they shared so openly with others and I admired their courage as they sought to hear God’s voice amidst the shame they felt first for being abused, and then for pursuing a divorce. My heart went out to them. Not only were they having to dig out from an abusive marriage, but also to somehow navigate the disapproval of their friends who wouldn’t understand their divorce.

I write this in hopes that I could dispel some of that shame for others. No one should have to live in the face of abuse, be it physical, verbal, or emotional. Marriage does not give any person the right to make their spouse the target of their rage. Every couple disagrees and even lapses into tense arguments at times, but abuse happens when the more powerful person bullies the other with physical violence, threats, or persistently assaulting the other’s dignity. When one treats the other as a possession, on which he can freely vent his rage or use fear as a tool to get his own way, the promise of marriage have been broken.

I know it isn’t just women who suffer this. A few years ago I sat in a room watching a woman emasculate her husband about her past disappointments in him that traced back for decades. She screamed at him in unfiltered rage as if he were a piece of garbage. All the while he cowered, staring down at the table before him. I wasn’t in control of this gathering or I would have stopped it. Everyone else in the room talked about it later as a great moment of honesty and healing, which shows just how blind people can be in these situations. When I reached out to the husband later, he told me how much he needed to hear it. You know the relationship is truly sick when the victim is so deceived that they feel they deserve the abuse.

Rage is not honesty; it’s violence, and submitting to it is not laying down your life, but simply becoming a doormat for someone else’s bondage. The husband was definitely the weaker one here, both emotionally and probably physically as well. He may have thought he was serving her, but he only enabled her bullying and you could see something dying in him in the process. If you are the weaker one in the equation, it is not laying your life down in love to let your partner devour you with anger. Only the more powerful one in a relationship can willingly offer up their life for the good of another. While the world needs more of that, it doesn’t need the powerless cowering before a bully.

My one regret of the past few years was not intervening in that moment on behalf of my friend. I was so dumbfounded at having been the target of her anger a few moments before with false accusations, and was a bit off-balance. I was hoping others in that room would intervene, and shocked they did not. How I wished I would have had the presence of mind in that moment to have stood up between them, grabbed her hands that were stabbing the air between them, and told her as gently, but firmly as I could, “I’m sorry, but you have to stop. You either need to forgive him or leave him. His failures don’t give you the right to beat him up for the rest of his life.”

Abuse survives in the dark, often with the complicity of others. Because the victim is afraid to talk about it for fear of retribution, or feeling so ashamed of herself, the abuse only grows. Abusers always blame their victim as the cause of their anger, and it is easy for many to believe. it. When anyone’s anger or contempt takes the liberty to dehumanize another person, that person has crossed the line from honesty to bullying and you do not serve them by quietly taking it.

The first time you are the victim of someone’s rage, strategically remove yourself from the situation. If it’s your spouse, let them know that you will not allow yourself to be treated that way. Encourage them to get help and let them know you will love them and support them as they deal with their inner brokenness. Don’t blame yourself for their actions, nor endure it again. If they refuse to get help, then a divorce may be in order.

This is when divorce is a triumph even if others will not agree or understand. Though they may heap shame on you for doing so, this is exactly why God give us the gift of divorce. Some relationships are too destructive to compel anyone to stay in it. Yes, I know some people misuse divorce simply because they don’t want to do the hard work of loving deeply, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a legitimate time and place for it. God can lead people through divorce and give them a hope and a future beyond it. I want to stand with him as he comforts hurting people as well.

If society remains silent in the face of abuse, or blames the victim we become part of perpetuating it. Let’s learn to help and encourage those who take the risk to walk away from a destructive relationship, and honor them for doing so. We have to challenge those who think abuse is a normal outlet for anger. You don’t get to use your spouse as a punching bag. Love always protects the well-being of the other, and that’s as much her heart as her physical body.

And, yes, we can also find love for the abuser. Almost always rage comes from an inner place of brokenness that is devouring the perpetrator as well. They lash out in anger when they feel weak and powerless. If you’re one of those, walk away when your anger surfaces, rather than victimizing the people near you. And if you truly love the person whom you make the target of your rage, get help! Deal with the underlying causes of your inner torment that makes you go ballistic when you hurt. If you really care about your spouse, don’t blame her for leaving you, get the help you need so you can woo her back with a changed heart.

Divorce is tragic. Seeing the hope and promise of love succumb to the arrogance and demands of human flesh is a painful reality to everyone involved. But if it is the honest recognition that only one of us is trying to create a marriage here, and that person is being suffering abuse for doing so, then it can also be a triumph of a spouse’s courage in the face the worst thing that can happen in a marriage. Let’s celebrate that, instead of condemning it, and be an encourager for them in a painful process.

And if you have a spouse who takes your needs and dreams seriously, working with you to make the marriage all God wants it to be, now would be a great time to give them a hug and tell them how much you appreciate them. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Excuse me, I think I’ll go find Sara!

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30 Comments
  1. Alana October 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Wayne, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. My husband left me for another woman and married her and the pain of it still endures today. Because I was so obviously mistreated most people who know me accept my divorce as ‘legitimate’ because infidelity was involved. But I walk around ashamed of being divorced. Most people who hear I’ve been divorced without knowing the circumstances assume I was somehow irresponsible or unwilling to work on my marriage. This hurts as I already carry the same of such a public rejection, and people’s rejection only makes it worse. Thank you for understanding our horrible divorce really is, and how much organized religion condemns you for it, which makes the pain so much worse.

  2. Drewe October 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Yes, we often stick by our ‘guns’ and call out ‘divorce is wrong’ – to which the answer is, surely it is. But we need to also consider those in the situations where divorce may be the only choice. I have a friend who went through this, his story is here –

    http://mencanbeabusedtoo.wordpress.com/my-story-part-1/

    Even more hidden often is the fact that sometimes men are the recipient of the abuse.

    I guess we need to continue to show Gods love to all people, regardless of the situation, and remember we are not an all knowing God ourselves, and can’t judge because we don’t have all the details!

  3. Alana October 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Wayne, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. My husband left me for another woman and married her and the pain of it still endures today. Because I was so obviously mistreated most people who know me accept my divorce as ‘legitimate’ because infidelity was involved. But I walk around ashamed of being divorced. Most people who hear I’ve been divorced without knowing the circumstances assume I was somehow irresponsible or unwilling to work on my marriage. This hurts as I already carry the same of such a public rejection, and people’s rejection only makes it worse. Thank you for understanding our horrible divorce really is, and how much organized religion condemns you for it, which makes the pain so much worse.

  4. Drewe October 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Yes, we often stick by our ‘guns’ and call out ‘divorce is wrong’ – to which the answer is, surely it is. But we need to also consider those in the situations where divorce may be the only choice. I have a friend who went through this, his story is here –

    http://mencanbeabusedtoo.wordpress.com/my-story-part-1/

    Even more hidden often is the fact that sometimes men are the recipient of the abuse.

    I guess we need to continue to show Gods love to all people, regardless of the situation, and remember we are not an all knowing God ourselves, and can’t judge because we don’t have all the details!

  5. Nick October 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you Wayne for sharing such a perspective. It is such a different perspective that it not only shocks people who are used to living under the shadow of a literalistic/legalistic reading of the Gospels and think all divorce is anathema; but such a perspective also gives comfort to us who have gone through a divorce because of the love that undergirds this perspective. It’s good to find such quiet widsom for such a chaotic experience as divorce.

  6. Nick October 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you Wayne for sharing such a perspective. It is such a different perspective that it not only shocks people who are used to living under the shadow of a literalistic/legalistic reading of the Gospels and think all divorce is anathema; but such a perspective also gives comfort to us who have gone through a divorce because of the love that undergirds this perspective. It’s good to find such quiet widsom for such a chaotic experience as divorce.

  7. Frank October 3, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Wayne,
    I have been wondering if I was the only one who felt this way. When I was a pastor, I would come in contact with people who were in an obviously abusive relationship. They talked of leaving, and when I said, “Do it,” he or she would look at me as if I had three heads. “You’re a pastor and your TELLING me to leave my spouse?” I took my lead from Paul who said if the unbelieving spouse is not pleased to dwell, let them leave. The abusive spouse has already left the marriage. A marriage is not solely a legal contract. In God’s eye’s it’s not a contract at all. It is a covenant, a one-sided pledge to sacrifice one’s self for the sake of the other. Abuse is not self sacrifice, but self caring over the welfare of the other.

    I have a friend who experienced this a few years back. I was witness to his wife’s barrage of hateful language. She would belittle him, threaten him with taking his girls away, and even ruining his business. I, too, was the target of her wrath a few times. He tried for nine years to heal a marriage through counseling, programs, and the like. She would always put the blame of the failure of whatever was being tried on him or the counselor. I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed that man crumbling in tears. Finally, he moved out and moved in with my wife and me. She passed it around town that I was not really a pastor because I did not demand him to return to the house, the marriage, and the abuse.

    It took three years from the time of his leaving for the divorce to go through. She ultimately pushed all three girls out of the house when they became the objects of her wrath. Not long after the divorce went final he met a woman who had experienced a bad divorce as well. Both of them are committed believers. I had the pleasure of performing their wedding not once, but TWICE!! That’s a long story as well. There is healing after divorce and it truly can be a gift. Thanks for saying what is the truth.

  8. Susan October 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Thank you so much. I have learned more about love since being divorced than I ever did while married. The failure of my marriage also helped me sever my idolatrous relationship with the institutional church and deepened my dependence on my Abba. I pray for the marriages of my friends and family, but I know this was the path I needed to walk. Still trusting and following in all the toxic fallout for the two adult children. Can even see some good there, though. Shame is such a sneaky killer! Thanks for your part in exposing it for what it is.

  9. Frank October 3, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Wayne,
    I have been wondering if I was the only one who felt this way. When I was a pastor, I would come in contact with people who were in an obviously abusive relationship. They talked of leaving, and when I said, “Do it,” he or she would look at me as if I had three heads. “You’re a pastor and your TELLING me to leave my spouse?” I took my lead from Paul who said if the unbelieving spouse is not pleased to dwell, let them leave. The abusive spouse has already left the marriage. A marriage is not solely a legal contract. In God’s eye’s it’s not a contract at all. It is a covenant, a one-sided pledge to sacrifice one’s self for the sake of the other. Abuse is not self sacrifice, but self caring over the welfare of the other.

    I have a friend who experienced this a few years back. I was witness to his wife’s barrage of hateful language. She would belittle him, threaten him with taking his girls away, and even ruining his business. I, too, was the target of her wrath a few times. He tried for nine years to heal a marriage through counseling, programs, and the like. She would always put the blame of the failure of whatever was being tried on him or the counselor. I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed that man crumbling in tears. Finally, he moved out and moved in with my wife and me. She passed it around town that I was not really a pastor because I did not demand him to return to the house, the marriage, and the abuse.

    It took three years from the time of his leaving for the divorce to go through. She ultimately pushed all three girls out of the house when they became the objects of her wrath. Not long after the divorce went final he met a woman who had experienced a bad divorce as well. Both of them are committed believers. I had the pleasure of performing their wedding not once, but TWICE!! That’s a long story as well. There is healing after divorce and it truly can be a gift. Thanks for saying what is the truth.

  10. Susan October 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Thank you so much. I have learned more about love since being divorced than I ever did while married. The failure of my marriage also helped me sever my idolatrous relationship with the institutional church and deepened my dependence on my Abba. I pray for the marriages of my friends and family, but I know this was the path I needed to walk. Still trusting and following in all the toxic fallout for the two adult children. Can even see some good there, though. Shame is such a sneaky killer! Thanks for your part in exposing it for what it is.

  11. Ken October 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

    This is a timely post for me as my daughter’s divorce becomes final today, less than a week from what would have been their 2nd anniversary. It isn’t over by any means as there is much still to sort out, so “triumph” may be a strong word at this point. But we are glad she can begin to heal and move on.

    There is still a stigma to divorce in the Christian community. Thanks for speaking some compassion and common sense into this subject.

  12. PattiP October 3, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Beautifully written, Wayne. In my “holier than thou” religion days, I thought that since God hates divorce, it meant Christians should never divorce. I now understand it very differently. By the time divorce becomes part of the picture, at least one, and sometimes both parties have been tremendously hurt. And I think that is what God hates – that people have been selfish or mean or unkind or abusive, in short being exactly what God isn’t. As a grandparent, I know what it is to grieve when a child or grandchild treats someone badly. It’s like a knife stab in your own heart, and something you hate to see happen. How much more grief it must cause God!

    Those who are in an abusive, unkind marriage very badly need to hear what you have said. I know, I’ve been there.

  13. Ken October 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    This is a timely post for me as my daughter’s divorce becomes final today, less than a week from what would have been their 2nd anniversary. It isn’t over by any means as there is much still to sort out, so “triumph” may be a strong word at this point. But we are glad she can begin to heal and move on.

    There is still a stigma to divorce in the Christian community. Thanks for speaking some compassion and common sense into this subject.

  14. PattiP October 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Beautifully written, Wayne. In my “holier than thou” religion days, I thought that since God hates divorce, it meant Christians should never divorce. I now understand it very differently. By the time divorce becomes part of the picture, at least one, and sometimes both parties have been tremendously hurt. And I think that is what God hates – that people have been selfish or mean or unkind or abusive, in short being exactly what God isn’t. As a grandparent, I know what it is to grieve when a child or grandchild treats someone badly. It’s like a knife stab in your own heart, and something you hate to see happen. How much more grief it must cause God!

    Those who are in an abusive, unkind marriage very badly need to hear what you have said. I know, I’ve been there.

  15. nancy October 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    You referred many times to anger as the reason for abuse, and though anger is a component, the true underlying factor is a person’s need to have power and control in a relationship. Abusers are not “out of control”, most of the time they are very much “in control” of what they do and say. They know what threats will be effective, they know where to hit to keep bruises from showing, they know how to act charming in public and evil in private, etc. Also, please do not say a survivor enables an abuser. An abuser makes his or her own choices and controls most of the choices in the relationship. Abuse is complex, and leaving is usually not a simple process, especially when children are involved. For those who want more info, do an online search for “Lundy Bancroft” who has excellent articles online and has written several books. If you need help, contact your local domestic violence agency.

  16. Wayne October 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Nancy, thanks for adding to this conversation. You make some good points. However, I think you misunderstood my point. I agree wholeheartedly that abuse is about control, so is manipulation for that matter, which some spouses are quite good at as well. What sets abuse apart is the anger and violence that accompanies it. My references to anger are more about the expression of abuse than the cause. The causes usually lie far deeper than just the need to control even. People seek to control events on the outside, because they are so broken and devastate don the inside. And I do appreciate that extricating one’s self from an abusive situation is incredibly complex. But for the process to even begin, we have to recognize that what I’m suffering is not just an difficult spouse, but an abusive one that will crush the person if they continue to live under it.

  17. David Takle October 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Very well put, and just the tip of the iceberg. We need to re-educate the church about divorce. I spent many years working with people recovering from divorce, and if they came from a legalistic setting, one of the greatest areas of pain was that of being treated as an outcast by people they had known for years. For starters, it takes two people to make a marriage, but a divorce can be forced by just one person even if their spouse is willing to do whatever it takes to keep things together. Then there is the whole issue about the failure to help people grow up and mature in our immature culture, so that they can actually become “one” and see themselves as a “we” instead of two individuals in competition for their needs. Instead of condemning people for failing to bond well, the church should be helping them mature so they can. Finally, divorce is not actually “the” problem — it is a symptom of far deeper problems such as addiction, infidelity, rage, and unhealed relational wounds. Condemning divorce is like berating surgery that is necessary to save a life. Attacking divorce and marginalizing people who get divorced makes no sense. We need to learn more about dealing with the real problems that precede divorce.

  18. nancy October 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    You referred many times to anger as the reason for abuse, and though anger is a component, the true underlying factor is a person’s need to have power and control in a relationship. Abusers are not “out of control”, most of the time they are very much “in control” of what they do and say. They know what threats will be effective, they know where to hit to keep bruises from showing, they know how to act charming in public and evil in private, etc. Also, please do not say a survivor enables an abuser. An abuser makes his or her own choices and controls most of the choices in the relationship. Abuse is complex, and leaving is usually not a simple process, especially when children are involved. For those who want more info, do an online search for “Lundy Bancroft” who has excellent articles online and has written several books. If you need help, contact your local domestic violence agency.

  19. Wayne October 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Nancy, thanks for adding to this conversation. You make some good points. However, I think you misunderstood my point. I agree wholeheartedly that abuse is about control, so is manipulation for that matter, which some spouses are quite good at as well. What sets abuse apart is the anger and violence that accompanies it. My references to anger are more about the expression of abuse than the cause. The causes usually lie far deeper than just the need to control even. People seek to control events on the outside, because they are so broken and devastate don the inside. And I do appreciate that extricating one’s self from an abusive situation is incredibly complex. But for the process to even begin, we have to recognize that what I’m suffering is not just an difficult spouse, but an abusive one that will crush the person if they continue to live under it.

  20. David Takle October 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Very well put, and just the tip of the iceberg. We need to re-educate the church about divorce. I spent many years working with people recovering from divorce, and if they came from a legalistic setting, one of the greatest areas of pain was that of being treated as an outcast by people they had known for years. For starters, it takes two people to make a marriage, but a divorce can be forced by just one person even if their spouse is willing to do whatever it takes to keep things together. Then there is the whole issue about the failure to help people grow up and mature in our immature culture, so that they can actually become “one” and see themselves as a “we” instead of two individuals in competition for their needs. Instead of condemning people for failing to bond well, the church should be helping them mature so they can. Finally, divorce is not actually “the” problem — it is a symptom of far deeper problems such as addiction, infidelity, rage, and unhealed relational wounds. Condemning divorce is like berating surgery that is necessary to save a life. Attacking divorce and marginalizing people who get divorced makes no sense. We need to learn more about dealing with the real problems that precede divorce.

  21. Diane McCutcheon October 5, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Dear Wayne,
    I cannot express to you how humbled I am at our Lord and Savior. His love for us is too unfathomable and magnificent to grasp. But I am growing in it! Praise God.

    Anyhow, I was curious to hear your thoughts about divorce, particularly as you’ve written about here,but knew that God was not leading me to ask you. I was simply trying to find comfort and peace for my confusion and doubt. Anyhow, I told God that if He wanted me to know your opinion about divorce in this exact circumstance, that He would have to place it on your heart and I would read about it! lol.. Even as I’m writing this, I am still dumbfounded at His response to my prayer..

    Anyhow again…. lol.. About a year and a half ago I began writing a blog about my experience of separation and now divorce with my husband of 20 years. I didn’t know what was going to happen to my marriage or what God was going to do in it all, but I felt a nudge to share my feelings, especially in relation to God, with other people.

    Needless to say, God has grown me tremendously through this experience. And whether God has me sharing with a particular group of people or if it’s just for Him and me, then so be it! I have received much criticism and judgment for being so transparent and honest, but the healing I’ve received and the freedom from the need for approval from other people is incredible.. God has also blessed me with getting to encourage and be encouraged along the way. That’s just the way He works! Sovereign and in control of every one of our needs at the perfect time if we’ll just let Him!.. Just like this timely post,,,.. lol.. (I’m so happy right now)… and now in the midst of my divorce I have been placed in a position where my blog can be used against me by lawyers.

    No bother though. I know my God is with me and His will alone will be accomplished! Amen!

    I do not regret, nor will I stop being so transparent or vulnerable with people about myself and my relationship with God…….. unless He leads me to stop!

    I’m not trying to persuade or promote anything with what I write about. Nor am I claiming to have truth or being right about anything, including my divorce. I am simply testifying of my experiences throughout this difficult time in my life, especially pertaining to God. If it can encourage or help comfort any of your readers, then my heart will rejoice.

    Again, I want to thank you for your voice and steadfastness to share your heart with all of us about your own experience with our amazing Father. I know the cost… But the freedom and life found in Him are worth every thing no matter what!

    My blog: Marriageonedge@blogspot.com
    or you can look it up on blogger.com, Diane McCutcheon

    Sincerely,
    Princess Di
    Daughter of The King

  22. Diane McCutcheon October 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Dear Wayne,
    I cannot express to you how humbled I am at our Lord and Savior. His love for us is too unfathomable and magnificent to grasp. But I am growing in it! Praise God.

    Anyhow, I was curious to hear your thoughts about divorce, particularly as you’ve written about here,but knew that God was not leading me to ask you. I was simply trying to find comfort and peace for my confusion and doubt. Anyhow, I told God that if He wanted me to know your opinion about divorce in this exact circumstance, that He would have to place it on your heart and I would read about it! lol.. Even as I’m writing this, I am still dumbfounded at His response to my prayer..

    Anyhow again…. lol.. About a year and a half ago I began writing a blog about my experience of separation and now divorce with my husband of 20 years. I didn’t know what was going to happen to my marriage or what God was going to do in it all, but I felt a nudge to share my feelings, especially in relation to God, with other people.

    Needless to say, God has grown me tremendously through this experience. And whether God has me sharing with a particular group of people or if it’s just for Him and me, then so be it! I have received much criticism and judgment for being so transparent and honest, but the healing I’ve received and the freedom from the need for approval from other people is incredible.. God has also blessed me with getting to encourage and be encouraged along the way. That’s just the way He works! Sovereign and in control of every one of our needs at the perfect time if we’ll just let Him!.. Just like this timely post,,,.. lol.. (I’m so happy right now)… and now in the midst of my divorce I have been placed in a position where my blog can be used against me by lawyers.

    No bother though. I know my God is with me and His will alone will be accomplished! Amen!

    I do not regret, nor will I stop being so transparent or vulnerable with people about myself and my relationship with God…….. unless He leads me to stop!

    I’m not trying to persuade or promote anything with what I write about. Nor am I claiming to have truth or being right about anything, including my divorce. I am simply testifying of my experiences throughout this difficult time in my life, especially pertaining to God. If it can encourage or help comfort any of your readers, then my heart will rejoice.

    Again, I want to thank you for your voice and steadfastness to share your heart with all of us about your own experience with our amazing Father. I know the cost… But the freedom and life found in Him are worth every thing no matter what!

    My blog: Marriageonedge@blogspot.com
    or you can look it up on blogger.com, Diane McCutcheon

    Sincerely,
    Princess Di
    Daughter of The King

  23. Bruce October 6, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Several years ago in the Sunday magazine section of our paper a secular psychologist (I think) told how early in his practice he would recommend divorce almost anytime a couple came to him with any problem. By the time he wrote the article physical abuse, as I recall, was the only circumstance under which he recommended divorce. He’d found divorced people less happy long term after divorce than before divorce.
    He grew up in a home where dad was always critical. He followed that pattern with his wife and kids. After more than a decade of marriage she could no longer put up with that. They separated for over a year. Fortunately, he got help and they “remarried.” (no divorce) Things seem to be going well for them now well over a decade later.

  24. Bruce October 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Several years ago in the Sunday magazine section of our paper a secular psychologist (I think) told how early in his practice he would recommend divorce almost anytime a couple came to him with any problem. By the time he wrote the article physical abuse, as I recall, was the only circumstance under which he recommended divorce. He’d found divorced people less happy long term after divorce than before divorce.
    He grew up in a home where dad was always critical. He followed that pattern with his wife and kids. After more than a decade of marriage she could no longer put up with that. They separated for over a year. Fortunately, he got help and they “remarried.” (no divorce) Things seem to be going well for them now well over a decade later.

  25. Roger & Gerri Taylor October 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Hi Wayne:
    Blessings and our thanks for your honest and truthful comments about divorce. Before we came out of the organized church, we too, had many religious, legalistic opinions about divorce until Father’s unconditional love touched both of our lives, our marriage and our ministry. Today we deal with many couples who are struggling in their marriage relationships with the predator/victim mentality. We are thankful that Father has continued to change our hearts about when divorce may be the only option for a healthy resolution in an unhealthy marriage relationship. Thanks again for sharing your heart and the heart of the Father on this subject of divorce.
    Blessings to you and Sara! You both are a great inspiration to so many.
    With warm regards,
    Roger and Gerri Taylor
    Places In The Father’s Heart, Inc.

  26. Roger & Gerri Taylor October 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Hi Wayne:
    Blessings and our thanks for your honest and truthful comments about divorce. Before we came out of the organized church, we too, had many religious, legalistic opinions about divorce until Father’s unconditional love touched both of our lives, our marriage and our ministry. Today we deal with many couples who are struggling in their marriage relationships with the predator/victim mentality. We are thankful that Father has continued to change our hearts about when divorce may be the only option for a healthy resolution in an unhealthy marriage relationship. Thanks again for sharing your heart and the heart of the Father on this subject of divorce.
    Blessings to you and Sara! You both are a great inspiration to so many.
    With warm regards,
    Roger and Gerri Taylor
    Places In The Father’s Heart, Inc.

  27. Val October 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I can’t see divorce ever as a triumph, no matter what the circumstances….I understand that fear for our very life, in physical abuse, or even the worst kind of emotional abuse could make divorce look like a feasible response….but a triumph? We make a covenant with God, filled with hope, love, and dreams….it falls apart? Can only be a sad outcome….can God work all things together for good?…yes, and that is our hope, always. THAT is the source of triumph in the worst of life’s circumstances. God can still transform the lives of such as the apostle Paul, a murderous self righteous man….the worst spouse can be transformed if we can hang on and pray…..if divorce happens, so be it….but one hopes it would be terribly rare in the church, which it is not. It is an epidemic, and we lose credibility because of it. We need to encourage and love those that we know that are wounded by divorce, but never encourage it.

  28. Val October 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I can’t see divorce ever as a triumph, no matter what the circumstances….I understand that fear for our very life, in physical abuse, or even the worst kind of emotional abuse could make divorce look like a feasible response….but a triumph? We make a covenant with God, filled with hope, love, and dreams….it falls apart? Can only be a sad outcome….can God work all things together for good?…yes, and that is our hope, always. THAT is the source of triumph in the worst of life’s circumstances. God can still transform the lives of such as the apostle Paul, a murderous self righteous man….the worst spouse can be transformed if we can hang on and pray…..if divorce happens, so be it….but one hopes it would be terribly rare in the church, which it is not. It is an epidemic, and we lose credibility because of it. We need to encourage and love those that we know that are wounded by divorce, but never encourage it.

  29. CJ January 12, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Your article fully resonates with me. It is challenging finding such encouraging articles that are written from a Christian perspective. I often feel alienated and condemned because I have chosen to divorce, as opposed to enduring in a marriage where abuse destroyed my relationship. Thank you, Mr. Jacobsen.

  30. CJ January 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Your article fully resonates with me. It is challenging finding such encouraging articles that are written from a Christian perspective. I often feel alienated and condemned because I have chosen to divorce, as opposed to enduring in a marriage where abuse destroyed my relationship. Thank you, Mr. Jacobsen.

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