Category: Divorce

Seperation is Not Divorce

When your spouse walks out, is there still hope for your marriage? Separation does not equal divorce. Separation may be the valley of restoration, and the pain you feel may be the labor pains that will give rebirth to your marriage. What happens will be determined by what you and your spouse say and do in the next few weeks and months.

In a very real sense, separation calls for intensive care, much like that given to one in grave physical danger. The condition of your marriage is ‘critical’. Things can go either way at any moment. Be assured, God is concerned about the outcome. Begin each day with prayer for His wisdom. When you ask, you will receive.

Your Marriage is Worth It

Does divorce seem like the best alternative to you? If so, I hope you’ll read my book Desperate Marriages. Divorce, unlike death, does not end contact with the other person, especially if you have children. Nor is divorce a pretty picture financially. Research indicates that 73 % of divorced women experience a decline in standard of living.

One wife said, “Our marriage was bad, but our divorce is even worse. I still have all the responsibilities I had when we were married, but now I have less time and less money.” The effects of divorce linger for a lifetime. So do yourself a favor, call a counselor, read a book, or reach out to a pastor. Your marriage is worth it.

Children and Divorce

When parents divorce, typically children feel intensely rejected. Children get angry at their parents for violating the basic rule of parenthood – parents are supposed to make sacrifices for children, not the other way around. Because we are creatures of memory, we may carry the pain of broken relationships for a lifetime.

After the divorce, most parents plan to continue good relationships with their children, but parent-child relationships are forever altered by divorce. As adults, they often fear that their own marriage will fail. And in fact, the divorce rate for ‘children of divorce’ is higher than for those whose parents stay together. So, do your children a favor, continue to work on your marriage.

Reality Living

Dr. Judith Wallerstein has studied the topic of divorce for more than 20 years. Here are her conclusions. “People want to believe that divorce will relieve all their stresses–back we go to square one and begin our lives anew. But divorce does not wipe the slate clean…Few adults anticipate accurately what lies ahead when they decide to divorce. Life is almost always more arduous and more complicated than they expect.”

I know that if you are in a deeply troubled marriage, you may feel that you have only two options: stay in the marriage and be miserable, or divorce and hope for something better. There is a third alternative. It is what I call “reality living.” You can find out more about it in my book Desperate Marriages.

Negative Approaches

There are three radical and negative approaches to a troubled marriage:  suicide, homicide, and divorce. The first two are considered unthinkable by intelligent, mentally healthy people. On the other hand, divorce is often seen as a humane way of ending the pain of an unhealthy marriage. Some have divorced two, three or more times and are still in search of a happy marriage.

When I did the research for my book Desperate Marriages, I discovered that divorce does not solve problems; it creates problems. Problems that never go away. The answer is not found in running, but in learning. Learn what is behind your spouse’s bad behavior. Then you can ask God for wisdom on how to respond. You can be a part of the solution.

Don't Give Up

Do you feel like giving up on your marriage? I’ve been counseling people with marital struggles for over thirty years. And, often they have no hope. They are living in very difficult marriages. I am under no illusion that I can give a magic formula to bring healing to all such marriages, but I do believe that in every troubled marriage, steps can be taken by one partner, that have the potential for changing the emotional climate between the two of them.

The first step is to make the decision not to give up. Read a book, talk with a counselor or pastor, share with a trusted friend, but don’t give up. I wrote Desperate Marriages for people like you. You can be a  positive ‘change agent’ in a difficult marriage.

Don’t Give Up

Do you feel like giving up on your marriage? I’ve been counseling people with marital struggles for over thirty years. And, often they have no hope. They are living in very difficult marriages. I am under no illusion that I can give a magic formula to bring healing to all such marriages, but I do believe that in every troubled marriage, steps can be taken by one partner, that have the potential for changing the emotional climate between the two of them.

The first step is to make the decision not to give up. Read a book, talk with a counselor or pastor, share with a trusted friend, but don’t give up. I wrote Desperate Marriages for people like you. You can be a  positive ‘change agent’ in a difficult marriage.

Value of Apologizing

I was giving a lecture on the five languages of apology.  At the break a man approached me and said:  “For the first time in my life I understand the value of apologizing.  My father’s philosophy was that ‘apologizing get’s you nowhere.  Do the best you can and never look back.’  That’s pretty much the way I lived until my wife committed adultery.”

“So, what would it take for you to forgive her,” I asked?  “I want her to admit that what she did was wrong and to promise me that she will never do it again.  If I knew that she would never do it again, I think I could forgive her.”

This husband was demonstrating the necessity of apologies.  There are no healthy marriages without apologies and forgiveness.

Love is Gentle

When a couple comes to the point of separation, it is usually with many negative emotions. The temptation is to express these emotions in harsh words and brutal attacks. Nothing pleases Satan more than to see two Christians fighting each other. God’s way is love in the midst of hurt. Christ loved us even when we were killing him.

The scriptures say, ‘love is not rude’. The opposite of rudeness is courtesy. The word means to be ‘friendly minded’ – to treat your spouse as a friend. There is nothing to be gained by arguing and screaming. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). Certainly you need to discuss issues, but not in the attack mode.

Kindness Expressed

In my book, Hope for the Separated, I’m bold to suggest that you should be kind to the spouse who has walked out on you. I know it doesn’t seem natural, but we are called to love our enemies, and love is kind. The word ‘kind’ means ‘to be useful or beneficial’. What can you say or do that would be useful or beneficial to your spouse?

If you are a husband who has left, there are scores of things around the house that you could do for your wife, if she is willing. If your wife has left you, you may still be able to do some things that are ‘beneficial’ to her. What is to be gained by not helping her? You can be God’s agent of love. Love, expressed in kindness, is often the first step toward reconciliation.

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