Each of us know someone who has divorced and perhaps those reading these extensions of thought have contemplated filing the ultimate paperwork ourselves. Most of us realize that the decision to continue on this path leads to difficulty, much change, and often exquisite pain. And though this proves the case, we still see marriages falling apart in rapidly increasing numbers, creating a social and moral epidemic such as this world has never known before. The frequency of reckless, needless divorce drives me to my knees in sorrow for this world and for many of the decisions that lead to destroying the family unit. I speak today, my friends, to those who currently contemplate severing this powerful connection. I realize that sometimes divorce proves inevitable, but perhaps we can decide whether our marriage is truly worth saving or not. Come and let us reason together.
My friend, I implore you to ask yourself some vital questions in making this decision. My heart breaks for you and the difficulties you face. Please consider some ideas and ponder deeply what you can do to make a better life for yourself.
We often file because we are angry, or because horrible things have happened. I understand. We may feel justified, and perhaps we most certainly are. But think on this, my dear friend. Have you placed your spouse's needs before your own on a consistent basis? Have you deeply considered how they feel and sought to walk in their shoes in order to better comprehend their perspective? Have you considered that marriage is a sacred union that it is not to be lightly destroyed? Have you listened intently to your children and internalized the repercussions that they will suffer?
So much for the easy ones. Let us continue. What of those who feel that they have accidentally married the wrong person? That is a frightening thought. Ask yourself if you might not work and learn together to become more perfectly united and pray that God, who can do anything, find a way to make you true soul mates in every possible way? Have you worn out your knees in begging the Lord to help you fall more deeply in love with this person and then looked for ways to strengthen your own affection for them?
My dear friends, let us assume you are contemplating divorce because of adultery. My heart weeps as I ask you, have you forgiven your spouse completely? Have you extended mercy and understanding, caring more for the welfare of their soul than for your anger, injury, and pride? Whether they have apologized or not, have you prayed for their soul and vowed before God to do whatever might be necessary to reclaim their sinful spirit? Have you examined prayerfully your own soul and asked the Lord if there has been anything in your own behavior concerning your marriage that has proven wanting? Have you come down to the depths of humility in seeking to learn how you can be a good, strong, wonderful person yourself?
Perhaps he or she has abused you. My dearest friends, I am so sorry. In this case, my dear friends, I love you and I honestly ache to the very center for you. But ask yourselves this. Can they change? Can they take anger management and other therapy classes? Most importantly, can you forgive them and heal completely? Forgiveness should be a given anyway, but healing can prove far more difficult. Can you honestly care more about their spiritual journey than about your own desire to be rid of them immediately? This is a very tricky moment in relationships, for no one should be subject to abuse and yet abusers are in desperate need of love, sometimes very tough love, and are no less human or of divine worth than the rest of us. It is perhaps the most difficult and painful aspect of injured marriage to forgive and in my opinion likely the one that justifies divorce the most.
My friends, do all you can to stick to the commitments you have made. I would bring to your mind a point of logic that we sometimes forget. Let us say that your spouse has made every single mistake in the book repeatedly. Let us assume you are more than justified in filing for divorce. And let us assume that in prayer you feel that God would still not have you file the paperwork. Dear friends, use this as an opportunity to learn to love yourself, to give your all to follow the Lord, and to receive knowledge and blessings at His hands. According to the great justice of God, one day, either your spouse will change and be the person you need him or her to be, or else they will strive to repent and, if finding they simply cannot change and keep injuring you and your family, they may decide the best way to protect you in love and compassion is to create safe distance by filing themselves. Either way, your hands will be clean and God will shower blessings upon your head even as the dew of heaven.