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When "I Do" Becomes "I Don't"

Laura Petherbridge's book "When "I Do" Becomes "I Don't" offers practical steps for healing during separation and divorce. Have you ever compared divorce to experiencing the death of a loved one? Divorce can sometimes be worse than losing a love one to death as divorce is "chosen abandonment". It's a chosen rejection in life, the layers of loss are multiple in comparison to losing someone to death. You may lose your in-laws, pets, health insurance, income, home, friends, possibly even your church. Therefore the loss is significant. When you experience the death of a loved one, community often grows stronger. When you experience divorce, it does not always happen that way.

What can the church do to minister to the needs of those going through divorce?

Start hosting a Divorce Recovery Support Group. There is a misconception that by ministering to people who go through divorce means they are supporting divorce. God hates divorce, but he doesn't hate divorced people. We need to get this straight. 

How do you walk through rejection and make sense of it?

We live in such an instantaneous world. Hollywood has people hopping in and out of marriage faster than you can get a happymeal. This is unrealistic, it gives the appearance that it is easy to get over a failed marriage. Rejection needs grief. The death of the dream, the death of the covenant and the death of what should have been. We desire to numb it, medicate it or get over as soon as possible. We need to walk through the pain, not around it. Don't numb it with drugs, alcohol, or a new relationship.

What difference does personal faith make in these situations?

Divorce may feel like the ultimate failure. We are fed lies that we are unlovable, we are a loser, fat, ugly, stupid, anything that we feel at the time, we believe. You may be too weak to even pray, but what you can do is turn on music, listen to worship music, and feed your heart the truth and promises of God. You may feel like you can't do this, or that you aren't strong enough but remember the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:9 that says "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness".

What is the biggest mistake someone going through divorce can make?

Getting into another relationship. It feels like it helps, someone to say you are beautiful, to make you feel loved, but you are just delaying the healing process. When you break your foot, shooting it full of numbing drugs to remove the pain will feel better but it prolongs the healing process.

People who re-marry within two years of their divorce have a 82% divorce rate. The best thing you can do after you divorce is to become a whole, healthy, single person again before moving on.

Eyes off you, eyes on God

When you make the choice to focus on God, there is a sense of security in Him as opposed to the focus on what may be falling apart. 

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