Rhett Smith is a marriage and family therapist, and has seen his fair share of families fall apart. Even though working with couples can be incredibly rewarding and beautiful, he writes, it’s painful to watch when marriages crumble right before his eyes. In Smith’s Relevant Magazine article “3 Misconceptions Christians Have About Divorce” he shares misguided thoughts common to Christians dealing with divorce or watching it from an outside perspective.
The first myth is that true Christians don’t get divorced. Smith writes that even though we may live under the assumption that something is broken or faulty in the faith of the divorcee – it’s just as often another example of the broken and sinful world in which we live.
“Marriages are not exempted from the destruction of this world, even if two faithful Christians are a part of it. People who go through a divorce are not worse or less spiritual than any of us. We have all entered into relationships and decisions that have fallen apart and destroyed the lives of people around us.
In many ways, the falling apart of a marriage is a reminder not of some judgment we need to place on that couple or person, but rather of the brokenness we find in our humanity together and the grace of God to bring new life out of it.”
Unfortunately, we see that Christians fail each other just as regularly as non-Christians. Whether it’s pastors who fail to preach about and against domestic abuse, or spouses who cheat, marriages (Christian or not) face many obstacles and hurdles to overcome
Another myth Smith finds prevalent is that once you’re considering divorce, it’s already too late. Not so, he insists.
“I have had the honor of watching marriages that seemed destined for divorce be transformed.”
Crosswalk.com is full of transformative stories of Christ restoring marriages that seemed beyond saving. Justin and Trisha Davis discuss rebuilding their marriage and learning to forgive each other after an affair. All-star baseball player Darryl Strawberry and his wife Tracy share their testimony of how Christ helped them overcome insurmountable obstacles. Dr. David Hawkins, marriage counselor and weekly contributor to Crosswalk, shares many stories of how couples overcome huge difficulties in marriage, like addiction.
The final myth that Smith points to is that many Christians believe that living in a destructive marriage is better than getting a divorce.
“Just because you are not divorced does not mean that your marriage is glorifying to God. Don’t just co-exist in a poisonous, unhealthy, potentially dangerous marriage for the sake of not divorcing. What God desires is that you thrive in marriage that is glorifying to Him. Take the steps to do that by reaching out for help.”
Crosswalk author Elisabeth Klein came face to face with this reality when her difficult marriage of almost twenty years finally ended in her husband filing for divorce. After years of trying to preserve her marriage in an increasingly abusive home situation, she now writes words of hope and encouragement to other women struggling with difficult marriages, or living the chaotic aftermath of divorce.
In her article You’re Going to Be Okay: An Open Letter to Daughters of Divorce or Separation, Klein writes:
“I know this is a very difficult time in our family. Trust me, I know. I know that everything feels shaky and uncertain. And I know that you are probably feeling everything from scared to angry to wounded and betrayed by the two people you thought would never hurt you. Can I tell you I’m sorry? I’m sorry for failing in the one relationship that was supposed to be your model for your future. I am sorry that my weaknesses are causing you pain. I hope you’ll see one day that in my choices and decisions always, I’ve always had your best interest in mind. I am truly doing what I think is right. But I know it still hurts. A lot…
…I know we didn’t see this coming…we wouldn’t have planned this for our family. But darling girl, we will be taken care of by a Heavenly Father who cares about every detail of our lives and our hearts. Hold onto his hand, and he will hold you close.”
Smith ends his article by sharing,
“If you have been through a divorce, know that God does have a plan for you. God’s plan and hope for our lives is often birthed out of our seasons in the wilderness where we have encountered brokenness, destruction and suffering. If you are in the wilderness suffering from divorce, know that God is at work in your life. Reach out for help by entering into counseling, joining a grief/recovery group and walking alongside compassionate friends.”
Have you wondered how to show love and support to friends going through divorce? Watch these words of advice from Nicole Unice. Or has divorce reached into your own family? Check out the divorce and remarriage channel on Crosswalk.com for hundreds of resources.
This article is part of our larger resource: The Christian Woman’s Guide to Starting Over after Divorce: 7 In-Depth Steps to Take Starting Today. If you’re going through a divorce or are already divorced and looking for more resources, be sure to visit our guide!
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor at Crosswalk.com
Publication date: August 27, 2014