Divorce: Who's to Blame When the Marriage Ends
How Could it Have Happened?
Not only had the knot become untied, but the ends were irreparably frayed. Finding an attorney was not the hard part. Facing the judge was not the hard part, as humiliating as that is. The hardest part of getting a divorce came after the gavel dropped-- facing the next morning and the morning after that and the morning after that. It was quite possibly the most painful thing I have ever endured thus far in life, including burying both my parents and all my grandparents. I did not believe in divorce. I did not want to be a divorcee. I wanted a solution to the chaos. I needed shelter from the storm. I needed peace. I needed a husband, "a caretaker of the vineyard." Half of me, the half that was him, was dying and willing to die, to literally lie down and let life go by day after day. Whether he took his own life, as he threatened, or just lay down and quit, either way death was taking hold. And I, for one, still had enough fight in me not to go down with the ship.
The breaking of the soul tie can be crushing and debilitating, especially if you still loved your spouse. One of the biggest indictments on my marriage came four months into the marriage counseling we took part in as a last ditch measure to save our family. Our counselor looked at us and with complete and total honesty said it was the saddest situation he had ever seen in his career. Indeed, it is sad when even your marriage counselor does not see a happy ending. And even then, not one counselor, but two, deemed it a lost cause. "You are going to have to live with it, or not. Your choice," one said to me. What a wakeup call. I was devastated. I was mortified. And yes, I was scared spitless.
I was weary from the struggle, the micro managing, the covering up, the holding it together. I was slowly but surely losing every ounce of self-respect, every speck of good sense, and every bit of faith I had. I took what some call the easy way out. But those who would judge will never understand. I took the only way out. To have stayed would have been destructive to three lives--three souls hung in the balance. I read every scripture I could find on the subject. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for healing. I repented of all I knew to repent. But I could not live in peace with my spouse. Everything in me contradicted everything he was. We were no longer one. I had long been abandoned; there was nothing left to do but to bury the dead carcass of the twelve-year marriage.
Both to Blame
I will concede that two people who call themselves Christians should be able to avoid divorce, should want to avoid divorce, should strive to avoid it if they can. I will even concede that if and when it comes down to a split that sin is at the root, and not only sin, but lack of faith. Even if you have biblical grounds, and I felt that I did, it is not an easy choice we make. As Christians, we are to forgive, be long suffering, gentle, loving, meek, humble. We are to go the extra mile. We are to trust God to heal our marriages, save our spouses, and give us a long and prosperous life together. So I had to come to terms with my lack of faith. I had to repent of some things that were weighing me down. I had to get real with myself and my part in the chaos. That's a tough thing to do when someone has hurt you. Ultimately, I knew that I could forgive. It would take time. It would take healing. But I did not know if I could be strong enough for the both of us without succumbing to the darkness that invaded our home. I also had a young child to care for, to raise, to nurture in the admonition of Christ. Either choice I made had the potential to make or break this beautiful gift God had given us. The weight was heavy, the burden of the decision. It was a choice I had to make for the greater good. If I was wrong, then I ask God to be merciful.
In the Hands of a Merciful God
I pray each day that I find myself in the hands of a merciful God, that my former spouse finds himself there at the feet of Jesus as well. I pray for his health and happiness and well being. When the anger tends to surface, I try to pray, "Lord, don't let it consume me. Help me let it go." When he remarried, I went through a long stage of adjustment, of grieving. I just could not believe that he had picked up the pieces, found his way out of the black hole, and was actually living again. It was bittersweet. Hadn't I prayed for him find the will to live again? What did I want him to do, lie languishing in his depression and rot? This, the father of my child, the man I obviously fell in love with at some point--the man I was once one with, had somehow managed to put it behind him and move on while the mourning in me continued. I could let this destroy me, or I could be thankful that he had not died. For as long as there was breath in him, there was, indeed, hope for his soul. And mine as well. There is hope for our souls. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin, though some would like to put that mantle on you. If you find yourself already there, it's done. Repent, and in the words of Christ, "Go and sin no more." If you are at the crossroads of making a decision, I pray that God will give you wisdom and strength and faith for the journey that lies ahead. He loves you. He wants you to live in peace and be an overcomer.