A punch to the gut. A really painful punch. Tim literally doubled-over when his wife announced her decision to divorce.
Tim then spent the next week trying to get his bearings. What did I do wrong? How can this be happening? Why won’t she listen?
Grasping for answers, one morning Tim set out for his church to seek guidance from his trusted pastor. Then, he pulled to the side of the road stunned by yet another realization.
He was Christian and Christians don’t divorce. How could he explain this to his pastor? Would his pastor even listen? Would he lose his church family, too?
Divorce changes every layer of life. For people of faith, this includes their walk with God and with fellow believers.
Because faith defines identity, values, and purpose believers struggle deeply with divorces impact on these areas of personhood.
While faith issues prove difficult to resolve, faith itself can be a lifeline. Many discover that the crisis in their marriage actually leads to a richer, deeper walk with God. Faith can:
Faith teachings can offer a path to reconciliation.
The major faiths (Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and others) all offer key teachings on marriage. For couples considering divorce, the tenets of their faith may offer a route for reconciliation.
Imams, rabbis, ministers, and priests offer invaluable support when they guide couples to consider their own patterns in light of religious teaching. Common questions include:
- Have I truly forgiven my spouse for past wrongs? Or, am I holding onto hurt and building walls in the process?
- Have I made my spouse the priority in my life or let other priorities push him/her aside?
- Do we as a couple purposely seek God’s help in working through conflict?
Because each faith tradition offers differing insights, the leaders of those faiths will speak far more eloquently about how they can help than this newsletter.
The hope is that couples facing marital trials find guidance and support from their faith community.
Faith can signal when the relationship is over.
Faith tenets define marriage as it should be. As believers turn to their faith’s definition of God’s design for marriage, they often realize their marriage doesn’t fit. And they can’t find a way to do so.
In those moments, the divorce has already happened. The legal process merely brings out this truth. And helps people begin again from a fresh start.
The very function of faith is to guide people in how to live in the hardest moments and where to find help to do so. God offers His grace specifically for the times His children can’t make life work. God guides the way through the brokenness to a new life, one He provides.
If divorce is coming, faith can guide the process.
In the Christian faith, believers are urged to feed, clothe, and serve their worst enemies. A teaching true for enemies will surely apply to the person one pledged to love for life.
Many other faith tenets likewise guide followers on how to treat their spouse as they move through divorce. In heeding these, followers find security, grow in their faith, and even work with their spouse to create a healthier future, for themselves and their children.
Tim made it to his appointment with his pastor. He found compassion, support, and wisdom. A combination that supported him through the divorce and into hope.