When one is faced with the potential breakup of their family, many emotions flood their minds. How am I to survive (both emotionally and physically)? What do I tell the kids, parents, and the in-laws? Whom can I lean on? Whom can I trust? Where is there reliable help and advice? So many questions can cause one to fold under the weight of such life altering changes in a breakup of one’s family. Your family’s future and emotional well-being is dependent upon where you take these challenges in seeking the needed help.
Our options are family, friends, counselors, church leaders, and legal advice. None of them are sufficient in themselves to hold all the answers. All too often in the modern world, especially where no fault divorce laws exist, divorce seems to be the easy and only open option. Mediation is often long and drawn out, often leading to more frustration and hurt. Divorce allows a legal way out of one’s marriage but it does not answer the questions of the emotional impact on family members, questions about the physical support of a divided family, and where do I (we and the family) go from here?
What about the assault on our religious views? Survival is upper most on one’s mind when presented with the meltdown of our family relationships where once there was a husband and wife working together as one, sharing the load of child rearing, and providing the physical and emotional support of each family member. Almost always, divorce becomes the easy option for the partner who feels that their life is centered on the notion that “it’s all about me” and not “about us.”
Facing the breakup of my own marriage (we were both widowed and we married when we were in our 60s), a number of the things mentioned above did not come into play as our children were grown and we were both financially secure. We each were desirous of a new partner relationship, a significant other with whom we could share the balance of our senior years.
What I was not ready for were the feelings of abandonment, of rejection, of betrayal, of hurt and pain, and finally the feelings of being just a frank failure when our marriage fell apart. My wife, fed up with my ungodly behavior from time to time, got the divorce that seemed to be the only answer for her pain and suffering. My failure as a person, a husband, resulted in failure in our marriage, and in our relationship became very real to me personally as I had never experienced failure before, not in school, not in my work, and especially not in my prior marriage. A look into God’s Word reveals much.
Many people are suffering — crushed by the weight of their troubles. But the Lord is a refuge for them, a safe place they can run to. Psalm 9:9 (ERV)
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)
Jesus was full of pain; he struggled hard in prayer. Sweat dripped from his face like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:44 (ERV)
In Jesus Christ, we find our refuge. He knows our pain as He frequently suffered and experienced emotional pain during His ministry. Then there was the physical pain of the events surrounding His trip to the Cross. On Calvary, He suffered the pain and agony of rejection, having been deserted by His Father in His greatest hour of need.
At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Mark 15:33-34 (MSG)
The fact is, it was our suffering he took on himself; he bore our pain. But we thought that God was punishing him, that God was beating him for something he did. Isaiah 53:4 (ERV)
The ultimate survival after the life changing events in one’s marriage mentioned above is dependent upon one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Understand this, Jesus Christ suffered and died for you and me. Through His love for us, He knew that we could not bear up under our troubles. The above scriptures speak to this: pain, suffering, and abandonment. For me, my faith was weak, but it allowed me a place to grow, to rise above the pain I was experiencing. The positive aspect of my divorce was that the pain and suffering I went through led me into a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Had Jesus Christ been at the center of this new marriage, the outcome would have been quite different.
Jesus calls you and I to rise above our pain, our suffering, and witness to a fallen world the facts of the Good News…that Jesus is Lord and Savior and belief in Him, seeking His forgiveness, leads a new believer to Eternal Life with Him.
Standing firm on the covenant marriage vows that my wife and I exchanged, (vows witnessed by God), until we are parted by death.
Ben in Texas