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Did I Deserve Divorce?

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: DESERVE

Click here to read other great Five Minute Friday responses!


Setting my timer for five minutes, and . . . GO.


He said it was my fault. I had no reason not to believe him. After 13 years I had no reason to doubt his word.


Gaping mouth, eyes wide and filled with tears I wondered how I had gone so wrong. I thought I had done everything right. Well...maybe not everything, but a lot of things.


This was the last thing I expected. The. Last. Thing. And it was my fault??

 

In the weeks after he left, I was sure everyone knew I had ruined my marriage. While I had gained insight in the past month about some of my shortcomings as a wife, I still wasn't clear on how this was all on my shoulders, but surely everyone else would think that was true.


After all, he was the one who had left our home. I was so intolerable that he took the first chance he could to run out the door and never look back.


How would I survive this shame? Everyone at church was staring. I'm sure of it. They could see the scarlet 'D' on my forehead. The former youth pastor's wife was now a cautionary tale. I could almost hear the hushed voices of mothers telling their newly married, young, daughters to pray harder, submit more, and make sure to keep your husband happy so he doesn't leave you.


And then there were the actual people who told me point blank that I needed to pray harder, submit more, and do whatever it took to get him back. They told me that God hated divorce. It was like they were threatened by my very presence. Fearful that it would spread to them.


It was enough to make me leave church in tears week after week and wonder if I could ever go back.

 

Truth 1: When a marriage ends it is likely not for just one reason and is a combination of the decisions made by both people. While one person may choose to end the marriage and the other person desires reconciliation, it takes the will of two people to ultimately put things together again. No amount of prayer, submission, and tears will work if both people aren't committed.


Truth 2: No matter what shame you feel about your circumstances, most Christians have compassion and want to help but often don't know how or what to say. It is our job to help the church understand how to minister and pray for and with us.


Truth 3: I used to think I deserved a blessed life because of my. "right" living. A pastoral husband, a few kids, a nice home, vacations at the beach, contentment. But God doesn't promise this. In fact, he often says, "when" trials come and not "if" trials come. Thankfully His presence in the darkness and the light gives new life in ways we can't imagine in the shallow realms of an easy life. Unincumbered by pain or disruption, we easily turn to ourselves, our spouse, and our status for security. For identity. No longer.

 

So did I "deserve" divorce? I don't think that's the right question.

Once it was decided, the only question left is what ways will God work in and through me to bring about good and growth in the midst of what was broken? He certainly gives more than we deserve.


Psalm 31:21- Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.






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Stephanie Thompson
Stephanie Thompson
07 jul 2021

I didn't write this week but I read some and your title drew me in. I am not divorced but your vulnerability beckoned me. Thank you for sharing about this hard place and your struggles with the church's response. As you said, many in the church don't know how to respond to the face of suffering. Whatever it is. So energy is spent trying to fix it or find a reason for it. But not everything can be understood with human rationale. Compassionate presence is ministry. "Once it was decided, the only question left is what ways will God work in and through me to bring about good and growth in the midst of what was broken?" There lies th…

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Amy L. Boyd
Amy L. Boyd
08 jul 2021
Contestando a

Thank you for reading Stephanie, and for your thoughtful response! I have also been blessed by so many caring and thoughtful people in the church, but as you said, suffering is often something we try to fix or understand. I’m thankful for God’s unending faithfulness through it all!

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LISA BLAIR
LISA BLAIR
02 jul 2021

"He said it was my fault." I'm sad to hear that you were blamed for another's personal choice. The ultimate insult and another thing to be forgiven. May the Lord give you grace to forgive, and forgive and forgive again. And may He give you wisdom in your next steps as you heal and move forward into a life-giving place.

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anita
02 jul 2021

I’m so sorry. I think Christians have done a great job at messing up God’s intention for marriage. They make it about headship and submission instead of bringing God glory. The world doesn’t look at a submissive Christian wife and say, ‘Wow! Only God could make that relationship work!‘. No, they shake their heads in pity and wonder what’s wrong with Christianity. Bringing God glory is two selfish people learning to love with abandon (of their own desires, preferences, and opinions). It’s two people doing more, being more, loving more than either one could do, be, or love on their own. That brings God glory. Not a su missing wife and a husband who Lorda it over her.

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Corinne Rodrigues
Corinne Rodrigues
02 jul 2021

It's so easy to blame ourselves for broken relationships or wonder what we did to deserve heartbreak. But in time, we realize that God is at work within and through us. Thank you for sharing.

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Wayne Winquist
Wayne Winquist
02 jul 2021

Amen to this: "Once it was decided, the only question left is what ways will God work in and through me to bring about good and growth in the midst of what was broken? He certainly gives more than we deserve. " Thanks for sharing your story and your heart.

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