Victim of Well-Intentioned Divorcees

I’m pro-marriage.

I won’t condemn someone who chooses another path. I haven’t walked in their shoes.

What I do have a hard time with though are those who have, willingly or unwillingly,  taken the route of divorce and then turn around and tell me that’s what I should do.

I don’t rule out separation at some point but God hasn’t lined things up for me to do what could lead to that.

So the thinking is that if you are abused – leave. Jesus walked away from abuse so we can to. True. Jesus walked away from PHYSICAL abuse. And I agree. If you are being hit – get out NOW. It doesn’t mean divorce, but you need to be safe.

Jesus didn’t always walk away from verbal abuse. Sometimes he told a story to confound them. Sometimes he pointed out their sin and hypocrisy. Of course when you look at the end of his life he didn’t walk away from the physical or verbal abuse at all. He endured it.

I’ve also been told that IF I love my husband, I need to confront his sin. Tell him what’s wrong and confront it and draw a line in the sand and take the consequences. Well…. I’ve confronted my husband before and only was abused more for it (verbally). Others have also confronted him and pretty much have been blown off.  I pick my battles now, based on what’s best for me – not his eternal soul – since he’s made it clear I have no business even thinking about that.

God’s word does say to walk away from a person who is repeatedly unrepentant.  God also hates divorce and he has not made a way for me to separate. So I stay. As I do so, I hear well-meaning Christian people telling me I should leave.

I resent this. Isn’t this my life to live before God? Aren’t I supposed to be following HIM and His Holy Spirit (along with wise counsel? Not everyone tells me to leave!) So why does that mean your choice is also best for me?

Why does this bother me so much? Because they have freedom and I don’t? Well, I’ve seen the cost of that freedom and it doesn’t come cheap.  It bothers me because while I understand how well-intentioned those people are, they are in fact, re-victimizing me all over again. Now I’m not only a victim of my husband’s verbal/emotional abuse, but I’m getting it from people in the church. Just a different group than those who would be condemning me for leaving if I chose that path instead. I can’t win.

So that leaves me in a bit of a no-man’s land (hahaha! Except he’s still here!). I don’t always love my husband. I struggle to pray for him. I don’t always care that much about my marriage. In many ways I’m done. I’ve walked away emotionally and spiritually even though I physically share the same address.

Does that shock you?

I struggle with grace in my circumstances and it can cause me to spin my wheels in my own self-care when I feel that sense of “I’m not doing enough to save my marriage.” I’ve tried. Trust me. I have. For the sake of my own mental and spiritual health I can’t do it any more.

I will treat my husband with respect. I will submit where I can. I will model and try to teach my children to respect their dad even when his actions are anything but deserving of such. And I will try to move on to a full life in the midst of my difficult marriage.

So please, don’t put me down for staying. This is not an easy path to trod, but I do know what the choices are and the consequences and for now, under the authority of the Holy Spirit at work in my heart, this is the path I chose.

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Shoot the Wounded

It is so like us to think we know better than everyone else, isn’t it? After all we make our choices based on the best information we have and are convinced that what’s best for us is best for everyone.

The best car to drive, the best school for our kids to attend (or to home school), the best doctor and medical treatment to pursue, the best political party to vote for, whether or not to vaccinate your kids or not, or to stay married, separate or divorce.

Say what?

I listened to the hurting heart of a woman the other day who had divorced and she was upset because other would say things to her kids about the “why” of the divorce. A “why” that the gossipers didn’t even know. Saying she had an affair (not true). Her kids knew the truth but hearing others cast false aspersions on their mother without knowing the facts of the divorce, was painful for them and her.

Oh, and these were “Christians”.

She said “If someone wants to know why I divorced, they should just ask me, but no one does.”

I told her, “In my opinion, it’s none of my business. If you want to share it with me, great, but I don’t need to know what happened and I have no right to judge you because I didn’t walk in your shoes.”

Got that? I didn’t live in her house, in her marriage, and face the challenges she did. I am not the one responsible before God for her choices (or that of her spouse) either. She and her ex-husband are. I can pray for them in their hurt, that God can somehow be glorified in the midst of the pain and brokenness and maybe even bring about reconciliation if that’s his will. But I have no right to judge her or treat her with disrespect because of her divorced status.

If she had come to me before the breakup and we had talked I might have been able to encourage her to stay. I’m pro-marriage. But I’ve done that before with women and listened and prayed and still watched them walk away. I still don’t judge because I knew the depth of the pain and suffering they had endured. I also know that divorce brings its own ugly set of problems. It is not a path to be undertaken lightly.

The irony is how quickly some Christians will recommend divorce to people in difficult marriages (and look down on them for staying). So we tell people to divorce but then we condemn them when they do.  Bi-polar Christianity? Lord, please save us from well-intentioned Christians!

And gossip. Let’s not forget that ALL sin is detestable to God. ALL SIN. Gossip being one of them. And slander. Telling others that someone had an affair when you don’t know that for a fact – well it’s slander. Gossip is as much a sin in God’s eyes as divorce is.

If we are to be brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to have compassion. Yes, call out sin but do it to that person, one on one (Matthew 18 anyone?), you don’t blab it to all and sundry. Beyond that, pray for them. Support them as human beings who need to know and understand God’s love in the midst of their pain. Be Christ to them.

Now, if they are persisting in sin and are unrepentant about what’s happening, then don’t be a party to that. If you see someone hurting, be careful not to judge them. If you want to know the story, ask, but be prepared then to extend Christ’s love even if you don’t agree with their choices. If necessary speak the truth in love. In spite of what they may tell you, you still didn’t live in that house, in that marriage and I suspect much will be left unsaid.

What about you? Any thoughts on this? Have you felt the weight of condemnation from well intentioned “Christians?” I know I have.

Lilly Grace