A while back I wrote a blog about divorce guilt. I talked about my own experience with guilt after I chose to file for divorce. I recently saw a post where a woman had taken a negative stance on divorce using her religious beliefs as the argument and it got me thinking.
Why is there so much negativity and shame associated with the process of divorce? The obvious reasons, im aware of, but let’s dive a little deeper.
Is it the fear of failure?
All of the above?
I too was the person who believed that divorce was one of the ultimate failures and disappointments to God before reaching a point where it was either leave my toxic marriage, or lose my entire mind. When it comes to divorce, it’s not what you envision as the end result when you get married. You don’t stand at that altar thinking, “hmm, one day we’ll get divorced.” That’s not how it works, but reality is, when it comes to the process of divorce, everyone’s views aren’t the same and when you express your desire to file, some people will try to guilt you into staying. Some people will also use scripture to support their argument. Remember, those aren’t your people.
Let me share a story with you, I can remember the point when my marriage was in complete shambles. I’m kind of hesitant to share this story but I hope it helps someone. I had already left mentally and had shared my intentions to file for divorce when one Sunday we were called to the altar. My spouse at the time, and I were called to the altar to have our marriage prayed over. A surprise altar call during a Sunday morning service… I have never in my entire life been so livid during a prayer. I can remember becoming angrier every minute that prayer continued. I can remember being pissed at every damn person who reached their hand towards that altar. My stomach began to hurt. My palms were sweaty. I was holding one of my children and I can remember my grasp tightening.
I didn’t bow my head.
I didn’t hold his hand.
I didn’t close my eyes and I think I may have been cursing in my head. No, I was in fact cursing in my head standing at that sacred altar.
In that moment, I didn’t want prayer to hold together a failing marriage that I no longer wanted to be in, I wanted prayer and support in my decision to leave.
Yes, prayer changes things, but sometimes we can pray for the wrong things. It was that very moment that my thinking began to change.
Dear church folk,
Please stop encouraging people to stay in toxic marriages after they’ve expressed their desire to leave. After they’ve told you they’re unhappy, and after they’ve turned down your offer for counseling and prayer. All in the name of God and your personal and religious beliefs! It’s selfish, and can be dangerous.
Let me be clear, my stance on divorce has no ties to my thoughts on marriage, and maybe one day I’ll talk about my thoughts on marriage.
I’ll end with this. The ability to file for divorce was MY ticket to freedom. The finalization of my divorce was my answered prayer.