Remember very few if any people enter a marriage expecting that it will end other than by the death of one party.
Someone has said that the end of a marriage is like a death without a funeral.
There are so many feelings that go along with separation and eventual divorce – from shock and bewilderment through rage and anger, despair, intense sadness and grief. There may be the added pain of having been betrayed, or of causing something to happen that you never believed you would do. Shame, blame, guilt, the desire for revenge, suicidal thoughts, hopelessness about the future and fear can also be part of the picture. There can be times of great hope followed by intense disappointment. And sometimes it all happens in small increments so that the distress builds up over a long period of time. No wonder it is one of the most distressing times of anyone’s life.
Remember very few, if any, people enter a marriage expecting that it will end other than by the death of one party.
For those going through these feelings, a caring friend who doesn’t judge but instead listens with an open mind and heart can feel like a lifesaver. Someone who goes out of their way to keep in touch, who is reliable for practical support, who includes them in social activities and doesn’t treat them like a pariah and who understands the need for confidentiality – these are very important and much needed things. Sometimes it’s the practical help that is crucial – with children, for instance if there are new roles as single parent to deal with.
This can be a time when going to church can feel like a very hard thing to do – try to imagine what this would be like. Gossip and rumour, feeling that all eyes are on you – these things really hurt. A warm welcome without judgement or expectations is what is needed.
Words hurt too, think about your words before you speak. Remember you almost certainly do not know the whole story, so don’t make pronouncements on what should happen. If you side with one person at the exclusion of seeing the other person’s point of view, life might be very difficult if they ever do reunite. Think carefully about who really needs your help.
God knows our deepest thoughts and needs, and welcomes us when we turn to him. Where forgiveness is needed, it’s God who can begin that process in us – but it’s a long process.