I met with a wife yesterday to help her process what had happened in her marriage. We had been working with this couple for 9 months and 10 days ago, her husband told her that he was done with the marriage and was moving out.  There was another woman and he just couldn’t keep up the charades any longer. He needed to move on and let his wife go. He was convinced that this other relationship was “right” and his marriage had been a mistake. His wife was blindsided by this and the news hit her like a ton of bricks. She described herself as an emotional basket case and was having trouble functioning. She just couldn’t believe that this had happened after so many months of working on their marriage and seeing progress. 

I don’t care how many times I see this in the work we do, it never gets easy. I cried with her as she described the pain. I listened as she talked about feeling like she had failed and I got angry with her as she told me that it wasn’t fair. I don’t think I will ever get use to hearing that a marriage has failed and a couple is getting a divorce. I don’t think I will ever understand how two people can love each other so intently and then come to a place of almost hating each other. I know that the sadness I feel is nothing compared to what God feels when He watches this happen. Marriage is God’s idea and I know He hurts when He sees the brokenness in relationships moving toward divorce. 

I looked at this shattered woman and said to her, “I’m so sorry. I don’t understand either but I know that one day, this will not hurt as much as it does right now. One day, you will have more clarity over this than you do right now. One day, the clouds of confusion will clear and you will be able to breathe again.” Honestly, I’m not sure those words were very comforting. I don’t know that “one day” comes for everyone who gets divorced. I’ve seen many people get stuck in the aftermath of divorce and they don’t heal and move on. As with any crisis, many factors determine if someone will deal with the pain and be able to move past it. Time can be a healer but it can also increase the infectious quality of untreated emotional wounds. 

It makes more sense to me to do everything possible every day of your life to keep your marriage a priority than it does to ignore it and think that the lack of attention won’t hurt the two of you. You see, you don’t wake up one day and just decide to divorce or have an affair or disconnect. It happens every day; a little at a time. I know because Michael and I were on the path to divorce when we had been married 9 years. Daily we made the choice to not deal with the issues. Daily we made the choice to resent and be offended by each other. Daily we made the choice to move further and further apart without even knowing that is what we were doing.  Then, “one day” we looked at each other and said, “I don’t want this anymore. It hurts too much. It doesn’t satisfy me. This is not what marriage is supposed to be like.” I wonder what it would have been like if daily we had made the choice to connect and talk about the tough issues and forgive regularly.  I wonder……

My heart breaks when I see divorce. I don’t think I will ever get to a place where it will be easy to see……

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