Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Divorce is often thought of as a dirty word. Perhaps not as much in our culture today as it used to be. According to statistics, about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Comparatively, in the 50’s, when the divorce rate was around 20 percent, a famous healing evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman was invited to a certain church to preach. Someone informed the head pastor who invited her that Ms Kuhlman had been divorced. You would think she was some sort of mass murderer or child molester, as the pastor walked straight to the podium, grabbed her hand, and shamefully escorted her out of the church. Leaving the shocked members, quietly whispering among each other, wondering what in Jesus’ name was going on!
While the stigma of divorce has changed since the 50’s there are still segments of society that believe all divorce is bad and sinful. Some claim the often quoted scripture: “God hates divorce!” And use it as their whipping tool and baton to judge those who’ve been through divorce.
No one goes into a marriage with the intent of ending it unless you have nefarious motives. Most people get married, “Till death do them part”. How could such high expectation of marital bliss and harmony take, in some cases, such an ugly and contentious turn?
One reason is this: while God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore, we are not! Human beings change; stress, tragedy, wealth, job loss, children and a host of life events can either bring out the best or the worst in us.
A close friend of mine had married her college sweetheart right after graduating. They went on to get their post graduate degrees. My friend, a master’s degree and her husband, a doctorate. They had their first child, a daughter, and life was great. When they both started looking for job opportunities, she found a great paying job, one that enabled them to afford the good things in life. Sadly, as much as her husband tried, the only positions he found were all below his excellent qualifications. He didn’t cope well with the stress and this was when their marital troubles began. The once cheerful and charming man who I grew up admiring had now turned into a raging lunatic!
It started with condescending and “funny” verbal jabs, over time escalating into full-blown
body shots; my friend had become his regular punching bag! In spite of the constant and escalating horrible state of affairs, she remained the eternal optimist. “He is just going through a rough time, things will get better“, she told herself. For years she hid her pain and made excuses for the occasional swollen lips, black eyes and bruises.
She wasn’t able to fool everyone thankfully. Her father, an attorney with a keen eye, finally approached her, encouraging her to open up. She did. And he did what most loving fathers do. He confronted the husband and son-in-law at the time and sternly warned him that if the abuse continued, he would kill him with his bare hands. Sadly and predictably, the abuse continued, it was just more carefully concealed. My friend, wanting the marriage to work at all costs, having had two more children with him, was not willing to file for divorce.
While her loyalty was commendable, it was sorely misplaced. Loyalty to a false ideal is not wisdom. She was loyal to what once was but not what is. The man had changed and there was no turning back. The once beautiful marriage made in heaven had been permanently hijacked and transformed into Its hellish form.
My friend knew she had to leave, however, she did not have the strength to make the decision. She was either going to sacrifice her own life by staying in this hellish marriage or be given the opportunity to have a new one. Fortunately she did not have to make a decision, it was divinely made for her; for reasons inexplicable till this day, the husband himself filed for divorce and left her alone with their three children.
Is this the only exception? It isn’t. Many go through their own version of a marriage gone bad. Even God cannot change the mind of someone who doesn’t desire to change. Humans still have free will and can exercise it in whatever way they desire.
Divorce is divine when your marriage has turned hellish without any hope of reconciliation. Divorce is divine when all you can do is make excuses for inexcusable behavior and remember the “good old days”. Divorce is divine if you are already separated from your spouse in your soul and staying together for other people’s sake. Divorce is divine when you truly know in the depths of your heart that It is time to say goodbye. Divorce is divine when it shuts the door to abuse and opens the door to freedom.
Don’t listen to the opinions of others, no matter how well meaning they are. They don’t live your life. How do you know heaven has not destined something better for you?
What about the poor children some ask. In all truth, they will be fine. Our trust and hope should be in the Lord, not our marriage.
Many years have now passed, my friend’s children are thriving adults, very responsible and have loving families of their own. They didn’t become degenerate bums or end up irreparably scarred as some naysayers want us to believe.
Begin to listen to your heart instead of listening to others and start trusting God. Some religious voices may judge you but at the end, only God is our true judge. He too knows when to fold them, hold them, or divinely walk away.