The Lie of Divorce

Traci Jahnke

As my daughter shared some of her hurt and loss due to my divorce from her dad, I thought I would give some insight from my perspective. Please know that my perspective does NOT relate to spouses and children that are in harm’s way and need safety.

I don’t need to share all the details that led to the separation and divorce between me and my first husband. Simply put, both of us treated each other in ways that were not loving, respectful, or encouraging. While there were issues that definitely needed counseling, God could have saved our marriage if I had been willing to surrender it to Him. Friends and co-workers gave the advice I longed to hear: “God wants you to be happy!”  It was far easier to believe them than to listen and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

So, my daughters had to live “two” lives growing up. Suitcases, homework, friends, school and church activities between two households. As an adult, try packing and going on a trip once a week and every other weekend and then process doing that to children. Try living and pleasing parents in two different households, with different rules and environments. Kids and teens just want to live their life with friends, school activities, and family events. But in divorced families, all those parties and events, even just wanting to spend the night at a friend’s house, becomes complicated because it is “dad weekend” or “mom weekend”.  Calls have to be made, compromises have to be bartered, and a trade of equal value is usually involved. The parents don’t want to lose their sacred time with the kids (since they have lost so much) and the kids just want to be “normal”.  It was hard, confusing, and honestly – unfair.

After attending a Divorce Recovery group bible study 2.5 times (the Holy Spirit did pursue me in my accountability), I knew that I had to keep my girls involved in church and with spiritually mature Christians as examples. Unfortunately, I may have been trying to raise my daughters in a Christian moral, manner, but all I ended up being was a legalist. Trust me, by the time, my girls headed to college, they knew exactly how a good Christian girl dressed and acted.  But I had missed the most important thing: showing them the intimacy of knowing Jesus and the joy of loving Him.

I have learned in the years since my divorce that no one comes out unscathed: not children, not the husband or wife, not the families involved. The idea of divorce resulting in a better life for all involved IS A LIE.

I had always heard the quote from Malachi 2:16 that God hates divorce. That is true, but the context of the passage in verses 13-16 is even broader. God’s Spirit was a part of the marriage covenant, joining them together as one flesh, and intended to be a lifetime commitment to each other and their children. “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence” (Malachi 2:16 NKJV).

Violence may seem like a harsh word to describe divorce, and only physical violence may come to mind at first. But I say that divorce is emotional violence that lives on long after the actual dissolution date. God designed lifetime marriage for man and woman and He is serious about covenant.

God forgave me for the sin of divorce; of not fighting for and keeping that covenant.  God gave me moments with Him when His overwhelming mercy for me was very real, I felt it wrapped around me, if that makes sense. But the hurt and consequences still live on. Even as my girls are grown, married and have children of their own, the hurt and separation of their mom and dad will always be a part of life: Christmas, birthdays, weddings, grandchildren. My daughters will never have shared family moments with “mom and dad”. That is the lifetime emotional violence that my divorce caused in my family.

God’s warnings are for our good. Yes, marriage is hard work; getting counseling is uncomfortable.  But divorce is destructive. Don’t believe THE LIE.

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