Courageous Divorce

Courageous-the-movieI’ve seen the movie Courageous twice now, once with my family and once with my church men’s group, and I thoroughly enjoyed it both times.  In both viewings, I tensed at the action, fought back tears at the sorrow, and laughed out loud at the jokes!

Any movie that draws me into the story enough to experience such a broad spectrum of human emotion is a good movie.  Add that the movie also strongly encourages a deep abiding faith in God and the courage to trust Him through all of life’s difficult circumstances, and I would have to call Courageous a great movie.  If you’ve been wondering whether to go see it, do.  I highly recommend it!

Having established that I like the movie, Courageous, I now intend to point out a couple of issues, using this movie as an illustration.  Please understand, it is not my intent to criticize the movie, nor the producers, Sherwood Pictures, who have produced an outstandingly good family movie.  Rather, to the extent that the movie reflects attitudes and perspectives common within the Christian church, I would like to point out some issues with those common attitudes and perspectives, particularly as it relates to the topic of divorce.  The movie simply provides opportunity to point out these errors using fictional characters rather than by harshly judging the words, actions and motives of real live Christian believers.

The importance of a father’s involvement in a child’s life is a strong theme throughout the movie, as well as the need for all fathers to recognize the importance of their role as the responsibly involved parents that God has called them to be.  This is a good important message and was well presented through this movie.

In presenting this important message, the movie also portrays a no-excuses zero-tolerance attitude toward divorce. In one scene, where the group of men are sitting in the backyard talking about their fathers, Nathan Hayes, the likeable no-nonsense character played by Ken Bevel, emphatically states, “Divorce happens because you make it an option!”

I’ve heard the same view expressed, that “Divorce is not an option for a Christian,” many times throughout my life.  Often, it was being pronounced from a pulpit, by a man viewed as an authority figure, and accompanied by scripture quoted in a manner appearing to support the statement. For a child being raised in church, these are powerful words, especially when spoken in a manner appearing to carry the authority of scripture.

The problem with this viewpoint, is that it is simply not true.  Both in our civil courts and in scripture, divorce is upheld as a valid option.  Granted it is an option that should not be exercised lightly, just as matrimony should not be entered into lightly, but it is an option, and sometimes a necessity.  Portraying divorce as a non-option for Christians is a dangerously legalistic position to hold.

First of all, from a purely practical viewpoint of human nature and human relationships, there are many instances where divorce is not even optional for one of the marriage partners, but something that has been imposed on them by their prior spouse, without their consent.  There are also many instances where divorce is a necessity, because one partner has repeatedly violated the marriage covenant, using it as a means of inflicting bondage and abuse against their spouse.

For people in, or emerging through, either of these situations, telling them “Divorce is not an option,” is of no benefit, and great potential harm. And, for these people, the statement that, “Divorce happens because you make it an option,” is nothing other than a horrendously cruel lie.

Secondly, and more importantly, this attitude that, “Divorce is not an option for a Christian,” is not supported by scripture.  Rather, it is directly contradictory to scripture.  The law given to Moses not only specifically permits divorce, but also provides instruction on how to ensure the divorce is justly carried out in a manner that leaves neither partner in obligation to the other, but both free to pursue their separate lives and to marry someone else (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).

Matthew 19:3-9 describes a scene wherein some Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus with a legal question.  They asked Jesus, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”  They were attempting to trap Jesus by limiting the potential answers.  They didn’t ask if there were ever a potential situation where divorce might be necessary or the best choice, but whether it was lawful “for any reason at all”…because his wife burned his toast…or because he found another woman more desirable.

The Pharisees were attempting to trap Jesus into either saying a man could divorce his wife for any reason whatsoever no matter how frivolous, or else contradicting the law given to Moses by saying divorce is never an option.

Jesus artfully avoided the trap by both upholding the sanctity of the marriage covenant and simultaneously upholding the law given to Moses, explaining that divorce becomes necessary when one marriage partner’s heart has become hardened against their spouse.  He then went on to provide a specific example (immoral behavior) of when a divorce is not only justified, but expected, as well as a specific example (divorcing one’s spouse for the specific purpose of marrying another) that is equated to adultery.

Isn’t it sad, that many people in today’s Christian church have fallen into the same trap that Jesus so carefully avoided?  Rather than embracing both the sanctity of marriage and the necessity of provision for just divorce, as Jesus did, today’s church often falls into the trap set by the Pharisees.  Viewing the complexity of human marital relations as a black and white issue with only two options, either for or against divorce, they proclaim “Divorce is not an option for a believer!” in direct contradiction of scripture.

See, while the movie Courageous has done a fantastic job encouraging men toward courageously fulfilling their God-designed roles as husbands and fathers, it has also presented an underlying theme indicating that divorce is never acceptable under any circumstances, and that anyone who has experienced divorce has acted uncourageously and dishonorably, in opposition to the will of God.  Unfortunately, in presenting this underlying theme, the movie simply reflects an erroneous view commonly held by many Christian believers.

Sometimes divorce is God’s direct will for a given situation, as evidenced by Jeremiah 3:6-10, where God tells Jeremiah that God, Himself, has divorced the ten northern tribes of the kingdom of Israel, allowing them to be led away into captivity and dispersed among the nations (though not the two southern tribes of the kingdom of Judah who are the ancestors of modern-day Israel).  God, Himself, because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, divorced the nation whom He had once called His own by blood covenant.

Since God does not act outside His own will, clearly, divorce does not always equate to ungodliness, nor to falling short of God’s will in a given situation.  Sometimes, divorce requires more integrity and courage than choosing to follow the conventions of church mores that may be in opposition to the leading of The Holy Spirit, in a given situation.

Early in the movie, I was encouraged by the fact that one of the men in the close-knit group (Shane Fuller, played by Kevin Downes) was a single father with the commonly court-ordered every-other-weekend child custody visitation schedule.  The movie shows this single dad signing the same resolution and participating in the same ceremony as the other men.  “Cool!” I thought, “They’re portraying a father walking in godliness, through a post-divorce custody agreement!”

But, no, it was not to be.  The writers chose Shane Fuller, the single dad, the one person in the group who had experienced divorce, to be the bad guy…the man lacking integrity, who failed to fulfill his solemn oath, stole drugs, and wound up in prison.

Why not?  He’s a convenient villain, right?  Obviously, he lacks integrity and commitment to solemn oaths, as demonstrated by having divorced his wife, right?  And he’s obviously not very involved with his kids, since he only sees them two days out of fourteen.  Perfect choice for an example of poor integrity, right?

NO!  NOT RIGHT!  Terribly wrong, in fact!  Yet, sadly, that is how many people within the Christian church view those of us who have experienced divorce.

Now, I doubt the writers intentionally made a decision to portray “divorced” men as untrustworthy, or to villainize those who have experienced divorce.  I also doubt they even considered that the movie might be viewed as portraying that perspective.

And that is, perhaps, the saddest truth of all, in this situation.  The viewpoint that “divorce is not an option for a Christian” is so ingrained in the thinking of many in today’s Christian church that we don’t even realize we’re legalisticly contradicting scripture by our words, actions and attitudes.  We don’t even realize we are pushing godly men and women away from the body of Christ, treating them as untrustworthy or ungodly, simply on the basis that they have previously experienced divorce.

Too often, we do not even consider that their divorce may have been not only just and necessary, but also God’s direct will for the circumstances.  We seem to arbitrarily assume that everyone who has experienced divorce was acting outside of God’s will in an act of faithlessness, though this assumption is not supported by God’s word.

This legalistic attitude toward divorce, and believers who have experienced divorce, has resulted in many people becoming disenfranchised and ceasing church attendance all together.  Worse, many, believing God to have the same legalistic view, feel disillusioned with God Himself, and spend many years avoiding Him.

Passionately following God’s calling requires courage and integrity, in all circumstances.  Sacrificial love toward a spouse and children within the bounds of marriage requires courage and integrity.  Walking in godliness in the continuance of sacrificial love toward children, through divorce and child custody agreements, requires courage and integrity.

A courageous and just divorce is no less godly than a courageous and loving marriage, when based on faith in Christ and the leading of The Holy Spirit.

What example have you seen of a man or woman walking in courageous godliness through a divorce? 

Or, if you have personally experienced divorce, have you found that walking in godliness through a divorce requires courage, honor and integrity?

 

[This post linked to God-Bumps, Beholding Glory, Graceful, Wellspring, Seedlings ]

45 thoughts on “Courageous Divorce

  1. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I read and reviewed the book, which was good.

    The church has a lot of weaknesses, and most of the message offered by its members is what I call “bumper sticker theology”. It consists of vapid cliches that are meaningless.

    I’m not divorced. I’m in a difficult situation where the standard “textbook” Churchian marriage advice is useless, and it’s very frustrating. I’m in a small group that’s going through a marriage study. I almost blew my lid one week, not at the people in the group, but at the shallow study guide we were using.

    In the American church, we socialize ourselves into some silly interpretations of how the Bible says to live our lives and advise others. We need to spend more time listening to each other and helping each other and less time spouting cliched bumper sticker slogans.

    • Good to hear from you, Eric! I see your comments over on Michael Hyatt’s blog from time to time, but haven’t chatted with you in a while.

      That’s a new term for me, “bumper sticker theology,” but it is actually quite descriptive of some of the issues in today’s church.

      We do sometimes seem to be plagued with an abundance of people drawing hard-lines on cliches without seeming to really think through what it means or whether it fits the situation.

      Thanks for the insight!

      • Thanks, Joe. It has been a while since we’ve chatted.

        I coined “bumper sticker theology” several years ago, along with its cousin “bumper sticker politics”. I should have trademarked them. I also use the term “Sunday school theology”. Far too many issues in the church have been reduced to silly slogans. Often, it’s all we offer each other even in times of great crisis. When I was laid off 2 years ago, the best I got from people was “God will provide”. Great, I know that. What about some leads?

        I feel the urge to respond with violence when somebody loses a child, and somebody else thinks “God must have needed another angel” is somehow helpful.

        In the church we socialize each other to do and say some silly things. I could go on for several paragraphs. I started skipping worship service because of the belief that it needs to be geared toward either visitors or people who refuse to grow in the faith. It offers little to those of us who know how to find Habakkuk and can tell you what’s in it. I’ve been meeting with a small group instead. I get a lot more out of it.

        • You know, the last few months, I’ve found myself becoming more gracious toward people making these crazy statements and assumptions, while becoming more vocal about my own position.

          I know that sounds backwards. I’m able to have more grace for them, because I remember where I came from and some of the crazy “bumper-sticker theology” that I once spouted (and maybe still do in areas I don’t see as clearly). Yet, I’ve been finding my own voice in becoming more vocal, with no real expectations of changing anyone else’s opinion, just trying to be clear in expressing my own viewpoint.

          Like this post, for example…

          Thanks for your perspective, Eric! I really think discussing some of these things with you the last couple of months has helped me to gain a better perspective.

          • Same here, Joe. It’s helped me a lot too. I don’t know if it’s human nature or American culture, but church life has gotten fairly shallow when people face real life events that don’t fit into a bumper sticker.

            One thing I’ve tried to take away from Job is his friends when I find brothers facing trouble. We beat up on Job’s friends, but they did come to sit with him, quietly, for 7 days. It was when Job started talking that they began refuting him, and it snowballed. I wonder if Job has just said “Thanks, guys, I’m good now. I appreciate the support”, they might have gone home and our Bibles would have only had 65 books.

            So I try to approach brothers like that. Got trouble? I’ll listen. That’s what I’d want. Just let me talk. Be patient, let me face my trouble, and let God work it out. Don’t spout a bumper sticker worth of advice and go home, thinking you solved the problem. And I promise not to do the same.

            When I got laid off two years ago, somebody at church actually asked me “You know you can find jobs in the newspaper, right?” It took all my willpower not to tear into him. “Wow, I made it into my late 30’s, as a military veteran who has had several jobs, and NOBODY TOLD ME THERE WERE JOBS IN THE PAPER!!!!! Where have you been all my life!?” I kept quiet, but I was ticked. I’m not always successful, but I try not to do the same thing to others. If your problems are that clear cut, you’re leaving something out.

            I appreciate our discussion.

          • What is the title of your book? You can reply through my email address. I went through a divorce after being married for 34 years. It was tough, but the Lord brought me through it!!!

            • Thank you Joe for your reply! It isn’t so much that I “stayed close” to the Lord through my divorce, but He “stayed close” to me!! that made all the difference, because I was ready to just give up. His Spirit led me to the story about the Hebrew children in Daniel 3:17-18. They knew that God was able to deliver them, and I knew that God was able to restore my marriage, but “even if He did not” I was determined to put my trust in HIM!! Like it says in Pro.3:5-6 “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path! I am now remarried for 8 years to a wonderful lady from the Philippines, and I thank the Lord for her in my life!!! I have only one regret about my first marriage, and it is this–I was happy, but she was not!!

            • It sounds like you and I have traveled similar paths, Tom. I could have written much of what you did, including the favorite passage.

              You caught me by surprise, though, with your last sentence, “I have only one regret about my first marriage, and it is this–I was happy, but she was not!!” Those words demonstrate a lot of grace and empathy.

              You’ve given me much to think about. Thank you!

  2. Joe, thank you for being the “courageous” one for addressing this issue with such integrity. Even though there are many heartbroken Christians who are victims of divorce, they are also the victims of the stigma of divorce. You’re right that so many walk away from the church because they are rejected–even when God Himself does not reject them. We can heal from a divorce with God’s grace, but sometimes we can’t get past the stigma. It’s time the light of mercy and truth shined on the church to offer open arms and understanding. I know your book (which I’ve read and recommend) speaks in more detail about this subject. I pray your message reaches ears that need to hear.

    • Thank you, Gina, for demonstrating courageous godliness through a divorce and afterwards. I know you are a blessing to many, and pray God will continue to use you to encourage others.

    • You will enjoy it, Jennifer! “Courageous” really is a good movie – both thought-provoking and entertaining. I hope Sherwood Pictures will continue to produce high quality films from a Christian perspective.

      Now, if they’d just consult me on the storyline of their next major motion picture… ;^)

  3. LOL! I love it, Eric! That’s an incredibly sad story, but hilarious the way you tell it. I’m sure it’s much easier to laugh about it now than it was then.

    “If your problems are that clear cut, you’re leaving something out,” sums it up nicely.

    Real life doesn’t generally fit into nice neat little packages…and neither does God.

  4. We haven’t seen the movie yet, but plan to soon. My wife and I are not divorced but she came close to it a couple times – – she says. 🙂
    We did suggest divorce for our Foster daughter whose husband was cheating on her, and never financially supported her even while they were married. She and her new husband are happy and actively serving God. Diverse is like a death, but life can go on.

    • I’m sure you will enjoy the movie. I know I did.

      Yes, divorce is much like grieving the death of a loved one, in many ways. Though for situations like you’ve described (which is similar to the divorce I went thru several years ago) I’ve come to think of it more in terms of redemption from a covenant of bondage.

      I’m glad to hear your foster daughter is doing so well. That’s fantastic! God is such a wonderful redeemer, isn’t He?

      Thanks for sharing, Robert!

  5. Great post, Joe, filled with grace. I agree with you. So hard for Christian filmmakers to tackle subjects like marriage and fatherhood and get it just right among such a large and diverse audience. It’s unfortunate that that unbiblical statement was made. I watched my mother walk through divorce with incredible courage after she learned of our dad’s abuse of us kids, through constant infidelity with pornography and other women, as well as abuse on her too. She was disabled, and it was extremely difficult to raise two kids without his paycheck, but the loving support of our church (not to mention their lack of judgment on my mother) provided for our needs, physically and spiritually.

    I do think, however, that many in our culture today have made divorce an easy option, and it’s pretty evident that many see it as a very viable option even going into marriage. A simple change of dialogue or wording would’ve corrected the script from “Divorce is never an option,” to “Divorce should never be an easy option.” or even “Don’t go into marriage thinking that divorce can be an easy-out.” That would be more consistent with Scripture.

    I think the portrayal of the single dad was okay, though, because I have no less than a dozen friends whose spouses (male and female) have left them with no support and very little interest in the kids, showing a complete lack of courage and integrity (not to mention my own father did the same thing to my mother, even as a disabled person. I know I’m not alone). So many deadbeat spouses out there with a selfish mentality out there, (even within the marriage). But like you said, it should’ve been void of legalistic statements.

    I can understand your sensitivity, especially with the single dad being the one at the end to fall. I, too, would’ve enjoyed seeing him finish well and strong, drawing upon God’s strength and truth to do the right thing. What a great example and encouragement that could’ve been! I’m thinking that twist at the end was to show that it would be very difficult to have the courage to hold a friend accountable if he is dishonest. There were other ways to do that, but I’m sure they went the way the Lord was leading them, and hopefully against its flaws, the right message will meet the right people.

    I’m glad you wrote this post, Joe, and I know the Lord will draw readers to it who might have been discouraged or hurt by this theme, as well as find the grace of God they need to hear within these words. Keep on keepin’ it real, brother!

    • Wow! Your mother is a very courageous woman of faith, LauraLee! And she has given you an amazing legacy, not only by her own example, but also in allowing you to see God’s faithful provision lived out daily.

      Yes, I agree that the film is very good and presents a great message, overall. In a film (as in a blog post) the writer has very limited space and time to make an impactful statement. They did a great job of focusing on their primary message and presenting it in a very meaningful way. It wasn’t really my intent to fault Sherwood Pictures, but rather to use the movie as an opportunity to address a very real issue of misperceptions within the church.

      The statement, “Divorce happens because you make it an option,” caught my attention, not only because it is an erroneous statement, but because I have heard very similar erroneous statements many times by many believers…and I know first-hand the harm they can cause.

      Thank you, so much, for your input and your encouragement! You are truly a blessing!

      • Joe, I thought your post was very well-balanced and complementary of the movie. Especially considering that many people would allow one or two things in a movie to ruin the overall for them.

  6. You tackle a difficult issue here, Joe–one that carries a lot of emotion. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but hope to soon. I have friends who saw it and they did not mention this particular issue. It just goes to show how subtle these messages can be. We really need to encourage each other, love each other, and recognize there is no condemnation in Christ.

    Very thoughtful post, thank you for linking it up to Playdates this week :).

    • Thank you, Laura!

      Yes, the unintended negative message is very subtle, yet very powerful. As one who has been on both sides, I can probably more readily recognize the error, as well as understand both the intent and the potential harm.

      Yes, understanding, grace, and encouragement is very needed in this area.

      Thank you, for your encouragement!

  7. Joe
    You visited my blog and as a courtesy, I came on over. I’m blown away. You have a refreshing honesty here.

    I am divorced too. My wife left me for her herself. I was left with the baggage of that ugly sin. I have had dozens of friends and family turn on me, becuase in divorce, usually it’s because the” man is at fault,” right?

    Divorce is an option because of the hardness of our hearts. Period.

    • David, it’s sad that culture always assumes divorce is the man’s fault. I was in a conversation on another blog about how you never hear a divorced woman admit fault. I can’t say I’ve ever heard one take responsibility for the failure of a marriage. Even when they give testimonies in church, it always somehow comes back to the ex-husband somehow being at fault.

    • David,

      I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ve now subscribed to your blog, and am looking forward to getting better acquainted.

      Yes, there is a whole system of biblically unsubstantiated beliefs about divorce that is prevalent within today’s church, and which encourages legalistic attitudes toward believers who have experienced divorce.

      Thankfully, God’s heart is one of grace and compassion! =^)

  8. I have seen the Courageous movie. The main point of the movie is to get men to sign the piece of paper that has some dubious statements in it (in terms of gender hierarchy with males on top), altho it is generally fine.

    I did not catch the divorce ref. when I saw it, but that is another concern, as you point out.

    FWIIW, Mat 19:3 has the Pharisees asking Jesus whether the Hillel “Any Matter” divorce is in the Torah (of Moses, the Pentateuch). See David Instone-Brewer’s books on divorce. There were 2 schools of Pharisees at the time of Jesus, one of Hillel and one of Shammai, both of whom lived a generation before Jesus. Their debated are recorded in the Mishnah, which at the time of Jesus was the tradition of men that when it contradicted Scripture Jesus had concerns with. So I regard the Mishnah as essential background context to understanding much of the NT.

    • Don, I’m fascinated by your references to the Mishnah and “any matter” divorce, both here and over on Crying out for Justice blog.

      I have not read David Instone-Brewer’s book. Would that be a good place to start learning more on this topic?

      • DIB’s books are fundamental in understanding the divorces texts in cultural context. I have my own teaching primarily based on them at http://equalitycentral.com/forum/index.php?topic=279.0 but I have since found some things that need updating.

        I show how Jesus corrected 7 misinterpretations of the Pharisees on marriage and divorce in Matt 19, for example. The teaching is in 9 sessions and takes most of a day when taught live.

  9. Hi Joe, thought I’d comment here to return the favour of your many comments over at our cryingoutforjustice blog.
    That is an excellent review of Courageous. It makes me want to watch the movie. I didn’t want to watch any movies from that stable, because I had heard how their other movie “Fireproof” can be damaging for victims of spousal abuse.

    • Yes, I had several issues with “Fireproof.” It was a hugely popular movie within the Christian community, and I understand why. However, it definitely promoted the “try harder, pray longer, believe deeper” approach to marital issues.

      While there is a time and place for that approach, it is not the one-size-fits-all answer that so many people take it for.

      Those of us who have experienced abusive marriages have learned the hard way that one person cannot single-handedly save a marriage no matter how much we may want to. And “Fireproof” definitely promoted the concept that one can.

      I’m very interested to read the upcoming review of “Fireproof” on your blog. I know my reactions to it as a man who has been abused in a marriage. I’m interested to read the reactions of a woman who has been abused. I suspect similar reactions, but different indentifying perspectives…

  10. I’m sorry if this was already addressed above, as I didn’t have time to read all the comments after I read the article. But can someone send this to the producers (Sherwood) and open a dialog with them? I’d love to see them correct this attitude in a future film and actually support victims of abuse and show portray divorcees and single parents in a more positive light.

    • Wouldn’t that be awesome? Imagine a Kendrick’s Brother movie that portrays a realistic abusive marriage…one where the abuse target recieves all sorts of bad advice from the church, while the abuser receives support…until a wise counselor intervenes to shine the light of God’s truth.

      The abusive marriage ends in divorce. The abused spouse learns to reject church mythology and trust God for daily strength and wisdom. She finds new Christian friends who are loving and supportive and her children grow and prosper out from under the demonic abuse.

      The movie ends, not with a fairy-tale ending, but with liberty in Christ and hope for a future.

      THAT would be a good movie!

      • Yes, Joe! That would be an incredibly inspiring movie for those of us who have lived it. We just need someone to write the script. I know a few people in the indie film industry. Maybe one of them would take on a project like this, if the Kendrick brothers wouldn’t.

  11. Here’s what I LOVE about the Kendrick brothers’ movies: they know how to write repentance. When a character repents, he does it to be right with God, not because he got caught, not because he’s afraid of consequences, but because he loves God and wants to do right. And then that character makes no demands on the ones he’s wronged. Consider the unmarried dad in Courageous who begins to make restitution but doesn’t demand to interact with the child he abandoned. He leaves that timing to the mother. And Fireproof’s Caleb honors his wife’s boundaries and doesn’t pressure her or demand acknowledgement for the changes he’s making. There’s plenty of room for improvement in their understanding of how divorce can protect targets of abuse, but seeing what repentance OUGHT to be really helped clear the fog when I watched those movies.

    • Yes, they have a lot of good in their movies. And you’re right, they do a good job of portraying what real repentance looks like.

      Unfortunately, they also carry forward a lot of the misconceptions of church culture…sort of a snapshot of a cross-section of how most evangelical Christians see things.

      It’s funny…I tend to notice more wrong with ‘christian’ fiction than with other fiction genres…perhaps because of expectations…

      Thank you, Ellie, for adding this perspective!

  12. Hi Joe.

    How timely that you would pop up this morning in my ACFJ Facebook feed. I thought of you last night when I was watching Two Towers with my sons. I read your blog on Boromir’s remorse very early in my awakening to the abuse I had been living under. It has been a very long empowering year. Last night when I was watching the scene when Theodin was coming out of his fog, grasped his sword and reclaimed his identity, integrity, and strength it moved me to tears. I am sure you can imagine why.

    Thank you for this blog. It speaks so much truth to what many of us suffer in the church. I have watched my h be embraced by the church for his manipulative show of repentance while I have been completely marginalized and ignored. I am the one that wants to move forward with the divorce so I am seen as the hard hearted villain. It is painful and unjust given the years of emotional abuse that I walked through and the shattering betrayal I suffered. If any of them took some time to actually speak to me they may see the beauty of what my loving Father is doing in my life and the lives of my children. But it is much easier and more comfortable for them to simply judge me and put me in a box covered in bumper sticker slogans. I have lost so much faith in the church and fellow Christians. But blessedly my faith and love for my Father who has provided so beautifully for me and lovingly guided me through this process has never left me. He has never left me.

    To say that divorce is an easy out is such a fallacy. It has taken strength on loan from my Savior to finally stand, protect my children, embrace and walk in the truth rather than paint a pretty picture, face my fear, hold my h accountable to his treachery towards me and our children, and to accept that I am going to be judged poorly by others for following His leading in my life….. None of this was the easy road by any means. Doing what everyone else expected of me and making everyone else happy while I died a little more every day, that would have been the easier, more comfortable, and familiar road.

    Thank you Joe so much for taking the time to put this into words. Thank you for standing strong in this awful valley that so many of us find ourselves in.

    • I am so glad my writing has been a blessing to you, BH! Thank you, for sharing that!

      Yes, in that scene where Theoden King escapes the fog of Wormtongue’s abusive counsel…Tolkien does an excellent job of capturing that awakening from the fog of abusive lies!

      Thank God for His wonderful love and grace! For His redemption from abusive covenants and for His deliverance from the web of deceit and false friends!

      Thank you, so much, BH! So glad to hear how God has continued to work in the lives of you and your children!

  13. This is a great article, and I truly appreciate it! I am currently separated and headed for divorce, after 15 years. It breaks my heart…for our 3 beautiful children. You are so right! Making the decision to move forward with this divorce has been harder than living under the same roof and sleeping in separate rooms, as I have for the last 2 years…
    As with many Christians, I was raised to believe this lie, but after my mom becoming divorced 5 yrs ago, and now my impending divorce, we have become more enlightened on this topic.

    Anyways, I was chatting with my mom about this article this evening, and I wanted to share with you another angle, as to why this lie is so dangerous in marriages…
    In believing that divorce is not an option, it removes accountability! As with my situation, and also my mom, our men felt they could treat us however they like, because there was nothing we could do about it. If there is no reprocession for their actions, and we must continue to forgive and move on, what is the incentive to change? So many people need to hit rock-bottom before they are able to realize change. For many, rock-bottom may just be an impending divorce. However, if divorce is removed as an option, the guilty have the upper hand and essentially know that their spouse is trapped, and there is nothing they can do about it!

    I hope that makes sense! Lol

    Thank you for your support!

    • Love that, Natalie! That is so true, and a very good observation. I too was treated horribly, only to have him follow that up with, “… you said divorce was never an option.”

    • “In believing that divorce is not an option, it removes accountability!”

      Yes, I agree. It creates an atmosphere that fosters abuse with no accountability.

      There was a time, not too many years ago, when I saw prenuptial agreements as a horrible practice based on a total lack of faith and trust combined with selfish ambition. Any more I see prenuptial agreements as clearly stating expectations and potential consequences…and thus a potential accountability tool.

      I’m not a lawyer and have never been involved with any prenuptial agreements. However, I can see where it might be a good thing if at each marriage both partners were required to sign a document stating they understood that gross violation of the marriage vows could result in divorce, in which case the guilty party should expect to give up ownership of all assets while retaining all debts…I expect that might result in either less abuse or more justice.

      Thank you, Natalie for adding this perspective!

      I am praying for you and your children, this morning, as you face the upcoming difficult decisions regarding divorce and custody.
      joe recently posted…Divorce & RemarriageMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge