What is divorce discrimination?
In my opinion, it’s when people who are not divorced (and sometimes even people who ARE divorced) think less of those who have gone through one or more divorces. It hints at instability, at there being something wrong with people.
I’m not gonna lie, divorce is like a big wound. It takes TIME to heal. No excuses, no exceptions. It takes time, but it isn’t a crippling wound. People can function, and feel joy, and carry on. Except sometimes it just hurts, like a wave. It’s alright. Healing doesn’t mean that something is wrong with people, but rather that they got hurt. And they need to work through it, learn who they are again. It’s a big change, and a time to make big changes and reevaluate themselves. Pass through the refining fire, yeah? But here’s where we meet added resistance…
For sure, it’s harder to date. People would approach a guy I dated and ask “do you know she’s DIVORCED?” gasp. Missionaries at that, bless their hearts. But I know who they are and I bless them in their process.
It’s harder to be accepted in positions of leadership in the church (I’m looking at you, Southern Baptist church that didn’t hire a family friend because he was divorced). As if a past would hinder God’s work. Saul/Paul much?
It’s harder in general to feel accepted and not shunned. But this I learned is something we each carry and have the power to drop. I’m rarely shunned now, and when awkward happens I just laugh. They don’t know me like He knows me, and they sure don’t pay my bills haha.
Then I hear the singles say words like this…
DIVORCE IS NOT A WORD IN MY VOCABULARY. (But you just…said….it….so.. it is in your vocabulary, lovey.)
I’M ONLY GETTING MARRIED ONCE. (Only once, as opposed to what, 3 or 4 times? This is a contrast statement about people who remarry.)
I DON’T BELIEVE IN DIVORCE. (Okay, but Jesus does so you have a different belief than Jesus, I still love you though.)
DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION FOR ME. (Oh but it is, not an easy option, but it is an option.)
I hear people saying these things and I wonder inwardly how many times their parents have been divorced. My guess is 2 each?
The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart, and when I hear the bitterness and fear in those statements, I don’t take it personally. They come from fearful people.
I, myself, used to declare with my chin up that I’d NEVER be divorced, but now I stand among the ranks of those statistics, and being on the receiving end of those words makes me realize how sad it was that I opened my mouth and out came the overflow of a heart with two divorced parents, each in their third marriage. But I had NO idea and ZERO compassion…
1) you have NO idea how awful and humbling it is to go through a divorce, and sometimes it is the best choice. Yep. Keep reading.
2) you have NO idea what it feels like to have a SPOUSE commit adultery. The person who promised at the altar to choose you. It completely wrecks your no-divorce world, because everything hurts. Even breathing hurts. Forgiveness is great but it’s hard to forget.
3) you have NO idea what it’s like to feel in danger in your own home. I hear these stories and I get mad at how long it took for someone to stop being a punching bag and get their kids to a safe place. On that note, emotional abuse is also REAL and it can wreck a spouse and children just as violently as physical abuse.
4) you have NO idea what it’s like to have someone choose to leave, and choose a life without you in it. You can’t control that person or their affections.
5) you have NO idea how your words come across. It’s like saying to someone who is widowed “I’ll never be a widow!” It makes you sound like you have 100% of the choice, which you don’t. It’s why prayer and honesty are so important, so so important.
We should refuse to create a culture of fear and discrimination with our words. Instead, speak about the way marriage WILL be, with love and patience. Kindness. Faithfulness. Learn from couples who have been married and mirror the relationship you long for. THAT is productive and fosters hope. Don’t feed your fears.
Nobody goes into a marriage hoping for a divorce, and yet we have SO many. Why? Were they just not good enough? Were they not loving? Did they fail to be enough of a man or enough of a woman? No. They did their best. It takes TWO trying their hardest, dying to self, and that’s rare.
Sometimes people make mistakes. Even the person who chose out of a marriage deserves grace. We read a Bible written mostly by murderers, so clearly God redeems. Over and over and over again, and over.
I care not just because I’ve gone through it, but because I pastor women who are divorced, widows, and single moms. I get their crying phone calls in the night. I hear their fears of the future, of being JUDGED and made to feel INFERIOR to never-married and married women. Real, sweet, stunning, lovely women, with hearts of gold, with bright futures. Fantastic mothers weeping in fear, feeling lonely. All I can do is prophesy the goodness ahead. These will someday remarry the luckiest men, and they won’t be looking for someone to divorce again, believe me.
They’re looking for Jesus, for men who love and reflect Him. They’re looking for wholeness, because they’re whole. Their standards went UP. Haha. UP. Statistics defied. Glory to God.
Divorce IS a word in my vocabulary, but that doesn’t change my worth or the goodness that lies ahead for me.
I’m getting married at some point in the future, again. I will wear white with no shame, because I have no shame. There’s no shame to be had.
I believe in divorce the same way Jesus did and does. Read your Bibles, get to know Him. He’s a radical, a real radical. A table-flipping radical.
Divorce happened to me, and it most certainly is an option. If you are reading this and you’re not feeling safe in your home, physically or emotionally, get help. If your heart is utterly broken due to adultery and pornography, go to a Christian counselor and work through it. You can call me, too, if you want. Click the tab to contact me. You need to heal and you deserve to process. You deserve more than bottling it up. It isn’t LOVING to bottle it up. Don’t let anyone tell you that.
I pray against the hurtful discrimination of divorcées in the Church. I pray for Godly marriages that truly reflect Christ’s love for the Church, for reconciling of believers, for disciples who speak healing words. I pray against the fear epidemic that divorces cause in the hearts of unmarried people, that they won’t be afraid but will love in action and truth. May the Body of Christ apply His amazing grace to any and all made in His image.