Sometimes when there is a lot of pain in marriage a divorce sounds like a solution that will do away with it. Unfortunately, there are often painful consequences that people don’t think about at the time when they pursue divorce. Here are a few observations that I have had over the years from working with couples and with singles, and also just from knowing people who have gone through divorce.
If you and your spouse have kids the ramifications of divorce are never completely over as long as either of you are alive and sometimes not even after the death of one of you. At major life events for your children such as engagement, marriage, birth of children, etc., you are quite likely to have contact with your ex-spouse, or if you aren’t part of those events because you don’t want to deal with your ex, you are going to miss some special moments.
Many people think that they will just marry someone else and life will be so much better. My observation is that those who have a good second marriage go through a lot of pain and learning and change because they realize that they had a part in the collapse of their first marriage, even if their spouse was mostly at fault. I have had people say to me that if they had worked as hard on saving their first marriage and making changes as they have on learning to do it right the second time, they would still be married to their first spouse.
Jesus said to let no man put asunder what God had joined together. There really is a special bond between husband and wife and when it is broken for whatever reason, there is going to be pain. I have watched people who were naturally tough and aggressive and nothing much phased them still deeply struggle during the divorce process.
I met a lady once who said that she and her husband had an ideal divorce – no kids, no acrimony – and yet five years later she still wasn’t totally healed and recovered.
I met a lady in Divorce Care who had never married the man she lived with for several years and whom with she jointly owned a house. They broke up. If she had not told me that she had broken up with her live-in rather than divorcing a husband, I would have never known that she hadn’t been married because her pain so closely matched those who were getting divorced.
There have been some long term studies done that have shown that people in unhappy marriages who stayed together were happier after five years than ones who had been in equally unhappy marriages and had divorced.
My encouragement to those in unhappy marriages is to really think through the ramifications of divorce and to do all that they can to see if the marriage can be saved before they give up. There is so much help available for marriages with many different kinds of problems that it is worth a long hard look before a marriage is ended.