Question: My wife and I are separated and getting a divorce. What problems will I face during this crisis in my life?

Answer: When loss occurs, the grieving begins and we are changed forever. Divorce is loss of a marriage partner, lover, companion, and friend propelling us into grief and change.

You will begin this process of grief during your separation and divorce. Though you will experience phases of grief you are not a helpless victim. You can work through them with the strength of the Lord. You can learn the lessons God has for you through this loss.

1) First you will learn to accept the reality of the loss/divorce. Give yourself some time to get over the shock and experience the pain of grief . Facing the pain of divorce, feeling it & expressing your grief in healthy ways rather than suppressing it will help you work through the loss.

2) Another lesson will be to learn to adjust to your surroundings without your spouse. You will have to come to terms with living alone, raising or visiting your children alone, facing an empty house, managing your finances alone and taking on new roles. You will need to gain a new identity as a single person. But, remember, with Christ you are never alone. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:20 (NIV)

3) In the last phase you will learn to detach from your spouse, the memories and
the hopes and invest in other relationships and friendships.

Facing the loss squarely with God’s help and working through these phases of grief will assist in your healing. You will experience other adjustments such as determining your responsibility and your spouse’s responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage.
Read the following scriptures: Matt. 5:31-2; 19:3-9; Mark 10: 2-12; Lk. 10:18; Ephes. 5:21-33; I Cor. 7:10-16.
You will experience the reality and hurt of no longer being “number one” and feeling alienated. You will have to retain a lawyer or go through divorce mediation. Though marriage dissolution can be a relatively simple procedure, the division of property may require extensive litigation. This will alter your life style as the car, the house, computer, pets, etc. are
divided up.

You will always be a co-parent with your spouse since divorce from your spouse does not mean you have divorced your children. Physical custody and visitation privileges will be decided by the courts or a qualified mediator.
The most enduring hurt can be experienced at this stage.

What will you learn? You will learn to become autonomous and separate from your spouse. You can make this a time for positive growth in your life.
The overall purpose of grief is to bring you to the point of making the necessary changes you need to make so you can live with the loss in a healthy way.

God can bring good out of a trial like this. But, make certain that if it is your choice to get a divorce that you have counseled with your pastor or elders and determined that it is
biblical. If there is any way you can save your marriage – ask your wife to consider rebuilding your relationship with the help of Christ, Christian counseling, prayer and support.

I recommend reading the following books on divorce and ordering:
When the Vow Breaks: A Survival and Recovery Guide for Christians Facing Divorce
by Joseph Warren Kniskern.

©copyright 2007 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC