Once again, I will have the opportunity, in two of my classes this semester, to write blog posts about what I am learning. “Ask, and ye shall receive”, am I right? (D&C 4:7). I have also been feeling like the old blog needed a little remodeling, so you will notice that there are a few different things. I have split my blog into three sections: Blog, Come Follow Me, and Eternal Families. This way, my readers will be able to go directly to whatever it is they want to read about.
So, without further adieu (or any more rambling), here we go with this week’s “The Eternal Family” post.
DIVORCE AND ETERNAL FAMILIES?
Some people go into their marriages with the thought, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, I can always get a divorce.” Others look at their first marriage as a sort of “starter marriage” (Oaks 70). Laws have been established that make it relatively easy to obtain a divorce and “overall, the public has become more accepting of divorce (National 86). All of these things combine to make divorce something that is a very real problem with equally real consequences.
One of those consequences is that divorces are very costly to the public. “A single divorce can cost the state and federal governments about $30,000, based on the increased use of food stamps and public housing as well as increased bankruptcies and juvenile delinquency” (National 95). Other consequences are more detrimental as we see the toll that these broken relationships take on the members of the families who have gone through a divorce. Children with divorced parents are often worse off than those with continuously married parents in areas of academic success, conduct, psychological well-being, self-esteem, and peer relations (National 4). I am not saying that all children of divorced families suffer with problems in these areas, nor am I saying that children who have parents who are still together don’t suffer with problems in these areas. We just know, from multiple studies that have been conducted, that divorce can bring increased problems to these areas of a child’s life.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We can see the problems of divorce laid out in front of us, so what are we to do? What should a couple do when there is no longer “wedded bliss”? I think there are multiple answers to that question and ultimately, what happens with a family is up to the parents, and (hopefully) God. I included the word hopefully in there because some people may not use God in their decision to divorce, and that could lead to even bigger problems in the future. After all, God is the master designer of a great plan of happiness that includes us living in and having family relationships.
To better answer this question of, “what can we do”, we need to look at the issue from different perspectives...
Perspective #1: When You are Faced with the Divorce Decision
I am not going to pretend that I know what this feels like. I have not been faced with the decision to divorce and so therefore, I am not going to tell you what I think you should do in that situation. I will, however, include some advice from Church leaders and other people in the family science field who may be able to help you if you are facing this difficult decision.
“Under the law of the Lord, a marriage, like a human life, is a precious, living thing. If our bodies are sick, we seek to heal them. We do not give up. While there is any prospect of life, we seek healing again and again. The same should be true of our marriages, and if we seek Him, the Lord will help us and heal us” (Oaks 72).
Perspective #2: When You are the Outsider Looking In
This is where I am. I know people who have gone or who are going through the painful process of a divorce and I have wondered what I can do to help. I’ll tell you one thing that is not helpful…passing judgment. You simply don’t know what has gone on behind closed doors, even if your friend has “told you everything”.
Here’s my one word suggestion: LOVE. Love the crap out of your friend and his/her family. Now, here are a few more words of wisdom.
Offer empathy. “To show constructive empathy, focus the discussion on your hurting friend’s feelings—not on their spouse of their spouse’s offense” (How to Respond)
As I mentioned earlier, I am not an expert on divorce. I have not experienced the heartbreak of my parents getting a divorce, nor have I contemplated a divorce for my own marriage. However, I have seen the scars that divorce brings. I have listened to friends confide in me the pain they feel and the ache they have from the effects of a divorce.
Life is hard, for everyone. Let’s be mindful of that when we hear of divorce, talk about divorce, speculate about divorce, or, heaven forbid, find ourselves in the awful jaws of divorce. Let us turn to the Master Healer and Creator. It is through Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that we can find healing, joy, and happiness in all situations of our lives.
Gaspard, T. (2018, February 15). Be the Change You Wish to See in Your Relationship. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-your-relationship/.
How to respond when a friend reveals tension in their marriage. (0AD). Retrieved from https://www.focusonthefamily.ca/content/how-to-respond-when-a-friend-reveals-tension-in-their-marriage.
National Marriage Project. (2012). The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America. The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America (pp. 1–124). Charlottesville, VA.
Oaks, D. H. (2007, May). Divorce. Ensign, 37(5), 1–123. doi: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2007/05/divorce?lang=eng
WHY ETERNAL FAMILIES?
This page is dedicated to sharing information regarding God's plan for families, how we can strengthen our family relationships, and how the Savior can heal even the most broken of hearts.