Sadly being a Christian is no guarantee that your marriage will survive. The statistics for Christians getting divorced are exactly the same as non-Christians with the same reasons for getting a divorce: adultery, addiction, abuse, pornography, financial problems, sexual problems, parenting problems, and many more. Just because a person is a Christian does not mean that they are free from the same struggles that plague everyone else. The Christian too is born with a sinful nature that must be actively worked against on a daily basis. So while a Christian can obtain freedom in Christ Jesus, the road to repentance and restoration is the road less traveled because it requires humility, honesty, and a heart change.
There is no doubt at this point that your marriage will end in divorce usually for more than one reason. But just because your marriage is ending, this does not give you permission to become un-Christ-like in your behavior. If as a Christian you are taught to “Love your enemies”, than treating your soon to be ex-spouse in a loving manner should go without saying. However, it does need to be said and reminded over and over as emotions are intense, anger is easily provoked, neither of you trusts the other, and forgiveness is in short supply.
So what does it meant to love someone who you are divorcing? Let’s review the first part of this passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
Patience. Being patient with your ex is extremely difficult during a divorce as most want the divorce to be over with as soon as possible. However, depending on your State’s laws and how complicated your divorce is with stuff, kids, and money these issues can take months if not years to resolve. Having the expectation that things will go smoothly and quickly in a divorce is unrealistic especially since things did not go smoothly in your marriage. Change your expectations to more realistic ones and recognize that you will need to be even more patient with your ex than before.
Kind. Showing kindness to your ex is very difficult especially when it is not reciprocated but we are not called to love just those who love us but those who don’t love us as well. Your ex knows how to push all of your buttons at one time, being kind is not pushing their buttons even when you could or even when you are right.
Not Jealous. Jealousy is an ugly beast as it is usually not about one person moving on to another relationship rather it is about the other person “getting a better deal”. Even the best negotiators cannot divide everything equally and someone is likely to feel jaded by the divorce. Don’t let your feelings of frustration blossom into jealousy because you did not get your fair share. Instead recognize that in the end you are not the final Judge, God is.
Not Boastful. Bragging about how much better off you are without your ex in your life is boastfulness. Bragging about how you got this thing or won that battle is also boastfulness. Neither should be done even with your friends or family who are on your side. The truth is that neither party really won in the divorce, both of you were hurt in some way and both of you will have scars from the divorce for the rest of your life.
Not Proud. Pride creeps up in the strangest of places. For instance, talking about how much better you were able to handle everything, comparing your sins with your ex, or minimizing your responsibility is all prideful behavior. Take responsibility for what was your contribution to the divorce, recognize that you needed support to even get the divorce and start viewing all sin as being equal. This is reducing your prideful behavior.
Not Rude. Not enough can be said about this category as most people would never even talk to a stranger the same way they talk to their ex. Just try treating a friend or co-worker with the same lack of respect and level of rudeness as you do your ex and see how long your relationship lasts. But for some reason because you have been hurt, you justify the rude behavior as being well deserved. This is not Christ-like behavior.
Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort. If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment. Or you can send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.