You know how when you’re about to say something ever-so-slightly racist you preface it with the self-excusing phrase: “I have good friends who’re…”? Well, I sort of feel like I should end my series on marriage with a variant on that:
I have good friends who’re divorced.
I say that because I don’t want, in all the talk on healthy marriages, to somehow dismiss the pure faith of godly people with failed marriages. I also don’t want to leave you thinking I’m naive.
My in-laws are divorced; my closest cousin is; two of my best friends in the world divorced each other just this year. Within the past six months, I’ve seen two strong, exciting, beautiful women abandoned by their husbands—handed papers they never wanted to sign. One of my favorite women in all the world, my Papa’s wife, a grandmother I claim as my own, is a divorcee.
Here’s what I’ve learned from all that divorce: Marriages aren’t made to be broken.
I think the world wants us to think that people are like leggos—put them together, take them apart, attach a different piece—but people aren’t interchangeable. I know that because I’ve watched people I love flail in the aftermath of divorce, like fish out of water (some who’ve jumped out of that water, some who’ve been dumped), all trying to breath air when water is all they know. Not one of them is the same when it’s over.
I think every one of the divorced people I know would say it’s terribly, terribly hard.
Having said that, I’d just like to commend the men and women I know who’ve fought to stay married—even when they lost.
A friend of mine has been fighting for over a year to save her marriage, although she had every reason to walk away. Her persistence and faith glow. Every time I’m near that woman I’m inspired. Her marriage will probably dissolve this year, but she’ll be able to tell her son she gave all she had to keep it alive.
I don’t vilify divorce to hurt the divorced. God forbid. They’re already hurting, so I want to offer only compassion. But for those us who’re not divorced, I vilify it to save us from it.
My heart breaks for God’s brokenhearted children. All I want, all I want, is to stop the heartbreak.