What is Your Role in the Lie of Divorce?

Lies Divorce - Broken Heart - Synod Bishops, victims, friends & familyI generally try to keep things positive, but I’m having a hard time doing this today. The truth is I’m frustrated and angry.

You see, yet another friend just contacted me about the dissolution of his marriage. I think people tell me of their divorces thinking I will celebrate with them, especially those doing the leaving. Occasionally, someone has a real need, for safety purposes, to leave a situation, but most of the time, people divorce because they’ve had enough, and enough can be defined in whatever ways they see fit.

The divorce was this friend’s wife’s doing, but he had already “moved on.” The divorce papers were not even finalized yet, and he and his wife were both already seeing other people. He laughed talking about his wife, the divorce, their new relationships, and other things. I sat there listening, not knowing what to say. I tried to encourage him to go back to his wife, to embrace forgiveness, to find his faith. I sat there listening to his laughter, but I was far from laughing with him. In fact, my stomach lurched.

Divorce is not a joking matter. Some laughter may be a way of covering pain, but laughter is given to express Joy. Twisting it in such a way shows yet another way divorce flips Truth around, another way divorce is based on lies.

My Gospel Reflection for the Divorced regarding the idea of believing the lie of fair division of property and our call to instead turn over your wealth and follow Me was a more biting than I usually try to be, but I sometimes just want to reach out and shake people, make them realize they complain more about their spouses post-divorce than during their marriages.

Do they not realize this?

Does this not say something?

This post is intended to continue as a message for those witnessing divorce, for those contemplating divorce, and for the Synod Bishops who have so much resting on their shoulders. It is also hoped that it will help open the eyes of those who believe the lie that divorce is an honorable or even acceptable alternative to finding worth in your spouse and in your vows of better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer until death (not enough) do you part…

My Message to those Witnessing Divorce:

Do not perpetuate the lies. Do not believe for one second that divorce makes things better. Do not believe it for yourself. Do not repeat it to anyone else. Divorce makes things different, not better.

Do not believe that the single parent does not struggle financially or should just work harder. Do not believe that she does not feel badly about not giving her children opportunities like sports camps and birthday parties and a night at the movies that others take for granted.

Do not believe the DisneyLand Dad makes up for night after night of chilly apartments, missed doctor visits, or crooked teeth when braces aren’t provided. Do not think kids getting gifts at dad’s house skimpy home Christmases provided by a heartbroken, hard working, welfare Mom. Do not fall for the lie that “the system provides.” The system does not provide enough tangible items, and it robs the soul of the intangible. Do not believe you are worthy of judging that robbed soul.

As we approach the Christmas season, open your wallets and your hearts to help those in need. Find a struggling family. Donate time and money (anonymously if necessary), and Pray for them and with them. Let them know their worth. Let them know they are Loved. Band-aids such as simplifying the annulment process will never replace the reaching out a Loving friends can provide. Be that friend.

My Message to those Contemplating Divorce:

For crying out loud, if you’re thinking of divorce stop and question the lies you fall for before letting the words escape your mouth and live in a place where they cannot be taken back.

Do you believe the lie that your vows were not really meant to be for better or for worse or that God didn’t know that “for worse” could be this bad? Do you believe you don’t have the strength to go on another day like this or that God won’t support you through another day like this? Do you believe that your spouse isn’t worth sacrificing for yet again, or is it that your spouse isn’t worth your sacrifice your sacrificing for yet again?

What exactly is it that you doubt? What exactly is it that you tell yourself to make you believe the lies? What lies do you believe that you will be upset about later?

Do not believe the lie that you get over that conspicuously empty place at the dinner table or that kids don’t miss dad being there after work or don’t want one place to call Home. Don’t believe that kids should have to be resilient when you were too weak to be.

Ask yourself how many lies you fall for before seeking separation. Ask yourself how you need to change before asking your spouse to change.

My Message to the Synod Fathers:

Divorce is based on lies caused by the hardness of hearts. Lies weigh us down more than material poverty can ever do. Thinking you can make divorce better by speeding up an annulment process or making it easier or by allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist puts bandaids on amputations, insults the faithful spouse, weakens Marriage, denies a need for annulment, offers Holy Communion when they need forgiveness, repentance, and communion of community, and defaces the Body of Christ.

Divorce is beyond being surrounded by lies; divorce is built on lies. Ask yourself what your part in the lie is.

Is your part in the lie your belief that you can erase the effect of man’s destruction of what God has joined together? Is your part in the lie that the Body of Christ is happy to be given to those engaging in polygamy? Is your part in the lie the belief that a couple scarred by divorce can separate themselves enough to determine whether a sacrament existed or not? Is your part in the lie that belief that Marriage in the Catholic Church is not a Sacrament after all?

Whatever your role is in divorce, unwilling victim, active pursuer, outside observer, or religious advisor, before trying to “fix” what is “wrong” with Marriage or divorce, ask yourself what part you have in falling for and in spreading the lies of divorce and harden not your heart.

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God Bless…

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9 thoughts on “What is Your Role in the Lie of Divorce?”

  1. Strahlen, this is not going to contribute anything towards the kitty… but I must say, there is huge strength and purpose coming through your grief (and Dave’s). The world needs more of this insight and incisive expression on divorce as what you have put out here. It’s not just for those facing this terrible decision; it’s also for every one of us who can certainly do our bit to pull back others standing at the precipice of this sorrow.

  2. “Don’t believe that kids should have to be resilient when you were too weak to be.” Yes! A million times yes! This is so obvious, but I’ve never seen it put so clearly before your post. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Erin. I don’t know which bothers me more… hearing the word “resilient” from an outsider who has no clue about what is really going on, hearing it from a parent who is proclaims he or she is willing to do anything for the child, or hearing it from the court system which is supposed to be looking out for the best interest of the children but uses all this fake language, “In the best interest of the child,” etc.

      Thanks for commenting.
      God Bless…

  3. You put much thought into your words and feelings Strahlen and I believe you are spot on…Last month I was contacted by a friend, married 38 years whose husband filed for a divorce. I encouraged her to pray, seek out a priest and try talking with her husband to save what he feels is gone. She does not want the divorce. He is continuing with the divorce and “moving on” with the other woman. Women in their 50’s & 60’s, who stayed home and cared for their family and home, believing that he was setting them up for the retired future they were planning together are becoming more and more visible in the world of divorce and it is so very SCARY. Insurance isn’t easy to come by at an older age and it isn’t cheap. In many cases the cost is more than the paycheck per month. Marriage, I feel, is to easy to get into but divorce is easier to get out of. This is a world of “feel good” and “all about me”. God doesn’t play an important role and is not at the core of many marriages. It’s why it’s so easy to walk out of the marriage. These people think love is a feeling not a choice. I’ll bet most of these marriages or relationships end in divorce or break-up sooner than later.

    It has been very difficult talking with my friend. It has brought up so many hurts and memories. I dreamed the other night about my ex and his girlfriend. Strange, very strange. My heart aches for my friend. She is so scared and feels alone. Even though she isn’t, she can’t grasp that concept. I couldn’t either initially but finally over six years, I’ve been able to move in a positive direction. It wasn’t easy. I still wish it was something that had never happened and I could have made my husband understand the sacrament of our marriage. You can’t change people but you can change yourself. I did. I desired a closer relationship with God and I got it.

    Again, you offer great words of wisdom…

    1. What a shame and an injustice to your friend, Sheri…I am a product of a similar occurrence-married 22 yrs-then divorced and annulled. You are right about insurance…I am in the process of re-working my personal life insurance, since it is a moot point to keep the old for the benefit of my family, and can attest to the higher premiums for us “aged” divorcee’s (I’m almost 62). Lower benefit amount for a higher premium. It’s an injustice in itself, that of having to “start over” at an advanced age, rather than retiring, no?

      I agree it is harder on stay-at-home Mom’s like your friend, you and Strahlen. Having to start over for women IS harder, having most likely given up education and career for the sake of motherhood. Then, to try and make up so much, in so short of time is almost herculean, to say the least, and an added burden not needed on top of a divorce.

      Divorce is surely evil, but I’m not afraid to say that for an innocent spouse who also happens to be a woman, it’s much more than that.

      God Bless…

      1. Thanks Dave. So much of the poverty and economic imbalance in the USA is based on divorce and single parenting. We keep throwing money into government systems but it’s a losing battle if we lose the family.

    2. Oh Sherry! I am so sorry for your friend and what she’s going through and for you reliving some of what you went through too. One of the things I realized when my husband left is that I was probably just the beginning of midlife crisis victims. My ex fell early, but I’ve since watched other men (and some women too) fall in practically the same way. It is so sad, especially for older women and the court system is so hugely unfair in its treatment of victims since no fault divorce came into play.

      Marriage is the one contract that the government awards the one breaking the contract. I understand about tax benefits for married couples but I think we began the end of Marriage when we invited the government to pay us for our unions. We need to get government out of our business completely and realize Marriage is a covenant between one man, one woman, and their Creator. Everything else is just a civil union and should be a whole separate event.

      You are so right that Love is a choice not a feeling. So many people don’t understand that. I know how hard it is for you. I feel that from so many people who write to me, but it’s good to keep reaching out if you can. Choose to Love her and yourself too. Let her know neither of you is alone. Be sure she knows you are both so worthy and beautiful and Loved perfectly and without end. Maybe what happened to you can be put to use to help others. I know it’s already helped me!

      Anyway, I will be praying for both of you…

      God Bless…

  4. Excellent article and salient points, Strahlen, especially the one made about divorces building upon lies. I agree that most divorces are built upon deceit, error and compromise: deceit via secret relationships unbeknownst to the other spouse; error by ignoring and changing the established rules of children and divorce to suit themselves; and compromise of the marital vows, perhaps the worst in that it not only dilutes what was promised at the altar, but also all that flows from that promise, namely the children.

    Divorce is evil, causes harm to the innocent and is responsible for so much unnecessary pain and sorrow that it defies my imagination how anyone can think of it in terms of “happiness”. The stark reality of most divorces is that it serves only one purpose: to placate the selfish desires of one spouse, who does so at the expense of their Sacramental vows, but more importantly, their very own children.

    Like the children of Fatima – who were given to know the horrors of Hell via a vision granted by Our Lady – I doubt not that many petitioners (and some respondents who happily glide along the divorce trail) would shrink in abject fear and shame to be given the vision of post-divorce life they are soon to make their children carry for the remainder of their lives. But more so, I wish our Bishops were given this privilege…perhaps they would stop giving implicit assent to civil divorce and start applying Canon Law to preserve first marriages.

    We Catholics tend to forget that divorce is against all Our Lord said and taught in the New Testament and is stated so repeatedly throughout its pages. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, written by those who walked with Him. Can anyone truly believe that current Church practices of ignoring the preservation of marriages – or of attempting to give Holy Communion to public adulterers without the requirements of Confession – are smiled upon in Heaven?

    Keep up your writing…it all needs to be proclaimed, especially such as your current post. If even one Catholic spouse reads what you’ve written and steps away from the divorce precipice – hopefully in fear and shame – you will have performed a great corporal work of mercy, something which petitioners fail to give, even to their own children. Harsh words are sometimes needed to shock people back to the reality of their actions – you should never hesitate to use them when appropriate.

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