Divorce Recovery Part 1
The test of vitality of a Church is not the number of Baptisms, but Christian Marriages … their number and their quality.
Divorce is a traumatic experience … it turns your life upside down and shatters dreams.
Divorce should be avoided at all costs, however when a marriage has been ripped apart, the “Wounded Victims” should be offered hope, real help and led down the road of recovery.
(Key Text – Romans 11:11)
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
Process of Divorce
- Divorce is a process and consists of the following steps:
- Denial Dilemna – e.g. “This is not happening to me” (John 8:32)
- Thrill of Transition – from married life to single life again.
- Remaining Roles- Only one important role is lost during the divorce, i.e. Wife / Husband Role
- Hopeless Hanging On – e.g. Choosing to be unhappy married than unhappy single (like staying on a boat that is headed over the waterfall)
- People going through a divorce tend to have certain myths that occupy their minds, namely:
- Nobody Understands – All people, divorced or not, understand pain
- I am going to die – Nobody ever died from a disease called divorce (although divorce hurts a great deal)
- Everybody is looking at me – Only your friends and family will notice any change.
- Everybody hates me and God hates me – Some people might relate to you differently and Others might not care at all, but God always cares! (1Peter 5:7)
- Most people are conditioned to believe that anger is wrong, and therefore they suppress it.
- When honest anger is suppressed, it becomes resentment, bitterness or depression.
- The Feeling of Anger is normal, but the Acting Out of Anger is not acceptable (Ephesians 4:26-27).
- The Acting Out of Anger usually happens when the humiliated partner seeks revenge. This kind of thinking actually puts the other person in control of your honour.
- The best way to “get even” is to live well and look well. What goes around comes around!
- Furthermore, it must be understood that anger is a secondary emotion … i.e. it is a response to another emotion behind it, such as:
- Frustration – A change in attitude is necessary when the circumstances cannot be changed.
- Fear – Fears are nonsense, irrational and unnecessary to a happy life (e.g. fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of disaster).
- Hurt – Pain is never pleasant, but sometimes it can facilitate healing.
Dealing with Pain
- Never ease Emotional Pain through withdrawal, isolation, eating disorders, promiscuity, drinking, overspending etc.
- Some “First Aid” for the pain includes:
- Turn it Over to Someone Else (Talk to Someone)
- Cry it Out (Tears are a Healing Mechanism)
- Make a Grieving Date, i.e. Pain Session (Set aside time to deal with the pain, e.g. one hour every Sunday Morning)
- Throw it Away (Write the pains on scrap paper and throw the papers in the rubbish bin)
Emotional Hang-Ups (“Flat Tyres”)
- A Flat Tyre keeps you from going where you want to go (even when you know how to change it).
- A person does not kick the other tyres or throw away the car because of one flat tyre. Just like with flat tyres in vehicles, the “Flat Tyres” of Life or Emotional Hang Ups must be removed and fixed.
- Some of the Emotional Hang Ups common to Divorcees are:
- Over-Generalising – e.g. “No man can be trusted” or “My situation is the worst”.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy – e.g. “I will never find anyone else” (Proverbs 23:7)
- Unreal Expectations – e.g. Avoid words such as “Should” and “Must”
- Murphy’s Law – “If anything can go wrong, it will”. Give up Murphy’s Law! (Philippians 4:8-9)
- Wallowing – Indulgence of Self Pity
- Blaming – Placing responsibility for problems on someone else’s shoulders
- Living through Others – e.g. Living through the kids can lead to resentment when you become tired.
- Flight from Self – Inability to face Yourself. Don’t run from something … run to something.
- Cries of a Half-Person – Develop an attitude that says “I am OK if single, I am OK if married” (Philippians 4:11-13).
- Recovery from Divorce is possible (Romans 11:11).
- It must be remembered that God has many things to be done in the world that can be best done by Single People!
Presented by: A. Ndlebe Date: 22 January 2011