During our conversation, Sara mentioned God several times so I asked her if it was difficult for her to accept divorce because of her religion. Here’s what she said:
I am a Christian and getting divorced was a huge internal struggle.
“Is this the right thing to do?”
“Is God going to be able to understand why we made this decision?”
I remember praying throughout the whole thing and Him just telling me,
“It’s going to be OK. Definitely work on yourself.”
I felt guilty going to church throughout the divorce because I felt I was doing something wrong. It just wasn’t right but then I remember finally feeling that even though it was not an ideal situation, it was meant to be.
There’s a church really close to my house that we had spent many years at and my mom was encouraging me to go there but I couldn’t bring myself to go there. I’ve dealt with religious people and they’re not always very understanding. They take their convictions seriously and they do look down on you. It’s not that I felt answerable to them, I wanted to move on and I didn’t think I could move on with people sitting there judging me, telling me, what I did was wrong or asking me if I really worked on the marriage.
So there’s another church which we’d been to a few times as a couple and I take the children there. I feel a little awkward but not a lot of people know me there. The kids love it and I feel I’ve got a new family. I don’t feel they judge me at all – it might be because they don’t know me or their personalities but I’m comfortable there.
I’m involved in a religious divorce group and at no time has anyone asked me what happened. They don’t judge. So if you’re religious and you’re facing divorce, I’d say pray and reach out to your pastor or prayer group, look for a religious support group. But at the end of the day, it’s your decision. If you feel you’re being judged, get out of that group because that is not positive support.
I struggled with guilt – “this isn’t what you’re supposed to do” – but then I remember talking to God and saying, “This is my life and it’s going to be OK.”
The Divorce Coach Says
Regular readers will know I was raised Christian and I still subscribe to many Christian values although I no longer believe in God. I’ve not been a church goer for many years. Even without the religious aspect it was very difficult for me to come to terms with breaking the vows from my church wedding. The dilemma for me was that if I could stay married, I felt I would be living a lie, and yet by choosing to end the marriage, I was breaking my promise. Ultimately, I simply couldn’t stay married – it was a facade.
If you’re undecided about ending your marriage, it is enormously helpful to talk about the issues with people who will listen and help you decide – I went to a counselor. If you have a strong faith, do take advantage of support groups in your religious community. Take your time – it’s never a good decision to rush. And I wholeheartedly support what Sara says – you have to make the decision that’s right for you and if you don’t feel welcomed by your church, look for another community that will support you.