Seeing Divorce for What It Is

The breakup of a marriage is always a tragedy.
Seeing Divorce for What It Is

I look forward to divorcing him."

My heart sank as I read these words posted on our Authentic Intimacy Facebook page. We'd posted the question, "What are you looking forward to doing with your spouse this summer?" and nestled among responses about vacations, family gatherings, and anniversaries were these painful words.

I felt so sad for this woman who is obviously in a painful marriage. I'm sure it felt like salt in a wound for her to read the other responses from women who are excited to be with their husbands while she can't wait to get away from hers.

Marriage represents the greatest longings and disappointments—the greatest joys and sorrows—that we experience in this life. If you've been married for any length of time, you've probably walked through some of both.

I was also grieved by the woman's comment because she implied that she was looking forward to her impending divorce. Granted, we often cover deep pain by making light of tragic circumstances. It is sometimes easier to be cynical or sarcastic than to acknowledge a devastating loss. But there's more to it than just cynicism. We live in a society that, at times, celebrates the end of a marriage. For example, you can readily find greeting cards congratulating someone on their divorce.

There are valid reasons for marriages to end. Jesus recognized the pain of broken vows and abandonment (Matthew 12:1-12). While God hates divorce, he also hates violence and abuse. Yet divorce should always break our heart. Jesus said that divorce "was not what God had originally intended" (19:8).

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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