How Can I Cope with Divorce as a Christian?

Almost 25% of Christian marriages end in divorce. Though it is a sad reality, this trending behavior is something more Christians need to be talking about. While many people believe divorce is wrong in any and every situation, this is not true. The Bible tells us divorce is permissible in cases of adultery and abuse, both of which break God’s commands for marriage (Matthew 19:9; Ephesians 5:28-33). 

It’s hard to cope in the aftermath of divorce. You really loved your spouse, and maybe still do. It’s difficult to deal with a spouse’s unfaithfulness. This heartbreaking reality breaks God’s heart, too. Similarly, abuse, whether physical, emotional, or mental, goes against God’s design for marriage. Divorcing for either of these reasons is painful, and it is vital to know how to deal with it as a follower of Christ.

Mending & Healing 

Mending and healing are both a necessary and significant step in moving forward after divorce. The timeline for recovery will look different for every individual. As you are taking time to mend and heal, know that taking as much time as you need is okay. Going through a divorce is a strenuous and traumatic process that should not be shrugged off. Give yourself time to grieve and to reflect on what happened. 

As mentioned, you loved your spouse, and depending on the reason behind the divorce, it can leave you with feelings of inadequacy, pain, and a broken heart. God understands all of these feelings. You can go to Him and tell Him about what you are going through. The Lord loves you and will surround you with His comfort, support, and love. You cannot heal without the Lord’s help. True hope is found in walking alongside our Savior during this painful and delicate time.

God hates divorce, but He does not hate you. God understands because He has been with you every step of the way. He knows the pain that entered your heart once you found out your spouse had been unfaithful to you. The Lord saw your pain, tears, and the betrayal that crept into your heart. 

In the same way, God saw every form of abuse you endured from your spouse, and He wants to give you healing from the abuse. Never believe the lie that God does not know what you are going through. He knows your pain and wants to lead you to peace. It might take time, but God always surrounds you with His love. You might not feel it because God’s love is not a feeling. Rather, you must rely on what you know, and your knowledge tells you that God loves you, understands your pain, and walks with you through it all (John 3:16; Psalm 23).

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4 NLT

As you begin healing from your divorce, it is essential to remember you do not need to be hard on yourself. Do not blame yourself, and do not tear yourself down. Instead, be kind to yourself and practice extra self-care. Divorces can make you feel that you don’t matter, that nobody cares about you, and that your entire marriage was built upon a lie. Know the truth that your feelings are valid, but also know that you do matter and that many people love you.

When you feel ready, try to reach out to family and friends. Do this at your own pace. If you don’t feel like talking to anyone right now, know that is alright, too. Reach out to loved ones when you think you can because they can support you during this difficult time. Even if you do not want to discuss the divorce with them, you can ask if you and your loved one could go out and get your mind off things. Your friend or family member would be more than happy to help you reset and recharge. 

Trusting the Lord with the Pain

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

As you deal with your divorce, you must also trust the Lord with the pain. It might sound cliche, but it is very important. God wants you to cast all worry, anxiety, and pain on Him (1 Peter 5:7). This includes all of the pain you are experiencing as a result of your divorce. It can be hard to turn the pain over to God, but it is what you must do. You cannot fully heal and move forward without trusting the pain with God. 

You are a beloved child of God, and He hates to see you upset. He has seen your sleepless nights, your pain, and every tear. Your spouse was supposed to be someone who loved, protected, and cherished you, yet your spouse did not do this. It pains God to know that His creation does not obey His marriage design. God created marriage as a good thing; however, humankind has severed it in many ways. You have seen and felt the pain that comes along with a divorce, and you know it is not good.

Trust the Lord with this pain. The pain can sometimes get overwhelming, which is when you need to turn to the Lord. Tell Him all about how you feel and need His help. Ask the Lord to strengthen you and to give you hope for the future when all you see is despair. God will answer your prayer, and even if He does not take you out of the situation, He is still working all things out for your own good (Romans 8:28). 

Letting Go of Resentment 

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32 NLT

Lastly, letting go of your resentment against your ex-husband or ex-wife is also important. We are to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). While this can be hard, it is vital. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we approve or forget what happened. Rather, forgiveness means trusting all these feelings to God. You do not need to leave the rest of your life holding resentment, anger, or unforgiveness toward your ex-husband or ex-wife.

All of your pain and feelings are valid. Sometimes, you might have intense hate toward them or anger, but you must let these feelings pass. Take a moment to sit with these feelings and then let them go. Hate and anger do not bring about the life God has for you. Instead of holding onto these negative feelings, it is crucial to let go of them. The longer you hold onto resentment, unforgiveness, hate, and anger, the longer it will take to heal.

By letting go of resentment and extending forgiveness, you will be able to deal with divorce biblically as a Christian. Allow grace, respect, and kindness to influence your actions. Your ex-husband or ex-wife probably doesn’t deserve your forgiveness or grace, but neither do we deserve God’s forgiveness or grace. Lean into forgiveness and allow God’s healing work in your life. Your life is much more than a divorce. You can still have a beautiful life serving the Lord regardless of marital status. 

Photo Courtesy: © Getty Images/Martin Barraud

Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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