It’s time to talk about my divorce. I have been divorced for 12 years and 6 months. I was married for 12 years and 6 months. I divorced my husband in January of 2004. Those words look so stark. And they should. Divorce is a stark and hard thing—a tearing, a breaking, a death.
I believe God is calling me to share some of this journey with you. But know as you read this that this is far from my entire story. This is a portion and a perspective. One reason I am writing this is because every day I hear of a woman who is choosing divorce very early on in marriage.
I want to start by saying I don’t tell this story to judge or condemn anyone or make you feel like I’m judging your story. To write a blanket “this is what you should do” post that fits every difficult situation is impossible. I am just telling my story because it’s what I know and what I have. And I need to tell what God has revealed to me in the past few years about His heart for marriage, for miracles, and for covenant.
I’m writing this for those who may be contemplating divorce. Let me be clear that I am NOT talking to those in abusive situations. And there are different kinds of abuse. You may be physically battered and bruised or your heart and mind may be battered and bruised. This post is not about me telling you that you have to stay in your marriage no matter what.
Back when my marriage fell apart, God taught me of His great love, covering, provision, and grace for me. His presence came down and dwelt with me as a Father when I needed one most. My earthly father died five years before my separation, and I was in desperate need of wise counsel and fatherly care. I had previously never experienced God’s presence in just that way. He was tender to me. He led me beside still waters in a valley and tended to me there. My ex-husband and I were separated for a year and a half and God pruned me, taught me, and comforted me in that time. My marriage was difficult, and I did not take the decision of divorce lightly.
But here is the gist of this post: I now regret divorcing my husband.
The reasons we divorced are personal and private and won’t be shared here. My ex-husband has seen and approved this post. This is his story, too. I also want to clear the question of abuse. We had our issues, but that was not one of them. My ex is a good man and we share a friendship now and a hope for the other’s happiness in life. His family is still very precious to me.
I was doing what I thought was my only choice at the time. After 12 years and 6 months, the woman I am now would not have chosen to divorce my husband.
You may be there right now, feeling “choice-less,” trapped, feeling like all you can see are your vast needs, heartache, rejection. Or maybe you are void of any feeling at all, and you can’t see a different way than divorce. You may feel like you made a wrong choice. Maybe you are distracted by another man, and you daydream about him bringing you a fresh start. Wherever you are, I hope you will read this and ask God what He would say to your reason or reasons for divorcing.
Looking back, I just wish I could have had vision beyond my circumstances, to see beyond myself, to walk by faith and not by sight. I hope my 12 years and 6 months of perspective, of living and learning and regret, will be insight for you of what you might experience years from now if you choose divorce.
I am talking to someone who is feeling hopeless with no biblical reason for divorcing; someone who just wants OUT. My advice to you is to pause. Just stop. Wait. Breathe. Make room for God to move, even if it takes years (and it might), look to Him, wait for Him to move and not your husband. Ask God what to do and then really listen to Him—and not through the lens of only what you want Him to say. Give yourself distance, time, and space to evaluate your motives.
I’ll be blunt. If you believe that His best for you or your “best self” is on the other side of divorcing your husband, then you believe a lie. Your best self is found in dying to self (Gal. 2:20, Luke 9:23).
If you are divorced or are contemplating divorce, someone may have reminded you of how God hates divorce and He does (Mal. 2:16). He hates divorce, but at the same time He loves you. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. They go together. God knows what is on the other side of divorce.
I heard Beth Moore teach long ago at an event that we think we know the true desires of our hearts but it is God who truly knows them (better than we ever could) and ultimately He will guide our hearts there (Psalm 37:4). In other words, we think we know what is best for us but only God knows and sees it.
Recently, I have talked to a couple of other friends who have divorced from very difficult marriages and they both regret it. You can only know what divorce feels like after it is done. And it doesn’t feel good. The freedom you think might finally satisfy you will not. Only Jesus can satisfy the deep longings of your soul.
My greatest regret is not having more faith. Jesus has so much grace for my choice. He had it then and He has it now. I’m not beating myself up or walking in condemnation. He is full of grace. He is sovereign. He is the One who has been pruning and teaching me all of these years. I just wish I had been still before the Lord longer. I wish I had rested more in Him and waited and not just moved or drawn a hard line in the sand. Maybe you need space to breathe and be before the Lord. If you need it, then take it.
In closing, I will simply say this. I believe I missed a miracle. This month would have marked my 25th wedding anniversary. I can’t stand next to my ex and say, “by God’s infinite grace and power, we have made it” as I have heard other couples say.
I’ll never know what strength God might have given through our weaknesses as a married couple if I had stayed, if I had continued to pray and waited more on Him. But this I do know, His resurrection and healing power are alive and well today. God is a covenant God. That vow I made was a serious thing to Him. God is a miracle worker STILL. And He is merciful.
So what now? Go to Him with your dying marriage before you sign any papers. Ask God for vision beyond your current circumstances. Get good Christian counseling. Cling to Jesus. Ask Him to give you a different “want to” if you really just want to divorce and it’s all you can think about.
Put your need for a miracle before Him. Go with His time frame, not yours. Take heart. Wait on the Lord. I’m praying for you, sister.
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Paige Greene is the Director of Adult Live Events for LifeWay where she manages a team of event planners who implement some 30 Bible Study, enrichment and simulcast events for women, men, married couples and collegiate and senior Adults each year. She came to LifeWay in 2006 originally to lead the Women’s Events area.
Prior to her work at LifeWay, Paige managed domestic community relations for the Operation Christmas Child project with Samaritan’s Purse. She is also working on a Master’s in Professional Counseling. In her spare time, she is a fun Aunt to four teenage and young adult nieces and loves traveling, singing and spending time with her family!