Note: When a Christian marriage unravels, many questions rise to the surface. In this four-part series, Elisabeth Corcoran attempts to provide answers from the inside of the unraveling.

“It is impossible for me to shake you from my mind.  Everywhere I turn, everything I see, everything I hear reminds me of you.  Who am I fooling?  I love you.  I need you.”

Cut to…

”Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. Past attempts at reconciliation have failed, and future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”

A lot can happen in twenty years between a man and a woman. 

My situation has left many scratching their heads, and from what I can tell, a few tongues wagging as well.  And I don’t blame them. Because I love Jesus with my whole heart and I am allowing my marriage to end.  And I am here to say that both can coincide within the same person. 

I’ve held my marriage problems so close to the chest for so long – too long perhaps -- except for my inner circle and the random counselor.  But I’m now at a fresh place of stripping off the layers for more of the world to see, I feel ready to answer questions that have been asked of me, and I’m willing to do so for a more public forum. 

Oswald Chambers said, “There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is intimately aware of and shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. God divides the private life of his saints and makes it a highway for the world on one hand and for himself on the other.” So since my life is apparently not my own as a follower of Christ, I am finding that the entire point of my struggles is to share with others how I made it through with the help of Jesus. 

One woman wanted to know why I stayed in my hard marriage so long, because she doesn’t understand why God wouldn’t want me to be happy, and why I didn’t just do what was “right for me” a long time ago.

One woman wanted to know how I stayed in my hard marriage for so long, because she’s in one too, and sometimes feels like she can barely make it another day, let alone the rest of her lifetime.

And one woman wanted to know why I’m not staying in my marriage forever no matter what, because she believes there are a select few biblical reasons for divorce and she thinks my circumstances don’t fit the profile.

I have a feeling that there aren’t only three women who might like to ask these questions of any woman who calls herself a Christ-follower and is at the same time ending her marriage. I know I would. For every Christian divorce I’ve known about in the past fifteen years, I would’ve given anything to corner the wife for an hour and hear her story.  How did they get from point A to point B?, does she feel she’s doing the right thing? Can she still look God in the eye? All of that and more.

These are fair questions. And they deserve thoughtful, authentic, in-depth answers. In this four-part series, I will put forth my most honest attempts at answering them. 

Please keep in mind before I begin that I can only speak for myself and not for anyone else.  And though I love God and treasure Scripture as my personal truth source, I am not claiming that what I am about to say is God’s holy word for everyone’s situation.  Only God can deem that for you, and my hope is that he does.

Before I jump in with answering those three questions though, I’m going to give some background on my marriage so you can see where I’m coming from.