Let God Heal Your Wounds After Divorce
- Wednesday, August 29, 2001
Here are some ways you can heal after experiencing a divorce:
- Rather than dwelling on blaming your former spouse for your marriage's disintegration, honestly consider your role in the relationship's breakdown. Confess your wrong attitudes and actions to God and ask for His forgiveness. Then ask Him for the grace to begin the process of forgiving your former spouse. It may take time to fully forgive, but if you're willing, the Holy Spirit will enable you to do so.
- Ask God to give you a vision of how you He wants you to grow as a person so you can move forward into a healthy life and learn to love again. Then commit to working toward that vision, relying on God's strength to take specific steps along the way. Ask God for a sense of hope to keep you focused on the future rather than the past.
- Surrender your feelings - fear, grief, sadness and more - to God, and ask Him to transform them into peace and even joy through the power of His Spirit working in your life. You may want to express your feelings in a letter to your former spouse, which you can either mail or destroy after writing.
- Cooperate fully with your former spouse when working through logistics such as co-parenting your children and dividing property. Communicate directly, rather than through attorneys, as much as possible.
- Know that healing is a process and that the pace at which you'll heal is unique. Don't compare yourself to others, and don't rush into major lifestyle changes (especially new romantic relationships) while you're still healing. Give yourself the time you need; you'll be grateful later for having done so.
- Join a support group made of members who have also recently undergone divorces. They can help provide encouragement, new perspectives, affirmation, companionship and more.
- Ask God to help you break your emotional ties to your former spouse and learn new ways of relating to him or her, perhaps eventually as a friend.
- Give your children all the support they need to deal with this major crisis in their lives. Assure them that they did not cause the divorce and that both you and your former spouse will always love them and be active participants in their lives. Never use your children as pawns in any battles between you and your former spouse, such as by pumping them for information about each other or denying them visit times with your former spouse so you can punish him or her. Be honest about your sadness over the divorce, but never say anything derogatory about your former spouse in front of your children. Remember that your children love both you and your former spouse and that fueling a sense of divided loyalty will greatly harm your children. Give your children access to counseling to help them through their grief, and pray for the Holy Spirit to bring healing to them as well.
- Know that none of your pain will be wasted if you give it to God and trust Him to use it to bring about positive growth in your life.
Adapted from When Your Divorce is Finally Final: How to Heal the Wounds and Learn to Love Again, copyright 2001 by David B. Hawkins. Published by Victor, an imprint of Cook Communications Ministries, Colorado Springs, Colo., www.ivictor.com, 1-800-437-4337.
Dr. David B. Hawkins is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice who specializes in domestic violence, adult and family issues, and marriage enrichment.
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