If and when divorce happens, it usually comes as a surprise. I have yet to meet a married couple that expects to get divorced. For most of us, the marriage vows are part of a sacred ritual surrounded by scripture, prayer and blessing….To me, this was the most mysterious aspect of divorce. How could these words spoken before God no longer hold any truth? It’s a question that’s rarely discussed. Instead I heard unsolicited and unwanted answers to the unasked question, “Why did my marriage end?” Well-intentioned people would say, “Every marriage has its struggles,” as if my divorce came about because we couldn’t agree on the children’s bedtime. The underlying message was, “you took the easy way out,” “you’ve given up” or “you obviously didn’t try hard enough.”
These people assumed that divorce is a kind of cheating; in other words, if we had taken our marriage seriously enough, it would have worked. This assumption glosses over the fractured, damaged and sinful reality of human life. Divorce among God’s people is a fact. Even though we strive for a spiritual ideal, marriages can fail. Contrary to some conventional wisdom, divorce is not easy, and for most of us it is not entered into lightly.