Even for people who identify themselves as Christian, marriage separation can and does occur. Churches can be an important source of support for people whose marriages have broken down.
Christian Marriage: Separation and Divorce
Christians are meant to take marriage seriously. Ideally, this is a lifelong union between two people. The traditional marriage ceremony includes an admonition that what God has joined must not be put asunder by any person.
The fact is that Christians are not immune from marriage breakdown. People of this faith can and do get divorced. This is not a desirable outcome, but many Christian churches realize that there are situations where separation may be necessary.
Some examples of cases where Christian marriage separation may be the best choice include:
- There have been incidents of physical abuse between the spouses.
- The children of the marriage have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused.
- One or both spouses have committed adultery.
- Illegal activities are going on in the home.
Getting Support for a Divorce
A person who is a Christian facing divorce is going through one of the most stressful experiences that anyone will experience in his or her lifetime. Coupled with the hurt and anger that accompany the situation may be a sense of guilt that people of this faith shouldn't be getting a divorce or that the church won't understand.
A newly-separated Christian may feel as though he can't get help and support through the church. Many churches provide support to separated and divorced members of the congregation through support groups. By attending meetings with other people who are going through the same experience, a person going through a divorce can help to heal and increase her self-esteem.
Be Good to Yourself
Another strategy for raising self-esteem that is available to anyone going through marriage separation is to find something that is enjoyable and can help the individual pamper him or herself. A trip to a salon for a new hairstyle can provide a boost to a person who is going through a major life change.
Other options for feeling good include:
- Going for a walk
- Taking a bubble bath
- Listening to music
- Reading a book or a magazine
- Spending time with children (your own or someone else's)
Some people find that by serving others, they start to rebuild their self-esteem and heal after their marriage has broken down. A good place to start to find a way to help is by contacting your priest, minister or pastor to ask about places in your community that are looking for volunteers.
Don't overlook help that is available to you as a member of a congregation. You do have the option of getting counseling from your priest or minister. He or she can help you by explaining the church's position on separation and divorce for Christians and coming to terms with the end of your marriage as a Believer.
You can also get help and support by seeing a counselor who is not associated with your Christian faith. Seeing someone who takes a secular approach to his work may be the right choice if you want to talk to someone about how you feel about your divorce and make a plan for moving forward without necessarily focusing on your religious faith. As a client, you are free to talk about anything with your counselor or therapist but it may be helpful to take a step back to look at the situation without feeling as if you have let God or your faith down because of the divorce.
Find Another Church
If you don't feel comfortable continuing to go to your current church, it may be time to switch to a different one. Attending a service at a different church of the same denomination may be just what you need to get a fresh start when you are dealing with a Christian marriage separation.