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Christians and divorce -It's hard 😞

(11 Posts)
helphelp123 Sun 12-Jun-16 22:44:06

I was very unhappy in my marriage. My H did not treat me well emotionally, and got us into a right mess financially. The debts got so dangerous I asked him to leave. I have been so much happier emotionally as the tension in the house was awful to live with.
However, he is now promising the debts are sorted and that he is in a much better place/realises he treated me badly etc and wants us to be a family again. Since our split (December) he has been a way way better Dad - never did anything with the children before, he has cut down his drinking and is certianly more
We have both started going to church, separately. I love my church, just started an Alpha group and feel much more hope for my life.
However my dilemma is our relationship. He desperately wants to try again, start going on dates with each other and see how we go. But I was so so hurt, so messed up that the thought terrifies me. I would hate to be that downtrodden woman again. I could never trust him in terms of bills again, his debts are horrendous so would always be hanging over us and that's not something I really want back. Plus - I just can't believe he can have changed enough in terms of his personality and treatment of people (though I contradict myself here as he has done with the kids)
The bottom line is I don't want to get back together, but I am struggling with this within my new found faith and kind of feel I have to give it a go.
How do I pray for God's guidance on this? I have prayed but I just don't know if I am just trying to listen to the answer I want.....
It all just feels so hard. In the cold hard world I could walk away with ease believing it was for the best. But now I feel perhaps I owe it to God to work at the marriage

peachpudding Mon 13-Jun-16 09:57:17

I can not see how a loving God would want you to live a miserable life with a person who hurts you. People dont change in a few months. Perhaps you need to direct your thoughts to accepting that you deserve to be happy and there is nothing wrong with trying to achieve that.

niminypiminy Mon 13-Jun-16 11:34:52

You might try this as a way forward. It's based on a method of praying through our lives and trying to see what God's will is.

First, tell him you need three weeks to think about it, and ask him not to contact you in that time.

For a week try living as if you had decided to give it another go. DON"T ACTUALLY DO IT! See how it feels to think about getting back together again. Does it make you feel exhausted, hopeless, depressed ... or do you feel happy and energised?

Then for the next week try living as if you had decided not to give it another go. STILL DON'T DO ANYTHING! See how it feels to have decided your marriage is finally over. Again, does it make you feel exhausted, hopeless, depressed ... or do you feel happy and energised?

At the end of the two weeks think back, over the last two weeks. When did you feel energy and hope for the future? When did you feel a lack of energy and hope? When we are in tune with God's will we often feel energised and hopeful - when we are becoming the people he wants us to be.

I think you may well find that, as peachpudding says, God's will for you is not for you to live with someone who hurts you and your children. And that God isn't asking you to try and change him or to give him another chance. How he changes is between him and God, but your responsibility is to build a life for yourself and your children.

Give yourself time - don't let him pressure you into an immediate decision. And remember that you have done a brave and difficult thing in leaving him, and that God holds you in his hands as you make your new life.

ReallyTired Mon 13-Jun-16 11:44:38

Christian teaching on divorce was applicable to different times. Two thousand years ago men who divorced their wives threw them out into the desert with no means of supporting themselves. Women had no rights then and divorce often meant the woman being forced into proscution, children not being supported or possible death.

When Jesus “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” he was condeming the practice of throwing the woman out into the desert without the means to survive.

I suppose that from a fundermentalist christian point of view you are not free to marry or have a relationship with another man while your ex is alive. However that is one extreme interpretation. Maybe you need to talk to people in your church and pray for guidence.

niminypiminy Mon 13-Jun-16 11:58:04

I think you'll find that what ReallyTired describes as Christian teaching on divorce bears no relation to what most churches actually believe and teach!

In the Church of England you can remarry in church after a divorce (though it sometimes needs to have a special agreement). I know many Christians who are divorced, some are remarried and some are not, but that's not because they're forbidden to. I also know lots of Christians who are living with partners without being married to them.

Some churches with very conservative teaching may try and urge you to go back to your marriage. If this happens to you then I would encourage you to find a different church, one that is more accepting of the fact that marriages break down and sometimes it is much better to leave a marriage, especially if it is abusive.

ReallyTired Mon 13-Jun-16 13:18:48

I don't think that its that easy for a divorcee to remarry in the church of England. The church I attend will bless such a relationship if they are confident that the new relationship did not lead to a breakdown of the original marriage.

The teaching of the new testament is very anti divorce. Maybe its true that large number of churches completely ignore what is in the bible, but given that the op says she is doing an alpha course its likely she is attending a church where the teaching is bible based. With bible based teaching you need to look at the context of the situation being described. You also need to pray for guidence and it might help to talk to other people at church.

There are no easy or simple answers for the OP in her situation. Our society is very different to the world that Jesus lived in. A good church will support the OP and help her work out the right answers for herself.

icklekid Mon 13-Jun-16 13:25:20

You could try dating etc without any pressure to get back together/live together/ share finances. It sounds like if you do eventually decide you want to work on your marriage seperate finances or you being in control of then would be important. Sometimes when praying you have to push doors and see if they open, if you don't want to though then don't. Just continue to allow him to show his intentions through his relationship with your dc.

mummytime Mon 13-Jun-16 13:47:39

You only split in December. That is no time for real life long change.
I do not think God is happy with "rice Christians" people who decide to follow him just to "get" something they want, food or a relationship. Before you should even consider a reconciliation you need to know this is a real change, and that is more than a few months.
The biblical standard of marriage is that a husband should "love his wife as Christ lives the Church". Does your ex show any of that self-sacrificing love? Does he show love to the children on that scale?

As a mother you have a duty to protect your children, and not endanger them by returning to a relationship with someone who will only "hurt them" again; even if it is "only" emotionally.

peachpudding Mon 13-Jun-16 14:50:28

It comes across in the op that even if (ex)DH had changed you just aren't in love or even like him anymore. If that is the case you would still be forcing yourself to be in a marriage that whilst bearable wouldn't make you happy.

Re marriage, its probably a stupid question but how can a church stop you marrying whoever you want? Its the state that legalises your marriage.

TooLazyToWriteMyOwnFuckinPiece Mon 13-Jun-16 14:56:36

How are his debts both "sorted" and so horrendous they will always hang over you? I think it is highly unlikely that large debts have been cleared in a few months. Has he worked on what made the debts happen in the first place?
I know several ministers who are divorced and remarried, they obviously didn't feel God wanted them to stay together forever.

ReallyTired Mon 13-Jun-16 15:03:17

"Re marriage, its probably a stupid question but how can a church stop you marrying whoever you want? Its the state that legalises your marriage."

The church cannot stop you marrying whoever you want in a civil cermony. Depending on the denomination, they may well guilt trip you into making certain decisions.

A little bit of time to think what the OP wants is probably good idea.

It is hard to be a modern christian and follow the teaching of a book written two thousand years ago. One timeless requirement is "To love your neighbour as yourself." and to forgive those who tresspass against them.

It may well be cruel to give your ex and your children false hope of reconcilation if you decide to date your ex. Forgiving your ex for mistreating you does not necessarily mean taking him back. The two of your may need to realise that that chapter of your life is closed and you need to develop an amicable relationship for the sake of your children.

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