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How to Survive A Divorce

How to Survive A Divorce

You thought things were fine. Your marriage was steady. Your kids are fine, your house is nice, you’ve provided for everyone’s needs (or so you thought), and you get along with your wife most of the time. Sure, there’s the blow up once in a while, sex not as often as you’d like, some pet peeves lying around, but things are mostly good. Then she leaves or tells you to.

What do you do? 

Ready or Not | Survive A Divorce

If you’ve found yourself suddenly on the receiving end of an unexpected announcement that your marriage is ending, then we have something in common. My ex-wife left without telling me our marriage was ending. I bought her a ticket to go for a visit to her parents. She never returned. I don’t know what stun grenades feel like, but I felt like an emotional stun grenade blew my emotions white. Empty. 

I wasn’t wholly blindsided to the fact that she was unhappy. We had been through counseling, and I thought we were working on the issues that we uncovered. If I had seen it earlier, I might have been able to save my marriage. But there I was, alone in my bed, four kids dependent on me, no real answers, and no hope. 

I found myself ping-ponging between anger, desperation, grief, pride, numbness, and just about every other emotion and attitude that a man can have. The deed was done, and there was just me, no more us. 

Once the divorce was final and too late for me to try anything that might work, I started learning what I needed to make the rest of my life count for God. If I couldn’t be a good husband to her, I’d be a great man, whatever that meant. Great in the sense that God would be pleased no matter if anyone else would. 

What do you suppose was my first step to becoming a great man? (BTW: I’m not claiming I am great – just striving) One word, submission. 

You probably won’t find the word submission in a lot of leadership books. You won’t see it applied to men in a lot of marriage books (unless they are excellent!). Most of your friends probably won’t think to give you this advice. Submission sounds like a loser to many. Not to God.

Submission = How To Survive A Divorce

Submission is a straightforward concept.  It means to willfully put ourselves under Him and anyone else who will lead us to Him. It’s what I discovered I needed to do. I discovered it by asking the question, ‘How did Jesus express His manhood?’ The answer was that He submitted everything He was and did to the Father.

I submitted to other men. I found godly men who would hold me accountable. Not ‘yes’ men who told me how sorry they were or how wonderful I was when I made a small step. I found brutally honest men who kicked me in the butt and showed me how nasty I really was.

I submitted to my children. My children where young adults and teenagers. I asked them to tell me when I was out of line, angry, rude, not likable, prideful, not like Jesus.

I submitted to the Bible. I taught the Bible for nearly twenty-five years with my words but found out my life was far from what I said I believed. I was always reading to find what was ‘right’ – not what was ‘good’. I started looking for how Jesus treated people.

I submitted to good books. Read books that talk about good men and how they live life. Read books about men who have loved well. Men who are praised by their wives because their wives feel loved.

I submitted to every inkling of the Holy Spirit. This is last but most important. You must strain to hear the silent, authoritative voice of the Spirit. He will give you everything you need. Once you hear, you must do, no hesitation.

Healing Comes | Survive A Divorce

When I started submitting, I began to heal. I was finally learning how I might survive a divorce. My anger dissolved, my pride (shown mostly in my judgmental attitudes) lessened, my determination to be a good man grew, my attention to people increased, my work got better, my walk with God became intimate in ways I never felt before, my kids became more precious to me, my whole life turned. Joy is a good word for it. 

I stumbled a lot. I failed even more. But I kept submitting. I kept tapping myself out and letting the Spirit win. I intend to continue. There are many other things I had to do to recover from the separation and divorce I didn’t want, but this was the first step.

I have found God to be more than faithful. My life is abundant and joyous now – yours will be too – you’ll see.

Author: Jim Turner. Author of The Disconnected Man. Pick up a copy today.

 

 

17 Comments

  1. M Giese

    Great perspective and reminder.

    Reply
  2. Carl Zaiser

    Absolutely similar experience. The Holy Spririt softened my heart in the same way, and Godly men illuminated scripture and my state of desperate brokeness. Jesus did restore and mend my life just as He promises with abundance when we submit to Him. Now, I intentionally share my experience and disciple other men who are in a similar circumstance. Praise Jesus for His power and intercession in our lives.

    Reply
  3. Chris Duliga

    That is a certainly a step in the right direction, that God would be a great distance above everyone else in our lives, especially our spouses, however. God wants more than our full heart and submission to Him. God wants to bless us further in restoring our marriages. God’s will is NOT for divorce and separation. God DOES heal the restore marriages. God is glorified in the restoration of our marriages. God’s speaks to that point in the Bible. Don’t accept divorce as final. Seek God for restoration of your marriage. He will do it!!!

    Reply
  4. Todd Baerg

    I can totally relate to your article today, my scenario is the opposite, I was asked to leave but your journey into submission to God is the same as what I have experienced. It has led me down the path of healing and I’m hopeful of a useful future in Gods will.

    Reply
  5. Dennis Mickey

    Thanks for the excellent article Jim. Although I did not endure a divorce I have dealt with the same range of emotions since I found out our 15 years old daughter has a rare, terminal disease. I have utilized many of the steps you have described to move forward but your article has given me even more insight.

    Reply
  6. Tim

    This really spoke to me as I went through my divorce. It was happening, whether I wanted it or not, I wasn’t stopping the train called divorce. I needed to learn to get out of my own way, it took time, but I did, thanks!

    Reply
  7. Ray Moncrieffe

    Thanks for this article. I have gone through the same range of emotions when I was told to leave and that a divorce was coming. I tried to fight this by telling my wife that I would change and we can work through our issues. But the resolve was settled in. I ran quickly back to God and I heard Him say submit. Little did I know I was being called to submit to Him. Until one day, the light came on in my spirit…and I submitted. It was then that God started healing me. That healing came with some chastisement but it was what I needed. God’s chastisement that brings life. It was painful and enjoyable at the same time as I know the work that God was doing within me. I am now submitted to Him and He is showing me a more excellent way in Him. I hate the thought that I am divorced but LOVE the life I now lead in humble submission to Christ. Submission is not word that many people like to hear and accept…but in submitting, there is life. I am still struggling to find my balance emotionally, but God always draws near and comforts me and strengthens me. Thank you for the article and all the men whom have replied about their experience. It helps fuel my hope and resolve to live a submitted life to Christ.

    Reply
  8. Joe

    Jim.

    >> I submitted to good books. Read books that talk about good men and how they live life. Read books about men who have loved well. Men who are praised by their wives because their wives feel loved.

    I would really appreciate getting specific recommendations. Could you share the titles with us please?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Tj Todd

      Jim, thank you for the feedback. I will email you and introduce you to Jim Turner!

      Stay Uncommen

      Reply
  9. Jason Worthington

    Thank you for this article. I’ve read it multiple times. My situation is very similar. My wife and I share equal fault in how we got to this point. She feels divorce is the only solution . So that’s the course she’s taking. Not even wanting to try to reconcile. I can’t understand the constant rejection. I’m working to make myself a better man. I want to be a man of God. Thank you again.

    Reply
  10. Michel Flores

    Working through my separation in the same way. Although we have no biblical reason for divorce I think that’s the only thing that is stopping my wife from filing. She’s declined joint marriage counseling but she suggested that we can date in January. Although I am praying for restoration I’m struggling with thinking about other women ( we’ve been separated coming up on 4 months). Not necessarily sexually but in a dating sense. Would really appreciate prayers in this area as I know I am still in a covenant relationship with my wife and God.

    Reply
    • Tj Todd

      Michel, thank you for sharing your situation. We will be praying for a full restoration of your marriage starting in January. Please keep us updated as you and your wife progress.

      Stay Uncommen!

      Reply
    • Adam C

      Michel,
      Thank you sharing. I encourage you to NOT start dating other women, instead stay focused on God. Pray for Him to reveal what needs refining in you, what your part was in causing the separation, and for healing & restoration in your heart. I know it can be difficult.
      I’ve had been married for over 20 years, a beautiful wife, 5 wonderful kids, a good home, well paying job…but I couldn’t see beyond my self imprisoning walls: anger, resentment, bitterness, guilt, shame, self hatred, hurt, abandonment, rejection…to name a few. I tried counseling, but I eventually had an affair, destroying my marriage. During our separation, my wife dated a handful of men to try to fulfill a need in her of being wanted/loved. She filed for divorce.
      My sin (pain) led me to a place where the right choice was to submit EVERYTHING to God. With the help of others, I focused on God to reveal areas of sin in my life, past hurts (going back to being 5-6 yrs old), and to combat the enemies lies (false beliefs) with biblical truth.
      We both continued to work on ourselves first then our marriage, over two years later by the grace of God and His healing of our hearts through our submission, we will renew our vows next spring. Praise God!
      It will take time, God’s timing. No matter what happens with your marriage, I encourage you to believe that God has a plan for you. Whether your marriage is restored or not. God does not waste, He wants you refined and healed.

      Reply
    • Rob

      Michel,

      If you mean “dating” your wife – it might work. If you mean dating others, NO! You’re either committed to reconciliation/restoration or you’re not. What kind of a mixed message are you sending to your wife and to God’? Upon learning that my wife was filing for divorce I joined a divorce support group at my church that used Divorce Care, a faith-based DVD/workbook program. It was strongly emphasized there that one should not date or seek new relationships for at least two years following a divorce. Why? Because we are emotionally vulnerable – not a good state to be in when you’re trying to develop a healthy relationship. We need time to heal and time to allow God to work in us and through us. My divorce was finalized nine months ago, and my wife already has someone who has moved in with her. The pain of watching this is intense, but I worry for her because she is seeking comfort in him, not Him. Pray for direction and slow down brother.

      Reply
  11. Sam Waayers

    I had a similar experience. My ex wife had an affair and decided to leave me and my kids. It was a very difficult situation. My son has Down Syndrome and requires a lot of extra care. Of course I went through a range of different emotions (anger, depression, loneliness) were probably the top three. Honestly, if I didn’t have a relationship with Christ I don’t think I could have survived. I have remained submitted to him and trust him completely. I feel like a completely different person than I was than when I was married. I believe that is totally to Christ’s glory.

    Reply
  12. Joe Mercado

    This is a great read! I’ve been divorced for almost a year and a half now it was the most painful two years of my life. Today I started to begin a new journey and seek to understand just how much God loves me and this short little Bible study, within the Bible app, has put me on a path to gain a deeper understanding of God’s love for me. My divorce was also unwanted, and I also got custody of my children. This Bible study has strengthened me and confirmed much of what God is done in my life so thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Tj Todd

      Joe, thank you for sharing your story. I shared with our Board of Directors and they all Praised God for His work in your life.

      Stay Uncommen!

      Reply

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