|Another Grief: Death of a Marriage
© Betty Sue Eaton
|A Christian Grief Ministry
The hostess of a live television talk show introduced herself to me as I arrived at the
broadcast studio. I was a little nervous at being a guest on her show, but I thought since
it was a Christian show things would be manageable for me. The main topic was the
discussion of my newly released book, Listening to the Garden Grow, and as nervous
as I was, I was greatly excited as well.
We ran through the premise of the show and went directly into the stage area and met
the director who also gave me some rules of production. I felt relief as it didn't seem all
that daunting. But about a minute before the director counted down, "Five, four, three,
two, one, GO," the hostess covered the microphone with her hand and leaned over
whispering, "I hope you will have patience with me today. I just found out this morning
that my husband of twenty-two years has left me for another woman! I'm a little off my
I was totally taken aback and said a prayer, "Lord, I didn't need to hear THAT this
morning of all mornings! Please be with me and tell me what to say!" I responded that I
would try to field most of the call-ins and do the best that I could. When the director said
a silent "GO!" my heart almost stopped!
The first call came in and I was able to give a reasonable response that seemed to
satisfy the caller. Then another came in and again I measured up to the challenge. I
breathed a silent "Thank You, Lord!" as the director called "Break". We had five minutes
or so to recover, but my hostess leaned over again covering the microphone with her
hand and stated, "The woman my husband left me for was my best friend and prayer
partner of 15 years! He is pastor and founder of our church and we all attended
together. I am just devastated. What will I ever do?"
After an hour, the show finally came to an end and I tried my best to comfort the lady
telling her that she should rely on the Lord to guide her over the coming days. She wrote
me a lovely letter thanking me for my graciousness and concern during my brief visit to
her show. We became very good friends over the ensuing years sharing many phone
calls at all hours of the days and nights. She called me many times crying out in
confusion, anger and desperation trying to sort out having not only her church taken
away from her, but her home, her friend, her show and her livelihood. She was mourning
a shattered heart and life. She was mourning the death of her marriage.
I doubt that many women suffer such a devastating loss as my friend had, but many,
many do suffer a broken marriage and tend to blame themselves alone for the breakup.
So what can one do to recover from a grief as deep as that? Turn to the Lord for
answers. Do not blame yourself for the choices of your spouse. You cannot live the life
of another person even though we sometimes think we can. It's impossible and can only
result in further heartache. But the most important thing to remember is that God did not
desert you in this event, your spouse deserted you and God!
As with those grieving the loss of a loved one through death, survivors of a failed
marriage go through some of the very same behavior. Blaming one's self instead of the
one who left. Eating too much or not at all. Becoming manic in daily activities or staying
in bed with the blinds drawn withdrawing from a support system of friends and family.
Engaging in tirades of anger at everything, even things that had nothing to do with the
breakup of the marriage, or people who try to reach out to give you hope and courage to
deal with the situation. Anger is a vile emotion that produces nothing but more useless
anger. It can do nothing to change the situation nor can it produce anything positive for
Healing a broken marriage or relationship takes no less time than in the physical death
of your mate. But healing can only come through realizing that God is still in control of
your life and that of your mate and still dictates your time spent on this earth. How you
choose to spend it is totally up to you alone. Not your former spouse, not your television
show, not your former friend, only you. As my friend finally came to accept, you alone
can choose to move on and find another life without the one who hurt you so badly,
even if it means moving to another place to live as she did. Or you can choose to wallow
daily in self pity blaming everyone outside yourself. Only God will know that answer, and
I beg you, please, go to your knees and earnestly beseech the Lord to show you the
answers as my friend did. In the stark light of reality, she found that she, as well as he
each contributed a share of blame, and she accepted that fact and decided to move on
with her life.
The last I heard, she had moved back to the town where her mother lived and was
reconciling her life with new associates, a new job in the university where she received
her doctorate degree as a professor, and new personal interests but always with the
help of the Lord. Teaching psychology, her past vocation, has allowed her to become
involved in the lives of her students as not only teacher, but counselor, mentor and
fellow Christian friend.
For her it was a long recovery period from the day she whispered over the microphone
that her husband had left her for another woman, but now she sees that her full
Christian potential has at last found a very satisfying and productive place in her life and
the lives of many more searching young people. And perhaps the best part of her
recovery is the fact that God never deserted her, He just allowed her to reach out and
search for Him in another more meaningful place.
If you have been through a divorce or breakup of a long term commitment with a spouse
of significant other that has left you dazed, hurt, angry, and confused, it is my fervent
prayer that you will continue to rely on God to guide you even when the future seems
empty of any promise or hope. Empty? No hope? That is the farthest thing from the
truth! God is and always will be there if you will trust that He alone can heal your hurt,
turn to Him day and night, and always seeks His guidance for your every action more
than you have at any other time in your Christian life. He promised that He would
comfort you and heal you if you would only ask. And He will! I know that is true because
I speak from my own personal experience.
My prayer is that you will find that Solid Rock, God Almighty through Jesus Christ, our
Risen Savior, upon which to rebuild your life and future. ~ Betty