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No-Fault Divorce
Photo: Michal Koralewski
Is there such a thing as no-fault divorce? I once believed there was, but after initiating one and now a decade on the other side, I realize it’s a phrase that lawyers coined to make the dissolution of a marriage more palatable.

I married three days after I turned 21 and possessed all the attributes that a wife should have. I made most of my own clothes, was an outstanding cook, could sing and play the piano. The one thing I didn’t possess was the belief that I was an amazing child of God and that He had a plan for my life and that letting Him guide me was worth the wait.

After 29 years of marriage, I decided to leave the marriage. I was miserable and seemed incapable of making the marriage any better. But my choice was a selfish one and, again, I didn’t wait on God. It’s been 10 years since my divorce. I am still single, have accomplished a lot during the past decade and have a promising career. I am not lonely but experience recurring guilt about what I set into motion.

Our children now schedule times to see us separately. We’re all uncomfortable when thrust together at special occasions such as baby dedications, birthday parties, weddings — no one enjoys having us in the same room. I’ll never get used to seeing my husband of 29 years with his arm around another woman.

Was my divorce a mistake? Yes, because I don’t live in a vacuum. It’s not just my children and their families that were affected, my mother and father and in-laws were hurt. I lost many of our friends through the transition. And what kind of influence did we have on fellow church members as they saw a seemingly happy family split apart? If we had taken all the effort, emotion and money that we expended during the divorce and used that toward making our marriage better, we would be growing old together.

What could we have done differently?

1. Pre-marital counseling may have pointed out that we weren’t well suited, or made us aware of potential problems. We had no counseling.

2. Surrounded ourselves with caring Christian couples to hold us accountable and point out problems they saw in our relationship 

3. A Christian marriage counselor could have given us guidance. A check-up once a year or every other year with a professional would have gotten us back on track when we began veering off course.

4. Made sure we had regularly scheduled time together away from the children.

5. Sought God’s counsel BEFORE making any life-changing decisions.

Since I didn’t do that, what can I do now?

1. Forgive myself and my ex for the past.

2. Seek God’s guidance to keep me on the path He’s mapped out for me.

3. Never hesitate to share what I’ve learned with others contemplating divorce.

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