At the risk of sounding insensitive, I wonder whether we mightn't be able to compare divorce to amputation. It is a drastic emergency procedure undertaken as a last resort when life is at stake. It is not unthinkable because it is possible for relationships to become so broken that an end is 'healthier' than leaving the relational destruction to fester and become gangrenous. But it is not a quick and easy solution to the problem. It is not easy. It is not a solution. Rather, like amputation, the aim is harm minimisation, attempting to retrieve at least the possibility of some good from a severely damaged situation. It is an option that will leave scars and require rehabilitation to regain some measure of lost abilities. It is not done for cosmetic reasons, or because you have a sore toe, or even when you have a broken leg - in fact, not even when there has been partial or total paralysis. Where there is injury, even severe injury, seek healing through repentence, forgiveness and reconciliation (of course there is much more to say here). Seek help early (wise counselling saved us in our first years of marriage). Divorce only becomes thinkable when the damage to the marriage is so severe that unless there is separation, then the 'blood loss' or 'poisoned blood' will kill you. Except in very rare emergencies, it is also not a decision to be made (or executed!) without skilled help.
I speak as one who has not been divorced, nor as one who has experienced the divorce of parents. I also do not have any significant experience of amputation. Yet I have ministered (a little) to those with struggling and broken marriages, and to some going through divorce. I would love to hear reflections and comments on this analogy. It is not intended (like any analogy) to be perfect, but is intended to fire the imagination and provide a sense of the gravity of this decision in a culture where it has been too-often abused.
UPDATE: I did not mean to imply that the ex-spouse is to be compared directly to the lost limb.
Saturday, June 23, 2007