Pros and cons of divorce
First of all, you need to realize what divorce will not do for you:
- It won’t end the pain of rejection or loneliness.
- It won’t instantly bring you happiness. You will still have the grief of loss, and that will last for a while.
- It won’t guarantee that you can find someone better.
- It doesn’t end all your problems. You would be trading one set of problems for a somewhat different set.
- It doesn’t mean you never have to deal with the other person.
- It won’t end the control issues; you will still have to work together where your kids are concerned.
- It won’t make life better for your kids.
- It won’t negate the need for you to forgive the other person. (Unless you just want to live with the bitterness for the rest of your life.)
It’s easy, when you’re reeling in pain, to only think about how divorce would (or might) end that pain, But I think you need to carefully consider the pro’s and con’s of divorce.
- You don’t have to keep trying to make the marriage work. (But you do still have to make your relationship as exes and as co-parents work.)
- You might protect yourself from the disappointment of hoping for change and having those hopes dashed. (Then again, you might not. The hope may still be there, even if you’re divorced.)
- You can, legally, hook up with someone else. Whether or not you have that right in God’s view, or whether that’s a healthy thing for you and your kids is another matter.
- Divorce doesn’t just split a marriage: it splits extended family (grandparents, cousins, etc.), most of your friends, your pets, your possessions, and your household income.
- If you have kids, you’ll still be in a relationship with your ex because of them, so you’ll still have to deal with each other in certain ways: how to spend the holidays, paying for college, dealing with their problems, parenting them through the teen years and the launch into adulthood. It will be harder for you to cooperate on these issues if you haven’t resolved the issues in your own relationship — in or out of marriage.
- You will not be able to spend every holiday with your kids, your kids will be missing one of you, and/or your kids will spend holidays rushing from one family to the other.
- You send your kids the message that people who love you will leave you. You give them reason to doubt you or anyone else who says, “I’ll always be here for you.”
- It will affect your lifestyle. First, the legal costs of a divorce. Then forever, your combined incomes will have to support two households instead of one. This will affect everything from where you live to your kids’ college choices.
- You have no guarantee of the perfect marriage with someone else. (The “perfect marriage” is a fantasy, anyway. Every marriage has tough times and disappointments.)
- If you date another person, you have to put up with their ex and yours.
- You will have to go through bad times and important events alone.
- If you date, expect repeated disappointment and/or heartbreak. Mr. or Ms. Right is rarely the first one to show up.
- If you date or remarry, you have to find a good person who’s worthy of being in your children’s lives. And what if you’re wrong?
- Most members of the opposite sex will be wary of you because you are one of the walking wounded.
- You — and your kids — will lose out on the opportunity to see how God can redeem a hopeless situation.
Is staying together easy? No! Will everything resolve in a few months? No. But from my own personal experience, from what I’ve seen in friends who have divorced, and from what I know firsthand about God, I believe that sticking it out is the better, richer and healthier choice, and some day, you will be so glad you did!
(If you or your children are suffering abuse, however, you should seek safety first, get help, and assess the marriage with the help of professionals.)
Counseling can also be very helpful. Learn about Hope’s counseling staff here.