Elnora – “First and most important is helping that person heal on the spiritual level. Help her come to complete forgiveness of the spouse, herself, God, other people. That is probably the most important thing. Divorce is such a delicate situation for the church. It is easy for the hurting person to become defensive and feel like the church is trying to change them.”
Dot – “What was the most hurtful thing the church did?”
Elnora – “Not knowing what to do, or assuming that it was my fault. The assumption that the wife is to blame.”
How can the church help divorced women?
Elnora – “Take an interest in their children. My church did that so beautifully.”
It means so much when others, men or women, offer help to care for the children, hold them, sit with them, give friendly and respectful advice, acknowledge the difficulty, notice the children, and pour into the children.
“Have a mentorship program for single moms, not just for divorced women. Maybe widows, too.
“My church helped me financially, but also helped me stand on my own two feet. Don’t just hand them everything. It’s a question of how do you care for them and care about them, but don’t let them wallow in their pain?”
Lynette – “Support their dreams when they come, like your small group did when you went back to school to be a nurse.”
Elnora – “Help them dream.”
Dot – “That is part of restoring their dignity.”
Elnora – “Exactly.” Personal affirmation is important to build up self-esteem after all the rejection.
“Include them in couples’ activities. It seems like sometimes people don’t know what to do with me, so they just don’t include me.
“We need to talk to men sometimes when our car breaks down or something is broken in the house. Boundaries are still important. But women need to not be jealous of their husband talking to a woman unless it is [about] emotional stuff.”
Naomy – “How do you avoid the temptation to speak ill [of your husband]?”
Elnora – “The desire for reconciliation was so strong. I wanted my kids to respect their dad when he came back. I tried not to confide in friends in front of the kids. But, I did not want them to think that what their dad did was right.”
Dot – “I am sure that was a fine line.”
Elnora – “Death is seen as a clean break, but rejection is such a jagged cut. I told complete strangers that my marriage was going to be saved. There were glimmers of hope and then they fragmented. For 12 years I felt my marriage would be saved.”
Dot – “I wanted it to work for you all those years,” but how long can you hope? How do we decide to give up?
Elnora – “I gave up the day of my ex-husband’s wedding. I prayed that God would remove that desire [for the restored relationship]. I felt something physically leave my body. The covenant was broken.”