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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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If you're divorcing ...

Be gentle with yourself. Your world has turned upside down. Give yourself permission to take time and space to grieve and heal. Remind yourself how much God loves you. Let that soak in.

•Take care how much you tell your children. Be honest but spare the details. They need to love both parents.

•Find one close friend who can hear your anger and will let it go. You need a place to express it without dumping on everyone, especially not your children.

•Forgive yourself and your spouse when the time is right. If you're angry with God, be angry until you can forgive God too. Accept God's forgiveness and grace. Unforgiven sins sap our energy. Forgiveness is more complicated if abuse is involved. Talk with someone about this.

•Get help and support from friends or from professionals.

•Face the pain. The only way to get over it is to go through it.

•Learn the lesson of singling. Living single and learning the difference between loneliness and aloneness is important, whether one intends to remain single or whether it's part of the healing before the possibility of another relationship.

•Reclaim what you need when you need it. For example, after nine years I reclaimed my family name--a symbol of my identity. And after 12 years I had my engagement ring reset. The new ring is rich with symbolism and reminds me of the good things from my 20-year marriage.

Be open to new life and God's surprising grace, which constantly surrounds you. Any traumatic event offers us the possibility of growth. Divorce is no exception. Someday you may see that the ocean you once thought threatened to drown you really was God's unconditional love surrounding you.


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