July 15, 2013

Trials and Tribulations: Christians and Divorce

"Keep the Faith"You are a devout Christian and you think marriage should last forever.  Yet you somehow find yourself facing divorce.  No doubt you are feeling conflict.  You had hoped your faith would help you avoid coming to this place; and you may even feel guilty about the fact that you somehow have found your marriage ending, even if the end of the marriage was not your fault.

Certainly if you believe your faith can help you salvage a happy marriage, you owe it to yourself to work to save the marriage in a manner consistent with what you believe.  However, if the marriage cannot be saved, this may be the time to ask yourself if your Christian principles can guide you during this most difficult time in your journey.

Christianity challenges its believers to practice love, compassion and forgiveness, even under the most difficult circumstances.  In a divorce you will find yourself, at some point, sitting across the table, from a person who you at one point felt a deep sense of love.  Yet, the fear and anger and distrust fueled by divorce may trump all of those feelings.  In addition, the behavior in your spouse during the divorce may not inspire a sense of love and compassion.

Still, Christian principles of love and forgiveness and compassion are meaningless if they cannot be applied to the trials and tribulations of divorce.  A faith that challenges us to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek must, at minimum, challenge us to rise above our feelings of anger and fear.

Of course, a commitment to love and compassion do not mean that other principles of self preservation must be abandoned.  The issues of a divorce will also require you to work to protect yourself, and your children.  Is there a way to practice Christian love and still protect your family?

As a divorce attorney, I have worked with hundreds of Christian clients and devout people of other faiths who struggle with these issues.  Sadly, I have seen some who have allowed the emotions of the divorce to put their faith on hold as they embraced an “all bets are off” approach and treated their spouse as a true adversary. Thankfully, in recent years, I have also worked with many clients, primarily in the Collaborative Process, who have drawn on their faith to find the courage to truly live Christian Principles through their divorce.

The Collaborative Process, by taking clients away from divorce and providing an entire team of professionals, is designed to help divorcing people bring their best selves to the table.  For Christians, that can often mean drawing on principles of faith to face some of the most difficult trials and tribulations.

Ron Ousky
Attorney, Ousky Law Firm

Ron Ousky is a Collaborative Attorney and mediator who has worked with divorcing families for thirty years and focuses on helping his clients find better outcomes through Collaborative Practice, mediation and other creative alternatives. Ron is also the co-author of The Collaborative Way to Divorce, and has trained divorce lawyers throughout North America and in Europe. He is also the co-founder of the Collaborative Alliance, an office sharing suite in Edina, that brings lawyers, mental health professionals and financial experts together to find better solutions for families. To learn more about Ron and his practice, go to www.Ousky.com

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