The consequences to and for the children of divorce have been well-documented. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a study saying that divorce is an advantage to children in any way—scholastically, sociologically, spiritually or emotionally. The prayer of divorced parents in raising their children becomes, “Please, Lord, don’t let this mess them up too much! Please help us to raise these children, even though we’re apart, in such a way as would be edifying to them. Bring them through this with minimal damage and allow them to be well-adjusted, happy, and God-honoring adults.”
My boys were two and five when their father and I divorced. The reason for our divorce does not matter here—only to say that, in my case, I felt there was no other option. If I knew then what I know now, perhaps things could have been different. The past belongs to the past and it would be foolish to dwell there.
I think the boys’ dad and I did the best we could by our children. We wanted what was best for them. We prayed for their safety, their health, their spiritual well-being. We loved them, cared for them, and tried, in our separate ways, to give them what they needed in growing up to be men who love the Lord.
Looking at them now, my heart is overwhelmed with pride and gratitude at the men they’ve become. They both had to deal with our divorce in their own ways, but the Lord saw them through those years and has blessed them both with salvation in Him. My only prayer as they left the nest and entered into lives of their own was that He would draw them close to Him. He has answered that prayer more abundantly than I would ever have dreamed.
Even though I recognize it was GOD who brought them through their childhoods, I still have a little tendency to want to pat myself on the back and say, “You did good, Deborah. They’re great men with strong personalities and an even stronger devotion to the Lord.”
My mother, in only the way she can do, just poked another little hole in that idea. While lunching the other day, she mentioned the fact that when my boys were young they always referred to “my mom’s house,” or “my dad’s house.” It was never “our house” or “my house.” She said she always felt so sorry for them about that. Instantly I recalled all the times I’d heard them say that. But until she mentioned it, I had never thought of that.
My son married a woman with two children. They are children of divorce. And I’ve heard them speak in those same terms, of “my mom’s” or “my dad’s.” I had the privilege of spending Sunday afternoon and evening with my grandson—the youngest of my son’s step-children, aged 12. So I casually interviewed him on this subject.
I asked him if there was one or the other home he called, “his house.” Or does he always thinks in terms of mom’s house or dad’s house? If he was studying in Europe for a year, let’s say, and he came “home,” where would that be? His answer melded right into my mother’s astute observation. He said he’d have to go to both of them. No, there wasn’t one he thought of as his home. Yes, he thought in terms of “my mom’s house” and “my dad’s house.”
I feel sorry for them. And I feel even worse about my boys growing up like that and I wasn’t even aware of it at the time. When I look back on my childhood, I know I had a home. My house. I could drive right to my childhood home right now! My children can’t do that. My son’s step-children can’t do that. Without this important sense of home, does that put them at an even greater disadvantage as they grow up? Do my own sons bear scars from it?
Why am I writing this blog? If you are part of a couple who may be contemplating a divorce, I want you to add this to your list of pros and cons—definitely under the cons. I pray that God will use this concern to encourage you to make another attempt at making your marriage work. Do everything you can do before you leap into all the ramifications of divorce.
I know I haven’t gone into the subject of God’s view of divorce and the spiritual disobedience in taking such a step. I trust you’ve heard and understand those concepts. But this new realization was one I’ve never heard discussed before, and just wanted to share it with you. My mother, at age 83, is still teaching me. Now I’m passing this along to you.
Please remember: There’s No Place Like Home. Give that to your children.