Grief and Divorce


Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. – Romans 12:15, KJV

Recently, a tragedy struck a community to which I am connected. A young man died in a car accident while going to work. In response, people are sending card(s), flowers, and prayers to his mother plus the work community directly impacted by this tragic loss.

It started me thinking about the tragic loss of a marriage via adulterous betrayal.

Where are the cards, casseroles, flowers, and prayers in support of the grieving faithful spouse? You are more likely to get the proverbial sock full of coal than a hug and words of compassion from others who learn of your very personal loss. Worse than that, the inquisition over what “you did to cause” this betrayal are soon to follow all too often. And if you end up divorced (or choosing divorce), you will soon hear the “God hates divorce” heartless parrots who never bothered using their bird brains in reading the whole chapter around that statement.

Contrast that with the almost immediate and compassionate response we, Christians, give to a family experiencing a death.

A church committee is not formed to decide whether or not we can offer sympathy based on the whether or not the young man made poor choices leading to his death.

Did he text?

Why didn’t his mother teach him safer driving skills?

What did he contribute to his own accident?

Can we offer sympathy to his mother or is that just encouraging her for teaching her son poor driving habits?

Do you see how cold and heartless this line of thinking is?!


We support the grieving.

This ought to be true for people grieving a death of a loved one and of people grieving the death of their marriage killed tragically by their former spouse’s adulterous sin. It is a tragedy that anyone of us could possibly experience.

Let’s be people of kindness and compassion.

Weep with those who weep.

Empathy is a good choice!



8 thoughts on “Grief and Divorce”

  1. Hey DM,
    I just had this conversation last night. Comparing the two…how everyone supports the grieving spouse when the other spouse dies. My spouse chose something worse than death – the other woman, yet where was my support for my lost. My family was no more. I was perceived as a failure. The impression is that I did something wrong for my ex spouse to leave me and our family. They have no idea.
    Others are so quick to judge a divorcee. I failed at marriage. I have the divorce cooties. There was a lady at my son’s school that once I reminded her that I was divorced, her entire demeanor changed and abruptly ended our conversation. But if I had said my spouse died (which in a way he did) the sympathy would have rolled in.
    Two of my favorite bible versus during this time has been Nehemiah 8:10…..Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and Romans 8:18… The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.

  2. I work at a church and go to weekly staff meetings. We send out sympathy cards, birthday cards, congrats on baby cards and just thinking about you cards. We have even sent out a sorry about the death of your pet card. We arrange meals for families in need or going through a rough time. Yet, when someone in our congregation is going through a divorce we don’t do anything. We just say one prayer for that family and then look the other way. We will help one on one with these families but as a whole church staff we sweep it under the rug and act like it is too shameful or sensitive to address. I am praying that God gives me the strength to share this post with the church staff and help them understand how painful betrayal and divorce is for faithful spouses and urge them to show the same compassion to faithful spouses as we do to the widows and widowers at our church. DM, if you have any wise words on how I can share this with our church staff in a very respectful way I would love to hear your ideas.

    1. BHB,

      Need a little time to think on this one. Their response is not unusual as I have seen. Let me get back to you…Mrs. DM may have some thoughts as well.


    2. BHB,

      It would help to know what the resistance is to helping faithful spouses. Do they ascribe to the shared responsibility lie? Are they stuck on the “always two sides of a story” mindset? Do they fear appearing to be helping people divorce? Is the divorce situation viewed as an illegitimate suck on church resources?

      I am just throwing a few possible places of resistance to helping. Knowing the reason behind the resistance may give you a way to lower the resistance by addressing those concerns. Also, I would NOT want to help a cheating spouse divorce. The correct Christian approach to the adulterous party is to encourage repentance and not facilitate further sin. So, it makes sense if they just do not have enough information to act. My guess, though, is they are aware of situations where a spouse is faithful and the other is blatantly cheating in an open “secret” that everyone knows but no one wants to actually address. It situations like those that I had in mind when I wrote today’s post (

      A possible angle to work is to ask them how they may feel if they found a strange woman’s thong in their bed and phone records indicating hours of late night contact between their husband and another woman (or switch genders as needed). What would you like from a pastor or church in such a situation? A hug helps in my opinion. A card letting the faithful spouse know you are available if he/she needs to talk to someone as a friend. I don’t know. The point is getting the staff to start empathizing with the spurned spouse. Help them walk out the Golden Rule on this one–i.e. love your neighbor as yourself. And point out that no one is immune to such a tragedy as no one is immune absolutely immune to the temptation of sin. It could be them next time. How would they like to be treated? By silence? Shameful looks? Assumptions that they brought them on themselves somehow? Or how about that hug or card stating care/availability?

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I believe most of the resistance of the lead pastor and the rest of the staff comes from purely innocent unawareness/ignorance. Your post from today about getting educated hit the nail on the head. I just don’t know that they are open to being educated, so I run the risk of trying to enlighten them and then being rejected and shamed again. It seems like they prefer to to bury their heads in the sad to avoid an uncomfortable situation. The elders and lead pastor threw my husband out of his teaching position and the elders immediately and had no problem with telling him to get right with his family and God so that is not the problem but then they wanted to just move into the silence mode that you mentioned today. Maybe change comes one person at a time and if I can get through to one of them, I have made a difference. I know I used to be one of those ignorant people so I will keep that in mind.

        1. BHB,

          They must have soft hearts in order to receive. “Ears to hear” as Jesus stated often times after a teaching. Like I mentioned, it really boils down to helping them empathize with the faithful spouse. I know I might have taken a similar stance in silence prior to my own experience as well. And it is very true if you reach one person that is making a difference, especially if he/she is in leadership as they impact others.


          PS Props to them tackling the situation with your husband directly. That is more than many church leaderships would do!

  3. I had this conversation with a friend about a year ago who is in ministry. I asked her to let me know if she knows of recent victims of adultery because I’m going to show up with a casserole. So far, I haven’t been alerted. However, I haven’t forgotten my promise.

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