Question: “My husband wants a divorce. Should I fight it?”
This is a really tough question and if you lined up ten people, you’d probably get ten answers. Best as I can tell from the reading I’ve done, there is not a clear line of thinking in Scripture about this very specific circumstance, so I’ll give you the best I can give you. Also, I’d say that every circumstance is different, but here we go.
Yes, I believe you should fight the divorce spiritually. I would be respectful to your husband. I would follow the course that has been set; meaning, do what would be required of you and find a lawyer or show up in court; but do this all the while you and others pray about it. I just typed pray against it and then deleted against. Because I think you should pray for God’s will to come to pass more than praying, clinging, white-knuckling it. God is big enough. Let him fight for you on this.
With that said, no, I do not believe you should fight the divorce legally. (Side note: get one-on-one counsel from people you trust on this specific point for your specific case.) But let me tell you where I’m coming from on this. First, and I realize laws are different in every state, but I was told that it would have been messier financially and emotionally if I would’ve attempted to fight the petition for divorce against me and tried to fight to stay legally separated. I don’t understand why exactly, but supposedly, things would’ve had to get more personal; our character would have both been put under the microscope to do this. It would have dragged out; it would have been more painful for both of us.
Also, depending on whether your husband is an unbeliever or not, or if he falls under acting as one (meaning, he claims he is a Christian but his fruit is not showing that he is), it says this in I Corinthians 7: “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart.”
Another thing, to quote a pastor, “Let the bad guy be the bad guy.” If your husband wants a divorce, if your husband has filed for a divorce, let the consequences of that choice fall on him. Yes, you will be adversely affected, don’t get me wrong. But he will carry the weight that goes along with being the one to file. Let him sit with that.
This is more of a girlie reason than anything else, but still…why fight for someone to stay in a marriage with you who not only doesn’t want to be married to you anymore but clearly hasn’t fought for your heart in ages? Seriously, what would be your reasons for fighting it? Thinking this through is key. Because you might just be doing it as a knee-jerk emotional reaction. You might not be ready to let go, which I totally get. You might even be doing it because you feel pressured to do so by church leaders. But remember that although you should be getting wise and godly counsel, when it all comes down: this is between you and your husband and God.
Also, think about this. Do you honestly believe that fighting against what your husband wants is going to win him back to you? Really. Think this through to the end…say you fight him to stay married to you and drag the process out by an extra year or two, do you think he will love you more and want to be with you more? Odds are against this.
Something to consider is that though divorce is final in that the marriage is no longer valid once the divorce takes place, it is not final in that as long as you both are living, there is always the chance that you reconcile…there is always the chance that your husband will realize what he’s done and attempt to win you back. We’ve all heard stories of couples who divorce and then remarry each other. Anything is possible; you could have a chance at a fresh start with the same man. But to do that, you both will need lots of time and lots of healing. Do you want to be known as the desperate woman who wouldn’t let her man go when he wanted to go? I don’t think you do. More damage can actually be done in the clinging.
So, really, in my opinion, there is only one thing to do. It’s simple but just in the fact that you’re asking this question tells me it may be very, very difficult for you to do: accept your reality, sweet one. If your husband has left you, he has moved on already in his heart and mind. This is the time for gentleness with yourself, for rest, for surrounding yourself with people who love you, for getting through the divorce process as calmly and civilly as you can, and for choosing to be the kind of person who doesn’t have to get the last word in. This is high-road time, not fight-to-the-death-for-something-that’s-clearly-already-dead time. And if it’s not already dead, it’s God’s job – not yours – to resurrect it. And if that’s what he wants, he can.
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.
I agree! I didn’t “fight” my divorce. I made it clear that I didn’t want it, I wanted to reconcile, but I also knew that he would be granted the divorce eventually, anyway, it would take longer and the lawyers would be the only ones to benefit from a contested divorce. I would have fought for custody of our daughter as he had initially threatened to take her and we didn’t have any property or money to fight over, so his divorce was simpler. The covenant of marriage is not a legal issue, only the “contract” of marriage is.
I agree on every point made. I wish my former H had the courage to file himself. Instead, he acted as though divorced while still remaining legally married…forcing me to bring truth to the situation.
I agree as well. I have a book by Erin Thiele that covers all of this. From both the mans perspective and from the womans perspective. I did not fight. I did go to court, even though i didnt have to. I was given the opportunity to speak and said i did not want this. I will continue to pray that Gods will be done.
Not making anyone the bad guy, but if my son (18 months at the time) ever asks me if i gave up. I can always say no and not feel guilty that i had to lie to him to protect anyone. If he then asks why did mom give up, i would then have to say, i can not speak for her.
I agree with everything Elisabeth says here……