Lamenting Through a Divorce

When newlyweds promise “I do” at the altar, the thought of divorcing in the near or distant future is not a potential scenario most partners imagine. However, with the divorce rate holding at about 35-50% for first marriages, ( it is unfortunately an event numerous men and women experience. In the following paragraphs, lamenting the various aspects of life one grieves due to divorce will be explained. It is reasonable to argue that both grieving and lamenting are necessary actions for proper healing to occur.

The following is not an exhaustive list of all the losses and grief a person of divorce may encounter. Loss of a partner/friend, loss of a life dream, loss of raising children with a partner who is likely to be the other biological parent, loss of a family unit, loss of couple friendships, loss of community, loss of financial stability/future, loss of acceptance within religious organizations, loss of a pet, loss of a home, and loss of shared experiences/traditions. Additional detailed discussion on loss can be found; (

Psalm 6:2-6 expresses so beautifully the pain a person of divorce may feel, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” (NIV version).

While there is usually a cost/benefit analysis which yields a person’s decision to choose divorce, it does not negate the fact there are still losses to be lamented. Even if the arguing was often or partners had different life preferences over time, or even an infidelity, there is still a physical and mental loss of having one’s “other person” gone. In most cases partners can identify at the very least a handful of times, or certain areas where they did agree and were able to support each other. This loss of support and the consequent feelings of loneliness are a painful, heavy burden.

Lamenting the loss of a complete family unit is another grief that becomes evident at every meal eaten at the kitchen table or just doing a fun activity. It becomes easy to notice other “complete” family units at events like kids’ sports, pumpkin patches school plays or even just eating out at a restaurant. Holidays of course become an obvious place for lamenting when traditions change due to custody schedules of children or even loss of traditions with in-laws.

Often friendships will change after going through a divorce because the couples who previously spent time with the new divorcees do not know how to remain friends with both partners and can feel torn between choosing one partner over the other. This in turn may lead to awkwardness for both the divorced partners and their former couple friends. Furthermore, as a new single person, hanging out with couples may now suddenly feel like “being the third wheel” or “the odd man out.”

Churches and religious organizations usually take positions on divorce regarding whether it is acceptable, and if so, under what conditions. It is common to hear stories of men and women going through a divorce experience stonewalling or disapproval from church leadership or people within a church congregation or religious organization. This further increases the lament of a person going through divorce. And even more so when churches and religious organizations tout themselves as “safe havens” and places where “all are welcome to come and receive healing.” It is unfortunate when judgement abounds even without full knowledge of an individual’s circumstances, in some cases. Thankfully, divorce is becoming less “stigmatized” within churches in more recent years especially as many churches are beginning to educate their leadership more about issues of abuse, addiction, and mental health.

As described in the previous paragraphs the layers of lament and grief are complex and deep when it comes to lamenting in divorce. And yet, there is hope and the rebirth of a new life which is attainable when taking time to work through the practice of lamenting. In conclusion, Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4, remind us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (NIV version). My prayer for every reader is to embrace your “time” or “season” and if it includes a need to lament, please give proper time and attention to the details of your unique situation.

-Susan Steier – Learn more about working with Susan here!

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