By Kent Darcie
Parents often believe that if they wait until their kids are adults before they divorce, their breakup will have a minimal impact on them—just be a bump in the road. Unfortunately the “bump” quickly becomes an earthquake that fractures the foundation of their adult children. Instead of peace and the quiet acceptance the parents had hoped for, questions, doubts, anger, and fears grow like weeds in the garden of their adult child’s heart. Here is an example of why.
The perfect picture
For nearly 40 years the Captain and Tennille were the poster couple of two people who were in love. While Love Will Keep us Together was their staple song, these are some of the lyrics from another C&T hit called The Way I Want to Touch You.
I never wanted to touch a man, the way that I want to touch you
I never wanted to love a man, the way that I want to love you
Chorus: You are sunshine, you are shadows. You are morning, you are night
—You are hard times, you are good times. You are darkness, you are light
I never wanted to give a man, the things that I want to give you
I never wanted to live with a man, the way that I want to live with you1
How can this be?
The song’s original rendition drips with such passion, that the lovers found in the Bible’s Song of Solomon would be proud. But then, like a lightning bolt on a cloudless day, divorce shatters our picture. Jen Abbas speaks of this in her book Generation Ex, “After a lifetime of looking up to Mom and Dad and consciously or unconsciously viewing that marriage as a correct picture, they are overwhelmed by the thought that what they once knew as truth has been revealed as a lie.”2 And that is why the questions come.
How can such passion end in divorce after 39 years? Were those words really true? What happened? If their marriage couldn’t make it after all that time, how can mine survive? Can I really trust my spouse?
Ask the questions
Did your parents break up after you left for college or later in your life? It is important to know that your questions are real, valid, and must be asked. Unasked questions can seep into your soul and poison you and your relationships with others, including God.
Write out the questions or thoughts you have regarding your parent’s divorce. At this point, they don’t have to be fair or rational. Just write. After you have written your list, put the letter F by the questions or statements that are fear-based. Then pray over those items with an F. Fears entangle us with distortions and “what ifs” that rarely occur and the truth of God’s word must be used to deal with them.
Then, once you are ready (but I strongly encourage you to take this step), share one or two of your items with your spouse or a good friend. Remember, divorce tends to hide issues in the shadows, but healing comes when God’s light reveals what is in the shadows so they can be dealt with.
1“The Way I Want to Touch You,” written by Toni Tennille
2Generation Ex, Jen Abbas, pg. 19