A number of recent articles by adult children of divorce say “Yes,” their parents’ split was a good thing. I also received an email implying that there are adults with divorced parents who are quite happy with the break-up. This is true. But the answer to “Was the divorce a good thing?”, without sounding like a lawyer or politician, depends on what the definition of “good” is.
What good means
If good is a parent separating themselves and the kids from ongoing physical or emotional abuse, then divorce is good. If good is getting kids away from the impact of an unhealthy environment of drug or alcohol abuse, then divorce is good. If a partner refuses to honor their wedding vows with repeated and unrepentant infidelity, then divorce is good. And there are other situations which would be detrimental to the physical and emotional health of the spouse and kids if they continued.
When the ‘No’ is actually a ‘Yes’
However, the problem with the “Is their divorce a good thing” question is when we answer “Yes” we automatically answer “No” to the follow-up question; “Are there still consequences when our parents break up?” “No” simply isn’t true, because parental divorce forever changes the landscape—admittedly to vary degrees.
Choosing which parent sees you early Thanksgiving Day and who wins the coveted prime time slot might still earn a “yes, the divorce was a good thing” answer. However, I doubt anguishing over the decision whether to include your mother on the family picture board at your father’s funeral would elicit the same response.
The gap between “yes” and heal
Too often I’ve found we hide behind the “Yes” answer to avoid the pain. Partly because the path to healing usually leads through pain, but also because we don’t know where to turn with our pain. “I’m hurting. Now what?” That’s why this ministry is here.
Adult Children of Divorce Ministries isn’t here to blame or dishonor parents. The Bible is very clear we are to “honor our father and mother”1 We exist to come along side adults with divorced parents and help them deal with the ongoing and perpetual fallout of parental divorce.
This includes internal fallout like anger, fear, and feelings of unworthiness. It also includes external fallout like having to use boundaries in situations where parents, exes, steps, and assorted others show up for your child’s birthday party.
But most of all we’re here to help people crush the lies they’ve accepted with God’s truth. For example, it’s tough to believe the lie that we’re worthless when the Bible says we are God’s workmanship (individually created by Him) in Christ Jesus, (who is perfect.)2
So, could our parents’ divorce be a good thing? I believe a better question is, “Am I doing everything I can to prevent my kids from having to ask that question someday?”
2Ephesians 2:10, ESV
IMGP6979 by siti fatimah
Divorce by Marc Hatot cropped
Your Word by abcdz2000