Getting your head around Divorce when you are Dating – by the Revd David Robertson

Getting your head around Divorce when you are Dating – by the Revd David Robertson

Oct 9, 2014 | Christian Dating, Christian faith, Common Issues, Dating and Divorce, Making the most of dating membership

Getting your head around Divorce when you are Dating

Getting your head around Divorce when you are Dating is imporant. Embarking on finding a Christian soul mate is never easy at the best of times whoever you are and the sad reality of so many divorced people in our society today means it’s something you just can’t ignore. This post aims to help you in getting your head around divorce.

If you’re divorced there are masses of issues to address and if you aren’t divorced, then it’ll only be a short while before someone who is divorced comes across your path. Either way you need to work on getting your head around divorce!  As Christians this can be hard – depending on what your views are on divorce and remarriage – but if we’re serious about dating (and treating people right who come across our path) then this is something we need to think and pray about.

A significant number of our members are divorced or separated so we asked the Revd David Robertson who is a bit of an expert in this area (having been divorced himself and then having remarried – and who is a vicar to boot) to write an article on the subject (Getting your head around divorce) for Cloudnine.

“In 1999 my marriage collapsed after 17 years and I became the divorced, lone parent of my four children. Quite often conversations with new people went like this:

A few minutes of chat about this and that and then…

Person: ‘And what do you do?’
Me: ‘I’m a Vicar.’
Person: (brief, embarrassed, pause while they quickly rewind what they’ve just said, in case they’ve used bad language or cracked an off-colour joke!), then: ‘And are you married?’
Me: ‘Actually, I’m divorced.’
Person: (long pause while they assimilate this unexpected fact), then: ‘I’m sorry… do you have any children?’
Me: ‘Just the four.’
Person: sympathetically: ‘And do you get to see them often?’
Me: ‘Er… every day. I’m a lone parent.’
Person: eyes glaze as cogs in head fail to turn.

That’s the general idea of these conversations – in reality they were longer and kinder the version I’ve written here and I always felt sorry for the person, because it’s just not what we expect, is it? We all know that many British marriages end in divorce and we also know that, after a divorce, either the wife or the husband is likely to become a lone parent – but surely it’s ‘the general public’ we are talking about? This kind of thing doesn’t really happen to Christians, does it?  And the idea that it might happen to Ministers is just unthinkable, isn’t it? Sadly, it isn’t. It happens to Christians and to Ministers, and that can really challenge our assumptions. [Another reason why you need to work on getting your head around divorce because you may not like or accept the fact that it happens to Christians]

So, divorce is all around us and so is remarriage and, as Christian people, when this affects our own lives and choices, we want to do the right thing. When it comes to divorce and remarriage though, it can be hard to know what is right. Different Churches and Ministers teach different things. Some teach that as long as there is forgiveness, second marriages are always fine. Others teach that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the divorce, second marriages are always wrong. What are we to believe? How are you then to start getting your head around divorce?

Before my own divorce, I had thought, and taught, for many years about the biblical understanding of marriage, divorce and remarriage. I had concluded that remarriage was appropriate in some circumstances and, in my pastoral ministry, I had conducted quite a few wedding services for divorcees before my own marriage collapsed. I was, therefore, ready to apply everything I believed and taught to myself; and that’s what I did. I also discussed it with others to make sure that I wasn’t bending the Bible to suit my own situation and we came to the conclusion that, in my circumstances, it would be appropriate for me to think about a second marriage – if I were to meet someone, that was! Well, through friendsfirst I did – and you can read my story on the website (David and Gills Christian Dating success story)

Whether we like it or not, we live in a society where divorce is common and Christians find themselves divorced too. That means that friendsfirst, like every introduction agency, will reflect our society and some friendsfirst members will be divorced. Where do you stand on this issue? How are you doing on getting your head around divorce?

•    You may be a divorced person – as a Christian, are you clear about the rights and wrongs of future relationships?

•    You may be a single person – are you wondering whether it would be right for you to consider a relationship with a divorced person?

You may just answer these questions with a simple yes or no – but are you sure that you’ve thought it through?

And, what if your decision precludes you from meeting someone with whom you could be really happy?

At some point you will need to do some ‘head work’ and, as a Christian, thinking about what the Bible says will be important. There is not the space, here, for a detailed Bible Study about divorce and remarriage, but let’s just refer to one Bible passage (Matthew 19:9) where Jesus mentions a circumstance where a remarriage is not wrong. This passage introduces us to the idea that a second marriage is neither ‘always right’ nor ‘always wrong’. It depends – which is why it’s important to do the ‘head work’. If you are anything like me, this will give you the prayerful confidence to meet new friends and open up the possibilities of new beginnings.

This head work is never easy to do – it does take work – but I can highly recommend doing it – it can lead to the most wonderful results – I know I wouldn’t be where I was if I hadn’t done it myself. That’s another reason why getting your head around divorce is so important. It could have wonderful if unexpected results for you too.

Let me finish with the gist of a fairly frequent conversation from my present:

A few minutes of chat about this and that and then…

Person: ‘And what do you do?’
Me: ‘I’m a Vicar.’
Person: (brief, embarrassed, pause while they quickly rewind what they’ve just said, in case they’ve used bad language or cracked an off-colour joke!), then: ‘And are you married?’
Me: ‘Yes, very happily to Gill.’
Person: ‘Do you have a family?’
Me: ‘Just the four, but they’ve all grown and flown…’
…and the conversation continues without a hitch!

I wish you all the very best in doing your own head work and getting your head around divorce. Hope you’ll be as fortunate as I have been with your Christian dating membership of friendsfirst.”

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