6 Ways to Help Your Friend through a Divorce.
I have to start this post with a disclaimer: I hate divorce.
Hate, hate, hate, with blood-boiling passion.
So that's why I have to begin this post with this little bit of background story, because Heaven forbid that anyone read this and take it to mean that I'm condoning divorce. Because I'm not. Gosh.
And call me a hypocrite all you wish, because I AM divorced (and remarried), but I very rarely think someone else should be, unless there's adultery or abuse or some Biblical reason WHY you're flushing your family down the toilet and shattering the very foundation of your kids' lives. And if you haven't even lifted one finger to TRY to make it work when your marriage gets less than easy, do NOT come crying to me.
That said... sometimes there ARE reasons WHY I'm a huge proponent of women getting the heck out of there, and it's never just because you need to 'find yourself' or because you found a more exciting boyfriend and your husband is boring ***which is the most common reason I've heard lately*** or because 'divorced' is the new 'single' or some such garbage like that.
And if you find yourself trapped in a marriage in which there IS serial adultery or abuse (emotional, physical, or otherwise), you will find no bigger, more loyal support than yours truly, because I LIVED that for twelve long, miserable years, years in which I tried and tried to be married to a man who hated me and then finally realized he had mentally left me long before for whores he found on Craig's List, and filing the paperwork was a mere formality. And I know all too well that leaving is sometimes darn near impossible when you've been a stay-at-home mom for nine years and have little ones who need to eat, and you canNOT see a way out in which you all survive, much less keep your kids and your dignity. And because I have BEEN THERE I have HUGE compassion for women trapped in that hell. And because I have BEEN THERE I vow before God and all of you that if I ever win the lottery, I will start a ministry helping women get OUT of that kind of bondage, because I don't believe Jesus died so we could keep living in bondage of ANY kind.
So when a friend emailed me a few months ago with a story about a friend of hers that sounded way too much like my own, it squeezed at my heart and I wanted to help.
I sent my best words of advice and encouragement and was thrilled when my friend let me know that her friend had left and found a place of her own. Thrilled, because that's the hardest step to take. If you can leave, and find a place of your own, that's the hardest part.
My friend asked me what she could do that would best help her friend, and I thought for a while and came up with these six items, all based on what I needed when I went through my own divorce, and what helped me the most:
1. Help her pack. Packing was gut-wrenching for me, because I had twelve years of memories stored away in that house. The house that was my dream house, the house where I thought my kids would have their wedding portraits made. That house. It was a big house, and I had to get rid of 2/3 of everything I owned in order to fit myself and my girls into our new apartment. My friend Megan came over and was able to be ruthless about sorting through which of the stuff was necessary and which of the stuff didn't need to come with me. When you're in the midst of it, tossing broken crayons and Chuck E. Cheese tokens can bring on a flood of tears, and you NEED a friend who isn't emotionally involved to be the voice of reason when you're having a meltdown about how your kids have lost EVERYTHING; do they have to lose their broken crayons TOO? And to tell you toTAKE THOSE TOOLS, yes, I know they're his and you don't want anything that re minds you of HIM, but you will NEED a drill and a hammer at your new place... Seriously. Because divorce takes away your ability to think logically about anything, at least for a time. Packing up to leave a marriage is hard in ways you can't begin to imagine unless you've had to lose 2/3 of everything you once thought was important.