Guide to Religious Divorce Rituals

More and more faiths are finding ways to sanctify the end of a relationship.

melb

06/21/2011 06:16:25 PM

I am considering a ceremony, but I'm not sure that ANYthing can bring closure for me. When we had been married over 30 years my husband , whom I thought was my best friend, told me that he is gay. He has always known. On our wedding day--he knew. We have grown children, who continue to have wonderful relationships with him & I am glad for that. My husband & I have a good relationship as well, considering. I have forgiven him. We are starting the divorce process. He has a partner--they will be getting married. What I have grief & pain over now is this: the history of our marriage. It wasn't real! The pictures don't mean the same & yet I cannot throw them out. There is no one I can talk to about memories or an incident I happen to remember in the course of a day. I don't know who I am. I am not someone's wife. I am not needed the same way as a mother. Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting, necessarily. What would you say to me? What kind of ceremony would help here? I do not have a career. I feel that my life has melted away except for the pain. Yes, I still love him as the father of my children.

whydidichoosehim

08/17/2010 12:29:16 PM

I really feel a ceremony helps add closure to the relationship - no matter the circumstances. Journaling is another thing you can do to help move past the hurt and confusion of the end of a relationship. Understanding and learning the lessons that the relationship brought forth into our lives can help us find acceptance and forgiveness so we are able to move forward in joy.

riverbutterfly

04/08/2010 12:36:50 PM

thank you.

debbie_joan

04/27/2008 08:55:01 AM

It can be spiritual when the marriage is controlling and abusive and when you finally get the courage to get out and do, it is like a weight is lifted off your soulders. You don't have to endure the abuse whether emotional or physical anymore. I am still afraid of him. We have been separated for almost 3 years. I can't afford to pay for a divorce and he always said he'd kill me if I ever left him. This is a 21 year marriage. I have found a good man who really loves me. He is God fearing where my husband was atheoust. By the way, I couldn't have friends and wasn't allowed to go to Church. I went anyway. This made things a lot worse. My paster said "God don't intend for you to live like this. You need to get out. I had been told by my mother and other members of my family that divorce was a sin. I had made my bed and now I must lay in it. I had also worried about my daughter's safty if I wssn't there to protect her on weekend child swaps. So I stayed until she was grown and didn't have to go.

riddlemarsh

04/07/2008 11:01:16 PM

I am going to be divorced any day now...that is as soon as my ex fills the papers out correctly and stops stalling. How have I grown through this? Well, I feel that it doesn't matter what others think, its how I think and conduct myself. Not only does God hear me,but my community hears me in the silence. I am truely blessed and empowered to move forward. So forward that I and another parishioner from my church are going overseas on a project to work within a community that has AIDS and this opportunity would not have occurred for me had I remained in the relationship I was in. I believe God has a purpose for everyone regardless of the circumstances that they are in.

supremekelly

10/09/2007 09:56:29 AM

In the Catholic church, we have what is called an annulment after a Catholic couple get divorced. A friend of mine did this after divorcing her husband after 5 years of marriage. She said that this experience helped her come to grips with why the marriage ended and allowed her to have the piece of mind that she did the right thing. There are many misconceptions about the annulment process and therefore not many Catholics seek this out. I think it puts a little respect back in to divorce, meaning that you've thought as seriously about ending your marriage as you did upon entering the marriage.

Alchemistheart

09/12/2007 08:14:58 PM

I think this is a wonderful idea. And to the people questioning the Christian concept of divorce. The Greek text when Jesus talks about 'divorce' is the word 'apulo' which does not mean divorce but putting away. A cruel practice. Look into it and you will see English New Testaments mistranslate this word. Jesus did not forbid divorce but 'apulo' putting away. Christians be free.

hashems_disciple

05/08/2004 12:05:05 PM

did our L-rd not say that divorce is a concession because your hearts are hardened. Our Father desires restoration not separation. Divorce is a spiritual experience the same way murder is. BOTH can lead to death

cerebral

11/29/2003 12:16:24 PM

I believe when two Christians have to divorce should be a spiritual experience because we are spiritual people. Part of being spiritual people is that we treat each other the way we want to be treated. If divorce becomes necessary, prayer and counseling should be a part of the process just as it should be before getting married. It is possible for two people to be Chrisitans and yet be unequally yoked therefore making divorce a real possibility.

guestinawearyland

07/09/2003 01:20:31 AM

I am born again. I married a woman who is not. She is about as secular as you can get. She wants a divorce because she is unhappy. I have never felt that happiness is a consideration. From what I have read in the Bible it specifically does not allow divorce except to the man, and then only if his wife has been unfaithful to him. This is not the case so "that is that."

RSadiq

01/15/2003 02:03:25 PM

Condo1rider- I know it has been a long time since you posted although I hope you are checking in from time to time. Who are you to judge? Is that what makes you a Christians? To judge your brothers and sisters like you are Christ yourself? Last time I know only Christ could judge his brothers not you! It is easy to stand by and judge others. May be you should review John 8:6-8. Before you cast the first stone at anyone else. I am glad if you are married that your marriage worked out so well. I had the choice between my husband and my beliefs in God. That is why my marriage ended. If anything has come out of my divorce it is I am a stronger Christian. God forgives our mistakes/sins and helps each one of us in different ways. As brothers and sisters we should support each other not rip each other apart.

Babi

11/20/2002 06:51:51 PM

Condo, You are right about some of what you say.But Jesus also said that suicide is forbidden as well.When someone leaves a marriage to save her life as I have had to do I don't think that what you say really applies.To stay with my ex would have been suicide, he was a vicious man.Since I have left him I have found God again and am finally at peace inside myself.I truely feel that God directed me to leave the marriage, He would not have wanted me to stay where I would have surely died.I know that God wanted me to choose the path of life and to not give it away to this man I was with. God has a greater purpose for me here on earth.

pnkgrlred05

08/06/2002 05:12:35 PM

condo1rider... this is not a christian ritual... its a ritual that has "Wiccan" in the title... therefore, making it NON CHRISTIAN

mlb9154

07/29/2002 11:03:23 AM

I've been separated 1 1/2 years and have asked my spouse for a divorce twice and he does not want to give me one...says he still loves me, but what do I do when I'm the one that does not have any love for him. He was never abusive in any way, he's a good father for our 2 sons, but things change over time. I just felt he was never there when I really needed him and I did try to sit down and talk with him and he just doesn't understand what I'm saying, he told me he doesn't have to try any more since he already got me. I feel sad and can't stop thinking about that. My family seems to think I should keep trying, should I, for the kids sake? Or keep on wishing that one day he will change? I need to cut the strings now, I don't have any hard feelings toward this, I'm just unhappy now.

ellileia

07/18/2002 04:50:34 PM

As a child of divorced parents, I would love to have had my parents do this ritual. At such a hard time is exactly when people need to be in church (assumming they are Christian, feel free to substituue particualrs of your faith) dealing with the spirtual aspects of the situation and asking for God's forgivness. We shouldn't just be at church when everything is going well.

condo1rider

07/09/2002 10:54:53 PM

Well, I would say that nearly everyone who has so far posted here belongs to the Church of Cognitive Dissonance (or perhaps Our Lady of Heresy). You call yourselves Christians, yet deny the very words of Jesus. Divorce is forbidden, except for the case of infidelity on the part of your spouse. That's it. Any of you who divorced for any reason other than your spouse's infidelity and then remarried are in continual sin and shall not achieve the grace of God. Any of you who had affairs and remarried are in similar straits. The only cure is to divorce again, renounce your interim marriage and find salvation by "sinning no more." This business of finding excuses and trying to feel good (except for those of you who were cheated on) in divorce and remarriage are heretics. Louiseb1257 --- you posted a good message. Miranda30 --- you are not a Christian. I'm not harsh --- the words of Christ are clear.

Skipper1

07/01/2002 11:21:49 AM

I can only wonder, will this ceremony make people quit treating people who have been divorced like they have something wrong with them? If having a ceremony will make others less judgmental, then I'm all for it. I was divorced from an abuser and although my life was being threatened by my ex's behaviors, I was made to feel like I had a scarlet letter on my forehead. Being divorced doesn't mean something is wrong with someone. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, it doesn't work. I wish people would realize that when you get married, you really DO want it to be for life. Sometimes life just doesn't work that way.

roda

04/13/2002 02:42:37 PM

i still cringe at "let no man put asunder & till death do us part. My divorce was spiritually the worst time of my life. I felt I had left myself down as well as God. It would have been wonderfully healing to have a service to help me forgive myself of this human failing, much less my ex-spouse. Happily I am now married with two beautiful children & the feeling of "if I had to do that to get to this point ,so be it." Healing & love to all those suffering.

louiseb1257

04/09/2002 11:33:00 PM

More than a decade ago, I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my first husband to divorce when he had an affair and wanted to be married to another woman instead of me. Recently, I lost my beloved second husband in a tragic traffic accident. The grief of both events, while equally overwhelming, is easier to process with the death of a spouse, I believe because of the cultural and religious ritual and support. People know what to say to me and how to comfort me when my husband died. We could honor him and our relationship with a beautiful Lutheran celebration of life. I was left as a leper when our family was torn apart by an unexpeced divorce.

miranda30

02/01/2002 09:33:16 PM

Nobody has the right to tell people that they should not marry. Maybe give some advice, ok, but not "determine wherther they should get married or not". And certainly, two married persons are still TWO. No ceremony, religious or not, can bond two individuals into one. Especially at these chaotic times. I think that is one of the reasons why some marriages might be failing.

battros

02/01/2002 08:59:29 AM

Divorse is a tragic loss and as with all losses, we must grieve. Religion and tradition and ceremony help people to grieve. We think of ceremony as a celebration, look at a funeral. In a good divorse, people often become better parents. A bad marrage is an obsticle for people to be the parent that they want to be. I was 3 months pregnant with my third child when I left my husband. I could not believe the number of strangers that asked me if I had tried everything and if I was sure. "No you idiot, I relish the idea of going through a pregnancy alone!" People usually divorse becuse it is the best, perhaps only, means of happiness for them and their children. Yet, in doing so, they end something and need a ceremony to mark the ending.

lightpam

02/01/2002 08:49:03 AM

Having divorced recently, I embrace the idea of healing needing to occur after the civil divorce. The civil divorce seemed so impersonal and so limited in the level of change that had just occured within my life and my ex's life. I was relieved to know that others have struggled with this change. I refuse to become bitter or angry because I failed at one marriage. I want God's forgiveness and healing for the damage I did to my ex-spouse and myself.

Bru49

02/01/2002 06:51:02 AM

Concerning Diane.M's posting of JAN-30: My feeling is that hatred is a perfectly normal, natural and unavoidable emotion for many people after their divorce. It is one of many emotions (rage, hope, sense of failure, enthusiasm for the future, loss, freedom) that I have seen people (including myself) feel in rapid succession. I have been with quite a few people who feel a rollercoaster of emotions shortly after separation. But my belief is that hatred is a more powerful emotion than love. If one's feelings towards the ex are mainly hatred, then it prevents the individual from moving on and being receptive to love. I recall once when I was between marriages dating a woman who had gone through a bad divorce. On our first date, all she could talk about was her rotten ex-husband. And this was 15 years after the separation/divorce. Her entire life was focused on events a decade and a half in the past. There never was a second date. Please try to get unstuck.

Bru49

02/01/2002 06:43:30 AM

I have two unrelated comments: 1) Concerning ElGabilon's posting of JAN-30: We now have the tools to predict with 80% accuracy which engaged couples' relationship will end in divorce. Yet, we do not use them. Knowing which couples will eventually divorce, we could have them enter into intensive counseling to increase their chances of their marriage surviving. But we don't. 2) Beliefnet's discussion of Wiccan handparting is not accurate. They describe one version of a Wiccan handfasting ceremony. But there are as many versions as there are couples. I have attended a few handfasting rituals but have never seen a breaking of the chalice. A handfasting is an intensely personal experience. Quite often, the couple will write their own unique ritual.

yia

01/31/2002 01:20:47 AM

My divorce whas been wonderfully spiritual in that it threw my own theories of the universe into sharp relief, and I could really learn from my own thoughts. I've been able to see that everything has a lifespan, even relationships, which also fits into my spiral view of the universe.

ElGabilon

01/30/2002 10:24:18 PM

The cure for a divorce is not ritual, rather to devise a method of determining whether or not two individuals should get married in the first place. Before marriage it is two individuals, after marriage it is one. When a child appears it is three in one. There is no way a ritual of any kind is going to ease the pain of the destruction of that relationship. It will be there to at least the third generation and perhaps beyond. One should understand that marriage or the raising of children is not to be taken lightly by anyone. If the butterflies wings effect the universe, how much more does a divorce? Or a marriage engaged in not out of love, rather selfishness?

Diane.M

01/30/2002 07:14:17 PM

Yeah uh right. It takes all of my BEGGING God and Jesus to help me forgive my ex. Lord help me but I hate him to this very day-and it takes Jesus, and The Holy Spirit for me not to wish bad on him!!!! Really I hate the guy. I forgive him but I hate him.

Carolus

01/29/2002 04:07:14 PM

I don't think there's anything odd about celebrating, or, rather, giving one's due to a failure. Our flaws and failures teach us, and perhaps a divorce, undertaken in an unrevengeful spirit, and be an opportunity to grow spiritually. I know my parents were better off divorced than continuing with a sham marriage.

bird

01/29/2002 02:06:19 PM

At first I thought it was kind of weird, like a celebration of a failure, but reading some of these rituals I saw that calling on God to help you deal with a sad experience can be healing and help you move on.

catangel

01/28/2002 06:48:43 PM

A good marriage is a joining of souls. If a permanent parting is occurring, having something to "separate" your souls will make it easier in the next phase of your life. ~c

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