Prologue: One of the key things I have learned about divorce is that it is not meant for the faint of heart. Even the strong that go through it experience extreme difficulties once in the aftermath. As many of you know I went through a divorce and the annulment process with the Catholic Diocese of my home parish. That process was an eye-opener for me in ways you could never imagine. Had we gone through that process prior to getting married I probably would never have gotten married. The post below comes from an attorney for Koons Fuller (who I have used in the past). In this post it gives the appearances that since everyone has found someone that life is hunky dory. Don’t fall into that belief. Whether you are single, divorced or married your journey is your own. I do believe in Mr. Robertson’s assertion that you have to truly evaluate your options and move forward.
The young woman in my office — we’ll call her Janette — looked at me sheepishly. “I don’t’ believe in divorce,” she said. “I believe it’s against God’s will.”
Janette’s husband had a different view. He was having an affair and wanted to pursue that relationship. He filed for divorce.
As an attorney, it’s my job to represent my clients. I informed her that in our secular legal system, a court has jurisdiction over divorce and a judge will generally grant it even if only one spouse wants the divorce. Almost half of all marriages in our society end this way.
Janette was not able to reconcile with her husband. I could protect her legal interests, but I couldn’t save her marriage. She was heartbroken.
I come from a family where people didn’t get divorced — it wasn’t an option. But as I’ve handled legal matters for those who do, I’ve realized that God’s plan for us extends far beyond our personal decisions.
Janette called me a few years later. She wanted me to meet her new husband — a devout Christian. When we met, it was clear Janette’s new marriage was much more in line with her values. It was also obvious to me that both husband and wife loved each very much. She said she had never realized how wonderful life could be.
Divorce as a Process
Another couple — we’ll call them the Coopers — lived with financial and personal stresses that were overwhelming them. They decided to divorce. After one year, when neither had established a relationship with anyone else, they realized they had made a mistake. They still loved each other and decided to get married again. They even did so on their original wedding date. Now, more than 20 years have gone by and the Coopers are still happily remarried.
Financial, job or relationship stresses are seldom solved by divorce. Often, a pastor or counselor can help in this type of situation. Divorce, if its purpose is to get away from stress, often just diverts the sources of stress to other problems.
When individuals are faced with imminent divorce, I often encourage counseling to help them “redefine” their relationship. Divorce is not an event, it’s a process.
“What kind of relationship do you hope to have after the marriage ends?” I ask. Sometimes they’ve thought this out, but often they haven’t. They don’t realize they will continue to see each other at various events. If they have children, they will both go to school plays, graduations, weddings and parties. They will have to work with each other on visitation rights and other legal issues. Though this is not marriage counseling, it sometimes leads to reconciliation as a couple sees their relationship in a new light.
Divorce and Cancer
When I’m asked how to avoid divorce, I tell folks to think of it like it was cancer. Divorce and cancer have basic similarities: 1) You try to avoid both, and 2) Each changes your life dramatically.
When people have cancer, however, they usually pull out the stops to beat it. They get the most qualified professional help they can and often change their lifestyles. Many marriages could be saved if people applied this same level of commitment.
The Marriage Commitment
Bad examples abound in our society, including many of today’s prominent people. But divorce by Mom and Dad can have a much more insidious effect on children, especially when Mom and Dad make little effort to redefine their relationship. I once handled a divorce for a couple with a 13-year-old son. Years later, the son called me for an appointment. He wanted a divorce. I took him to lunch to talk it through, but he was resolute. That path had already been paved.
One thing I’ve learned from working in this business is that God is in charge and he uses all things for good. For those who trust in God, good will come. We have God’s Word on it. Janette and the Coopers are just two of many examples.
Sometimes I think of Isaiah addressing the Hebrews, who had been overwhelmed by the might of the Babylonians. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” You’d think this would start with walking and end with soaring, right? In many ways, this passage is appropriate for marriage. In your courtship and honeymoon phase, you soar, and then in your early years, you run. But as you encounter life’s ups and downs you learn that it takes a day-to-day commitment by both of you to make it work, and your relationship grows stronger.
Rick Robertson is one of the nations best known divorce attorneys. He has been selected one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Dallas-Fort Worth (Thomson Reuters, 2005), the Top 50 Attorneys in Texas (Thomson Reuters, 2012), has been nominated a Super Lawyer for 12 consecutive years (2002-2014) Thomson Reuters), was featured on the cover of the 2011 Texas edition of Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters, 2011) and Awarded Best Go-To Lawyer for Texas Lawyer’s Go-To Guide. He is Board Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Rick Robertson also speaks to church and civic groups on staying married and the many challenges that face those who decide to divorce.
“We always offer clients the possibility of saving their marriages,” he says. “We don’t need to drum up business, and we would much rather see people get their lives in order.”