There are many phases of divorce and life after divorce. This article is intended to focus on stabilizing your life immediately after a divorce. It does not focus on pursuing a new relationship. Depending on whether you are a young couple with no kids getting divorced, a middle-aged couple with children, or in retirement age, divorce can have varying impacts. The divorce process itself can cause profound stress.
A young couple with no kids may be more resilient if divorcing after a few short years, commonly known in the world as a “starter marriage.” A couple in the childrearing years will experience the heaviest impact due to shared custody and a parenting plan, coupled with added expenses for maintaining their children in two separate households. A couple who has been married a long time, and who have adult children and grandchildren, may experience varying shifts in loyalties among family members.
Emotional Impact of Divorce
The emotional impact of divorce can be devastating. Many people feel grief and loss. Many individuals experience depression and anxiety. The emotional impact of divorce can rob you of the joy derived from the comforts of marriage, especially if you weren’t the one who wanted the divorce in the first place.
Divorces in which infidelity is the cause can leave the injured party feeling rejected and angry, and lowering self-esteem. Some people get stuck in these feelings for many years after a divorce.
Seeing a Christian therapist can help you get unstuck so that you can forge a new path in your suddenly single life. Staying connected to family and friends is important as you navigate post-divorce life but staying connected to God through this difficult time is paramount. Spend time in your Bible, prayer, and daily devotions. Get help from your pastor, counselor, Bible group, family, and friends.
Financial Impact After Divorce
Divorce has a wide variety of financial impacts, but the most common one is a reduction in living standards for at least one spouse, usually the one who earned the lesser income during the marriage. The divorce proceedings themselves can be quite costly, especially when custody and/or assets are disputed.
Whether you had a higher or lower earning power during the marriage, developing a new budget for your post-divorce life is an immediate priority. It might necessitate the elimination of extras, such as spa or gym appointments, eating out, or grabbing a coffee to go each morning.
Mapping out all your expenses in a financial software program or an Excel spreadsheet will help you keep track of recurring monthly expenses, as well as intermittent ones, such as renewing your driver’s license or paying a vet bill.
When minor children are involved in their parents’ divorce, it had life-altering effects. They suddenly are thrust into two separate households. They often feel extremely divided loyalties; expressing loyalty to one parent can make them feel disloyal to the other one. This can be compounded if one parent or the other is trying to pump them for information about the other parent not present, especially if the other parent has someone new in their life.
The courts will require a parenting plan and will expect compliance. Besides, parents should work together as congenially as possible. Disrespecting the other parent in front of your kids not only denigrates them in your children’s eyes but also undermines your own relationship with them.
Hostilities stemming from the divorce, coupled with differing parenting styles, can lead to further post-divorce tension between you and your ex but will result in the emotional burden being placed on your children.
Strive to maintain as congenial and consistent a parenting plan as possible. Enlist the help and support of family, church members, and friends. See a therapist or join a support group for divorced parents. Even getting more involved in your kids’ school or extracurricular activities can provide added support, as they add cohesion rather than division.
Dealing with obvious financial inequities may be an ongoing issue. Some noncustodial parents, especially if they have more money than time, may try to ingratiate themselves with their children through material gifts, rather than seeking to spend more time with them, or spending quality time with them during their visitations.
Custodial parents may have a tighter budget and may not be able to afford the material extras their kids want, especially if their earning power was and is significantly lower than that of their ex-spouse. These differences can be glaringly apparent to the children, and the kids may at times manipulate this disparity to their advantage.
Developing a budget and sticking to it will help you stay on track if you are the parent whose income and living standard has been drastically reduced. If you are the parent who has more money than time, be sure to focus on quality interactions with your children during your scheduled visitations.
Life After Divorce: Finding New Hope and Faith
In Malachi 2:16, God says that He hates divorce. Yet, many Christians find themselves divorcing, remarrying, and divorcing again. Some Christians find themselves divorced when that is not what they wanted at all. During the divorce, and in its aftermath, seeking God with all your heart is the best plan. Take it day by day; just getting through the day before you is more than enough to take on during life after divorce.
Seek out support and try to avoid self-isolation. Get counseling through a therapist or your pastor; join a Bible study or support group. Even though divorced life may cause you to be busier than in your married life due to added responsibilities, trying to slug it out on your own can be a costly mistake to your mental and emotional health. Regardless of the circumstances that brought you to your newly single life, stay connected!
Most of all, know that no matter what you are going through, your Heavenly Father loves you dearly. He sees your pain. He is for you; He is for your success. Turn to him during this painful time and realize that your hope is in Him and through Him. He will be an ever-present help in times of trouble. He will ease your anxiety. He will help you pull out of your depression and anger. He will help you forge a new path.
The plans you had for your married life may have crumbled, but God always has a plan! He will give you hope during your pain. He will give you beauty for ashes. You are dearly loved; you were bought with a price. God is not going to leave you nor forsake you, your ex, or your children.
Scriptures for Dealing with a Broken Heart
We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10