By Amanda Flinn
When a friend is going through a divorce, you may not know how to respond. Here’s some guidance based on my experience.
When a Friend Is Going Through a Divorce
Maybe it’s my age. Or the fact that we all just went through a pandemic and tensions are high. Maybe the enemy is running rampant through our streets. Perhaps it’s all of those things.
But regardless of what or why, more and more of my friends are experiencing the devastating effects of divorce. And while I have not personally been through it, this last year I’ve had an upfront eyewitness account to some of the struggles my friends are facing and hopefully I’ve learned a few things about how to respond.
Your first response: pray.
The moment your friend speaks of a problem within her marriage, be praying for her. Not just once, but over and over and over again. If the divorce proceeds, keep praying. At some point it may no longer be for restoration of the marriage, but for restoration of a remarkably abundant life that looks much different than what she anticipated. Believe in the power of prayer. Believe that God is making a way for her. And pray so much for her, over her, and with her, that she believes it, too.
Your second response: listen.
Aside from prayer, listening may be the very best thing you can do. Sure, advice may be needed from time to time (if she asks for it), but your main responsibility is to listen and allow her to work through all the junk built up inside. This is her story, not yours. Your view is from the outside looking in, but she knows all about what happened on the inside. And when you do speak, remember that man-hating and bashing her ex is not the goal. The goal is to love and live like Jesus. Point her there.
Your third response: invite.
Your friend is probably feeling lonely. Her friend group may have just been cut in half. She may be feeling shame from her marriage ending. Dealing with lies from the enemy that she is unlovable, unworthy, or incapable of finding true happiness. She may find it easier to withdraw and stay in. There is a chance she won’t come. Invite her anyway. Take a walk, grab coffee, go to church or invite her to a small group. She may turn you down ten times, but she’ll know that you care. Eventually she may even show up and find the community she has been longing for.
Your fourth response: love.
It doesn’t matter if they were married ten months or ten years — your friend is experiencing loss and grieving a relationship that has ended. Grief comes in waves and sometimes hits when least expected. There are going to be good days and bad days and all the days in between. Love her through it. Love her kids, too. Offer to babysit or help with pick up and drop off. Make her family a meal. Mow her lawn. Think outside the box on this one, and put yourself in her shoes for a minute. Then, do something. Take action. Love big. And always, always offer grace.
Your fifth response: fight.
For your own marriage, that is. Seeing a friend go through a divorce reminds you that no one is immune. Most of my friends did not want their marriage to end. Many of them fought hard to keep it all together, yet it still crumbled. If you are currently married, you must be on guard against attacks from the enemy. He wants to see your family destroyed. Put in the effort to stay connected to your spouse. Speak kindly. Forgive easily. Communicate effectively. And remember that God is FOR you and for your marriage.
As a friend, I’ve done none of this perfectly, but I do listen. I pray often. I invite them when I can. I truly hope my friends know they are loved (not just by me, but by God). No one should battle alone. If you have a friend going through a divorce, respond appropriately. Be there for her. And if you are the one struggling, put on the armor of God and do your best to fight back.
Wife Step: Pour into your marriage this week AND pour into a friend who is struggling.
Amanda Flinn is an award-winning author, blogger and booknerd. As a freelance writer, and the director of Kingdom Edge Magazine, Amanda is passionate about using words to positively impact others. A wife of 16 years, she admits that marriage is the most challenging relationship she has ever had, yet the one that keeps her closest to God. Boymom, dogmom, and friend to anyone who needs one–Amanda wants you to remember that no matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone. To learn more about her debut board book, Yoga Baby, and upcoming writing projects, visit www.amandaflinn.com.
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